ELLEN JOHNSON SIRLEAF

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Amujae Leader Isata Kabia shares her recipe for success as a social entrepreneur

“For me, success is not about what is in my bank account. Success is about the impact I am able to make on the lives I’m invested in.”

With these words, Amujae Leader Isata Kabia defined her understanding of what success looks like as a social entrepreneur, during a webinar organized by the E4Impact Foundation.

Ms. Kabia joined Erasung Ahmed and Tichaona Foromozo—two entrepreneurs who found success in ventures that offered solutions for infant malnutrition and access to legal aid. In sharing her experience as a social entrepreneur, she described the impact her enterprise had on her local community in Sierra Leone.

As the CEO of AFRiLOSOPHY, Ms. Kabia created a sustainable business model whereby women from the local community can learn and develop valuable skills in the manufacturing of hair and body care products. The women can then transfer those skills to start their own small businesses, or secure long-term employment at her factory: 

“The combination of the two solutions for me within my community is: providing natural products or low-toxicity products…but also providing jobs or a job-creation vehicle. And those two things, those two passions, are really what kept me going.”

Ms. Kabia noted, however, that sustainability is the key ingredient to the success of her social venture. To have an impact on the community, her business model had to adapt and ride out unforeseen challenges, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Focusing on sustainability, she said, enabled her social enterprise to continue to build training facilities and provide job opportunities.

Asked about her perspective as an African woman social entrepreneur on the qualities needed to address future challenges, Ms. Kabia said entrepreneurs must mix “local insight with international outlook.”

“What you learn locally you can then distribute to the world. And I think with the economies the way they are, and the global village that’s growing, if you’re selling to the world—like the world has sold to us all these years—I think this is where entrepreneurship, especially within Africa, needs to go.”

Ms. Kabia is also the former Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, and former Minister of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in Sierra Leone.

Watch the full webinar here: https://bit.ly/3GkeUcy

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