August can be considered a transitional month for some before we get into the swing of the "-ember" suffix months.
In August, the first week is dedicated to Breastfeeding Awareness Week.
August 12 it is International Youth Day.
In South Africa, Women's Month is celebrated in August and my personal favorite; World Jollof Day which is tomorrow (August 22).
August is also home to World Entrepreneurs Day - August 21. This day acknowledges entrepreneurship and individuals becoming entrepreneurs across the world. Entrepreneurship is no easy feat, especially in a country like Sierra Leone. Happy Entrepreneurs Day to all the entrepreneurs and innovators out there!
Today I am going to focus on 5 entrepreneurs in Sierra Leone that you should you watch out for:
1. Women Mean Business by Ajara Bomah
Women Mean Business is a boutique strategic communications agency that seeks to empower African female entrepreneurs and individuals develop their brands and businesses so that they can position themselves for opportunities in their local and international markets.
When talking to Ajara about her motivation and inspiration to start Women Mean Business, this is what she had to say:
"I wanted to create a platform to shape and share our narratives, connect audiences for collaboration that serve as a space where entrepreneurs launch their businesses in settings that are inspiring. The way in which technology was evolving and changing the digital space also intrigued me." - Ajara Bomah.
Women Mean Business works with clients in Sierra Leone and the Diaspora to provide communications and business development oriented solutions. They also honor and mentor entrepreneurs as young as teenagers who possess business acumen or want to learn about the different career pathways entrepreneurship and innovation provides.
With nearly 20 years of experience, Ajara specializes in development and investment in Africa with a focus on women in business and diaspora engagement. She holds a Masters in Social Work and relocated to Sierra Leone in 2008. Ajara believes that business is the key to transformative and development change on the continent. Her passion is to see Africans, especially women fostering unity and discovering financial independence through their business skills by using technology to create impact across Africa.
Entrepreneurship is no walk in the park, it does come with its many challenges and to that Ajara says:
"Entrepreneurship is a journey and not a destination. We have to embrace the process, learn from our experiences and focus on the road ahead. It is important to surround ourselves with supportive people who want to see us succeed, mentors, peers and those with access to resources. Stay true to your vision and even when you're in doubt and the road ahead doesn't seem clear keep going, growing and glowing."
2. MiKashBoks by Salton Massally
MiKashBoks or "my piggy bank" in English is a social finance enterprise and platform that builds on the existing and thriving community savings and lending practices. In Sierra Leone this is commonly known as Osusu and this is Osusu gone digital! Lending practices such as these support individuals who do not have bank accounts or access to conventional financial institutions to lend money and economically empower themselves and their communities.
Salton Massally is the Founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of MiKashBoks. He is an accomplished software engineer and fintech expert with a strong track record of leveraging cutting-edge technology to create innovative financial solutions for underserved communities. He founded several flagship initiatives and led their technology vision and implementation, earning recognition as a Queen's Young Leader by the late Queen Elizabeth II in 2018.
Fintechpreneurship is one of the fastest growing forms of entrepreneurship on the continent. It combines technology, innovation and entrepreneurship to solve societal issues to restore financial dignity.
MiKashBoks can be found on the Google Play Store for download.
3. Narnia by Ariana Oluwole
When it comes to education or edupreneurship, there is no one like Ariana Oluwole who sleeps, breathes and embodies educational development in Sierra Leone.
Ariana is a changemaker who believes in the power of holistic education as a tool for nation building and development. She is the pioneer and partner of several groundbreaking educational and community development projects in Sierra Leone. She is most notably known for her educational consultancy and early learning center - Narnia Educational Group, The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Unit - Sierra Leone Psychiatric Teaching Hospital and the Freetown City Council, Early Learning Centers for children of Market Women and Traders.
Narnia comprises of a daycare focused on caregiving and learning opportunities for the early ages between 3 months to 3 years. They use early learning strategies and teaching resources based on a traditional design that was developed by the founders and the principles of the NTC Learning System.
4. The Betts Firm by Alfred Akibo-Betts
This is the not so fun part of entrepreneurship that some dread - TAXES!
Fortunately, there is a man who does this for a living and loves what he does.
Alfred Akibo-Betts is the Founder and CEO of The Betts Firm. The Betts Firm is a tax advisory, accounting and consultancy firm established with the principle of providing high-end advisory services for their clients. They offer tax advisory and accounting and bookkeeping services as well as business and investment advisory and the regulatory framework to ensure you are compliant with the various laws that impact business operations in Sierra Leone.
Alfred has a career as a Revenue and Public Financial Management Expert spanning over 17 years; 14 years of which was in senior management positions within a Revenue Authority. He is a Fellow of both the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Sierra Leone and holds a Master’s degree in Taxation from the University of Pretoria in South Africa.
5. Estu Delight by Haja Mariama Myers
In another life I would love to be an agriculturist - not for the money 😅, I just think there is a lot of fulfillment in cultivating and harvesting food directly from the earth.
Estu Delight is an agribusiness company focused on the production and processing of organic fruits, vegetables and honey. Estu Delight has a juice bar on wheels that can be found sometimes on Sundays at Lumley Beach and during the week at Lightfoot Boston Street in the city center of Freetown.
Haja Mariama Myers is an agribusiness specialist and entrepreneur passionate about private sector development, food systems and supply chain management. Haja develops and facilitates programs with Trade and Agriculture related Ministries and Agencies to improve institutional capacity and create enabling environments for Agribusinesses. She provides business development services to increase the productivity of small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
Agricultural ventures can be capital intensive in the beginning with a lot of risks. I asked Haja what motivated her to start her own agribusiness which can be a deterrent for some aspiring entrepreneurs especially young people. This is what she had to say:
"I was inspired to contribute to solving the post-harvest loss challenge faced by farmers by adding value to our agricultural produce to provide a convenient and healthy food and beverage company with locally sourced organic ingredients that improves the health and wellness of our clients." - Haja Mariama Myers.
Haja assiduously works year round with her small yet vibrant team of young people to achieve their goals and works with the farmers that rely on them to provide the market for their produce which will improve their livelihoods and create impact in targeted rural communities. Haja's mission is socially driven in nature to prevent food wastage and also support the creation of livelihoods and decrease food insecurity in Sierra Leone.
I don't know about you, but I have been left inspired by and in awe of these entrepreneurs amidst the great work they are doing to contribute to nation building in Mama Salone by using out of the box methods that can compete with our counterparts across the region, the continent and by extension the world. There are so many great entrepreneurs doing great work in their corners. Wishing them (and me) a happy World Entrepreneurs Day!
Keep an eye out for tomorrow's Instagram post on World Jollof Day!
And remember, #SaloneJollofLivesMatter!
Have an event or doing something great in Sierra Leone and want a bigger reach? DM or email me at email@example.com