By Moiyattu Banya, Women Change Africa
Sierra Leone is a country with much potential for businesses in West Africa and it shows with the emerging and thriving successful businesses that exist in the country. At the forefront of those starting up and owning businesses in Sierra Leone are women. Sierra Leonean women are at the forefront of driving and dictating the Sierra Leonean economy as it relates to entrepreneurship.
Some of these women have found ways to support themselves and to expand their businesses by joining networks such as The Power Women 232 network a network of Sierra Leonean female professionals. Others have been featured in ground breaking one of a kind business incubator events for women such as Women Mean Business Honors. And some have been featured on trail blazing Pr and marketing platforms such as Women Change Africa Afroelle magazine online and MUI PR.
Something that always astonishes me about these various business women is how they are able to keep blazing trails, expanding and growing their businesses, whilst keeping their pulse closely on their market and target population which has, in turn, propelled them to establish multiple successful businesses in some cases. This article will shed a light on 6 female business owners in Sierra Leone you should be doing business with in 2016 and beyond.
Fatima Sesay, Founder and Managing Director of Unimax SL Ltd.
Fatima Sesay is the Founder and Managing Director of Unimax SL Ltd.Ltd and Get Well Pharmacy, she is also the only female executive member on the executive board of the Association of Clearing and Forwarding Agencies Sierra Leone.
Unimax is a logistics company specialized in local courier, delivery, dispatch, clearing and Forwarding services. The company was created after Fatima won a business competition organized by the British Conservative Social Action Project (UMUBANO). Fatima is passionate about empowerment, career development, logistics and supply chain management and has followed through on her ambition to become a job creator instead of a job seeker. In 2012Unimax started with 3 members of staff and has expanded to 42 employees to date. Juggling her business and post- graduate studies, Fatima is dedicated to building her career and expanding her entrepreneur and leadership skills to leave footprints in Sierra Leone. She recently ventured into the pharmaceutical industry by opening a pharmacy in Freetown and with aims to open other branches throughout the country.
Fatima’s future aspirations include establishing the best-known pharmacy chain in Sierra Leone and expanding her logistics business into the West African sub-region.
Ajara Bomah, Curator of Rhoyalty Concepts and Women Mean Business
Ajara Bomah, CEO Rhoyalty Concepts
When speaking of corporate event management and brand development the first name that comes to mind in Sierra Leone in most prestigious circles is Ajara Bomah Ajara Bomah. Ajara is Chief Executive Officer of Rhoyalty Concepts, a full-service events management, corporate consulting & marketing firm that aims to create lasting impressions & meaningful experiences for their clients. In 2013, Ajara realized with more and more African women were taking the business route as alternate career options; however the potential of women entrepreneurs remained largely untapped in developing and emerging markets, where many of them lack the skills, capital, and access to markets they need to be successful business owners. It was then that Women Mean Business Honors was co-created. Women Mean Business is a unique and intimate annual educational and inspirational platform for young and emerging African female entrepreneurs in all business fields. The event serves as a platform to motivate women who seek to be informed, inspired and spurred to make their dreams come true. It also provides women a chance to meet and learn from other business women.
Ajara holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Social Work from Smith College School of Social Work and a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology & African Studies from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. She is a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc., Power Women 232 and Interim Country Coordinator for Girls Empowerment Summit Sierra Leone. Ajara Bomah also has extensive work experience in both private and public sectors in Sierra Leone and internationally and has worked with major brands including the world bank amongst many others.
Miatta D. Efe-Oghene, Managing Director Imatrix101
Miatta D. Efe-Oghene, is the Managing Director, I Matrix 101 Limited an indigenous Logistics company that provides comprehensive freight management and logistics services for clients globally and within Sierra Leone. An accomplished administrator Miatta returned to Sierra Leone in 2010 after several years in Nigeria working for blue chip businesses including British Airways, Honeywell and MoneyGram International.
Upon her return to Sierra she joined Elixir Group a business group active in diverse service sectors including logistics and marketing as the General Manager. At Elixir Miatta designed, executed and project managed the set-up of the Group and thereafter oversaw the management of the Group and its unit companies. In 2011, she was given the responsibility of directly managing the then struggling logistics sub unit of the Group, Imatrix101, which is now a highly profitable indigenous Logistics company with key clients in the Mining Industry and NGO community.
As one of her many initiatives of giving back to her country, Miatta assisted in managing Internal and External communications projects within the Office of the President. Miatta has grown Imatrix101 profitably, established a shipping arm of the company, built strategic partnerships with both local and international organisations, which have resulted in extensive growth and increased the share value of the Group as a whole. She also currently manages the marketing arm of the Group, Elixir Marketing,and Media.
Ariana Oluwale; Narnia Daycare
Ariana is a driven individual prepared to succeed and this is exactly what translates into her operating one of Sierra Leone’s first-day care facilities for children that prides itself in high quality early childcare education.
Narnia Daycare early learning center caters for children between the ages of 0-3 years. Narnia prepares young minds at one of the most critical learning periods in their life; equipping them with the knowledge, skills, values and confidence necessary to successfully adapt to an increasingly complex world.
She believes that every child is born with genius potential that is waiting to be discovered.
Ariana is a self-starter who believes in getting work done. She loves to write and chronicle stories and poetry that inspire. Her background in the sciences created a strong desire for research, forming ideas and creating systems that work and synergize well.
Her zest for adventure has led her to professional positions in managing business support systems with an extensive practical knowledge of communications and marketing in the Sierra Leonean context. Ariana has worked with numerous multi-nationals in problem-solving and creating solutions around project management, systems, implementation of work protocols and creating formidable workforces that are making history. In addition, Ariana has been a trainer, facilitator, and coach.
Margaret Kadi; Pangea
Margaret Kadi is the Co-owner of Pangea. Margaret was born and lived in Sierra Leone and received her further education in the United Kingdom. With her educational background in business, Margaret has worked for organizations such as MTV Networks, and the Discovery Channel. Whilst working in media, Margaret visited Sierra Leone and later on worked for Sky Sports (British Sky Broadcasting) and this was when her love affair for Sierra Leonean-made products started. She decided to start her own business called Project Sierra Leone, making quality handmade home décor and fashion accessories. After having the store for two years her husband and she decided to collaborate and open a new Lifestyle Store called Pangea.
Pangea is a Made in Sierra Leone lifestyle brand that celebrates the creative side of Sierra Leone. Pangea specialises in Custom Furniture, Home Decor and Fashion Accessories. Their Custom Furniture product range includes Doors, Beds, Wardrobes, Office Furniture and much more. With regards to the Home Decor and Fashion Accessories, the company caters to the well-travelled discerning customer who appreciates the value of handmade. Some of these handmade products include woven blankets, woven table runners, clothing for women, men and children. If you are looking for some of the most quality eco-friendly and beautifully made goods and products Pangea is your place to visit and Margaret is one of the people to do business with.
Moiyattu is a social entrepreneur, feminist and lover of all things African Female and Business. She is the Bosschique and curator of Women Change Africa a Lifestyle marketing and PR Brand that Celebrates, Cultivates and Connects African Female Entrepreneurs and trailblazers via telling their stories through marketing branding and PR.
She loves all things Sierra Leone, enjoys developing girls into leaders, spending time with loved ones, travel and reading. She has written for various platforms including For Harriet online, Brittle Paper, African Feminist Forum and has been published in the International Feminist Journal of Politics.
SOURCE : NIGERIAN GUARDIAN NEWSPAPER