Winnifred Selby: You Won’t Believe How Young This Entrepreneur is

June 6 - Sarah Ashlock


No one’s going to believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself. Let me say that one more time. No one’s going to believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself. Have you ever hired someone to babysit or do some work around your place? If that person hesitates, questions herself and seems to need your direction, you start to doubt her, too. Does this person know what she’s doing? Today, exude confidence. Believe in yourself, at least outwardly, and see just how far it gets you.


Small businesses are popping up faster than you can pop some champagne. It may seem like companies emerge out of thin air but they do only after hours, days, years of planning. From mission statements to logo designs, there are plenty of details that keep an entrepreneur busy. One important action item? Money, honey. The average small biz needs about $10,000 in startup capital. That’s a big investment to make in your dream and livelihood.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Winnifred Selby, Co-founder of Afrocentric Bamboo Initiative

When Winnifred Selby co-founded her first company, Ghana Bamboo Bikes, she was just 15. The idea was to train youth in rural Ghana to create bikes made out of bamboo. She was met with plenty of doubt, doubt that she didn’t take to heart. You see, if you believe in yourself, you can get places, and that’s exactly what Winnifred did.

Two years later, she founded another company called the Afrocentric Bamboo Initiative, which manufactures and markets bicycles that are durable enough for the rural roads of Ghana. Not only that, but they’re created from an unlikely material: bamboo. The material’s sturdiness makes for a reliable mode of transportation in the African country, and Winnifred’s leadership makes for a welcoming, flourishing workplace.

While the bamboo supplies are aplenty in Ghana, Winnifred and her co-founder came up against some serious obstacles trying to fund their business. Apparently, financial institutions often support startups in other countries, but that isn’t seen as a smart move in Ghana. That means entrepreneurs must fund their own enterprises.

Procuring the capital to move forward might seem daunting; so is the high terrain that Winnifred would bike on. So, she did it on her own - well, with the help of her co-founder and community. It’s a good thing, too, because Afrocentric Bamboo has trained more than 40 people with little to no education, and has provided employment and confidence to women in the area.

Winnifred says that building a company from nothing takes time and risking the feeling of being financially secure. By funding Afrocentric Bamboo without outside help, Winnifred has taken on immense stresses, but, she’s also very proud of what she’s created. She believes in her product, and you can tell.

Of course, every entrepreneur sets goals and Winnifred is no different. She says success, for her, is reaching those goals or milestones, and then feeling inspired to set another one, while moving her and her team forward. The perks of being a biz owner are plenty, but one thing Winnifred shared stuck with me. She says you can align your company with your own values – which, for Winnifred, means work-life balance and “personal enrichment.”

Winnifred drives home the idea that our work should fulfill both us and the people around us.


Yulia Tymoshenko said,

"Whenever you see a successful woman, look out for three men who are going out of their way to try to block her."

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