Business Name: Ogunte, an online network of female entrepreneurs
Type of Business: Social Enterprise
Business Location: London, United Kingdom
Reason for starting
I was working in community development in various countries and realised that although there were networks for women in business, there was not much around women who wanted to impact on society and the environment. To grow a futurecentric economy that is kind to people and planet, we need to tap in women’s contribution to accelerate change. Women social entrepreneurs have the talent, the wisdom and local knowledge that we cannot afford to waste and push off in the corner. At Ogunte, although women’s issues are very important, we focus more on the impact they have in society and on the environment, and how we can accelerate this impact. So we provides connections, training and executive coaching to women social entrepreneurs, and women who run community projects, charities and campaigns. We run a business incubator, an angels network, and annual awards to promote women’s achievements.
How do you define success?
We believe influential and connected women with bold solutions to social and environmental issues, can create sustainable opportunities to make the world a better place. Our success is dependant on our impact. Investing in women social entrepreneurs is smart economics, we want to amplify this movement. Success would mean that through our work, we see a substantial increase of women on investment panels or angels networks, that investment pipelines include much more women social entrepreneurs and that women social entrepreneurs are on magazines’ front pages as much as traditional business women (or men!). Success would mean that women social entrepreneurs are part of influential advisory panels at government level, and (non)-executive directors boards in medium and large corporations. Finally success would mean that we have managed to help women social entrepreneurs to be sustainable.
I have created a great brand of awards for women social entrepreneurs, that enable them to contribute to a bigger social and environmental impact. The Women’s Social Leadership Awards will now be celebrated for the 7th year and the candidates come from all over the world. They are amazing and we believe so much in the influence they have on people and planet. We need to make more noise about their achievements. My second achievement is to have created a well tailored pre-incubator for women social entrepreneurs, as we have noticed that current available incibators or accelerators didn’t provide enough knowledge and practice to get around impact investment. All our services are customer-centred. We work closely with them to understand what suits them best. We never force-feed them! Finally, my success is to admit I could also have a big vision for myself, and not just support others whilst forgetting my needs.
What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
My top challenge is to create a sustainable venture from a charitable concept. I also have a family to provide for and I can be my biggest enemy by giving a lot of services for free to causes I truly care for. So I have learned to say no, ask for help, surround me by mentors and coaches and more importantly implement their recommendations and stretch myself. Eventually it all pays back. The goal is not to create more poverty in the process of helping others!
Who is your most important role model?
Angela Davis, the political activist, for embracing causes that are really unpopular and really sticking to them. In fact the women we support are all my most important role-models. This is why I am never tired of looking for them, spotting their talent. Thanks to each one of them, there is a piece of the earth and human kind that can grow, proud and continue, unharmed.
Posted: January 10, 2013