Yasmin Belo-Osagie: Continent-sized Dreams

July 13 - On The Dot
It’s a great day to be a woman! Melinda Garvey here as your voice, with the mission to give women everywhere a place to be heard and tell their stories. We’d love to hear from you!

FIRST THOUGHT: Expanding Your World

We often get stuck in our routines. We wear the same outfit once a week, while other clothes remain untouched. We park in the same spot at work and we eat at the same restaurant because it’s too much work to figure out something new.

Don’t get me wrong; routines are good. They can reduce stress and make things easier. But doesn’t it feel good when you expand your world a little? Today, we’re breaking out of the States and traveling across the ocean to see how other women are killing it in their careers.

WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 40.7 Percent

Africa is setting a great example for female entrepreneurship. The continent is the leader when it comes to the number of women-owned businesses in the world. In Ghana, Zambia and Nigeria, women start more businesses than men.

Some 40.7 percent of female adults in Zambia and Nigeria are entrepreneurs, owners or managers of a business. Just to give you a comparison, the percentage in the United States is only 10.4.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Yasmin Belo-Osagie, Co-founder of She Leads Africa

Yasmin Belo-Osagie has lived a fascinating life all over the world. She was born in Boston and grew up in Nigeria. Belo-Osagie attended boarding school in England before graduating from Princeton University. Oh yeah, and she attended Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and London, and worked as a pastry chef in Hong Kong.

See, I told you she was fascinating! But wait, there’s more. Belo-Osagie worked as a management consultant and focused on growth strategies, but she noticed a trend in entrepreneurship for women in Africa: micro. Everything was about small business, but she knew some very smart women who were interested in creating medium- and large-sized businesses.

So, in 2013, Belo-Osagie co-founded a really cool enterprise: She Leads Africa, a social organization that assists young women in Africa with their professional aspirations. The group offers tools, courses and advice, as well as well-researched articles on subjects like Copyright: Preserving Your Creative Work in the Social Era.

She Leads Africa has recruited nearly 1,000 women-led startups into its network. The platform has had 30,000 women connect with its website. In 2014, Belo-Osagie and her co-founder, Afua Osei, launched their Entrepreneur Showcase flagship program, which brought in almost 400 applications from 27 countries for just 10 finalist positions.

She Leads Africa also hosts She Hive, a four-day boot camp that helps young women develop their business skills and get their careers up and running. In 2016, She Hive will visit seven different cities throughout the world, including New York City.

Belo-Osagie hopes to turn Africa into a digital destination full of career-driven “Motherland Moguls,” the moniker for She Leads Africa members. She gives three key pieces of advice for starting a career. One: Make sure your to-do lists have deadlines or you’ll never get those things done, ladies! Two: Don’t be afraid to delegate. Three: Have someone who keeps you accountable.

Belo-Osagie’s dreams are continent-sized, but with thousands of women in her corner, I have no doubt she’s going to help women entrepreneurs conquer the world!


It’s like what the president of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, said:

“The size of your dreams must always exceed your current capacity to achieve them. If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.”

That’s all for now. Be sure to share this so more women can have a voice! Thanks for getting ready with us.

To learn more about our conversation, check us out at OnTheDotWoman.com and talk to us @OnTheDotWoman on Twitter and Instagram. We’d love to hear your voice.

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