A NEW breed of female entrepreneur is emerging in Africa. In an interview with She Leads Africa magazine Ruka Sanusi, Founder and CEO of Alldens Lane, explains who these new entrants are and why she thinks they need support.
“They are women who work or have worked within corporate organisations and now they want to start or have started their own business. They want to run it with professionalism, best practices standards that they are used to in their corporate and multinational jobs.”
Ms. Sanusi says these women may have a compelling vision and a compelling business idea but might not have all the expertise needed for running a business therefore they need support to connect the dots.
“If they marry that previous experience with the right support, who knows, we will be having the next Ecobanks, the next multinational in Africa.
“We need to fill the leadership pipeline for the next Africa corporations,” she said.
Running a business is like a marathon, and not a sprint
Ms. Sanusi, through Alldens Lane provides women in business with business direction, balanced support and thought provoking performance and growth analytics, from which they can grow and transform their businesses.
“Running a business” the business adviser says “is like a marathon, and not a sprint. You are delivering a service to a people. You are depending on people to patronise your business, and that takes hard work. If you don’t have that competitive passion, your business is going nowhere. Recognise that it is a marathon not a sprint.”
Being an entrepreneur is a journey. It’s not about how to make my first million, she added and urged entrepreneurs to think deeply about why they are in business.
“It is important for people to think deeply about who you are in business for, what category of people and why. If you are able to categorize them you better understand how to service them better.”
Ms. Sanusi, a skillful professional with 20 years of international consulting experience, stresses the importance of having a vision. “If you don’t have a vision, you can’t have a strategy and if you have strategy without a vision, you are also lost.”
Why her focus is on women CEOs?
Men and women operate differently, Ruka believes. “Men and women think differently, and as business people they do business differently.”
This is because men have had different priorities and women have had different priorities. “As women we bring in that nurturing part of our lives and we want to nurture our business.”
Most women, she adds, are in business because of their heart, because they like something. For women in that category to be successful in business, they need help to also think about why they are in business.”
On what inspires her in coaching women, the Vital Voices Lead Fellow, had this to say: “Their success is my success. I see coaching as hand holding as well. It is ensuring that we are true to our vision day in day out.
“What urges me on day in day out is that I see people everyday and they have great business ideas. Helping them to have their dreams actualised is a great joy.”
Ruka believes the future of the business sector will be more gender-balanced than it is today, but it requires the right support for women in business. – Ruka Sanusi Leads Africa
By Efam Awo Dovi | Sheleadsafrica