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YASMIN BELO-OSAGIE: On Developing Young, Female Entrepreneurs

By – Ayodele Adio

Yasmin Belo-Osagie, is a young, highly cerebral and passionate young lady who envisions a future where more women will build global business that will dramatically transform the world. Yasmin is not just another arm chair visionary, she has put together the perfect vehicle that would drive her vision to reality, SHE LEADS AFRICA. She speaks  on her big dreams, the impact of her initiative and how she is changing the world.

Who is Yasmin Osagie? Tell me a little about your background
My name’s Yasmin Belo-Osagie. I’m half Nigerian half Ghanaian. I studied history for undergrad at Princeton and then worked at McKinsey & Co for 2 years as a consultant. I started SLA with a colleague of mine from Mckinsey in 2014/15. Initially SLA was a side hustle but at the beginning of this year, we decided to focus fully on building SLA into a sustainable organization.

What is She leads Africa about?
She Leads Africa is a digital media and events company that helps millennial African women reach their professional goals – whether its in  the corporate world or in entrepreneurship.

We create inspirational and educational content and programs to help young women like us live their best professional lives

What inspired you to start this initiative?
My partner and I started the organization because we saw that most organisations focused on empowering women in Africa tended to focus on micro/ small scale initiatives or on slightly older women. We created SLA to showcase the innovation, creativity and power of young African women- women who can build multi million dollar companies and become leaders in the corporate/ public space

How many women have benefited from this project so far?
Currently we have a community of ~100,000 women who use us as a resource to learn new business skills, stay inspired and network with their peers
How do you evaluate your impact and do you think you are making a difference?
We track different metrics depending on the program in question. At a high level we track the size of our community, how many people attend our training programs, feedback on in person trainings. For certain programs we’ll even track revenue and growth metrics for the entrepreneurs when they start our program and when they end it to show that we’re actually creating value.

I do think we are making a difference. Ladies who’ve attended our programs have literally described them as lie changing experiences so we must be doing something right! That said – given the scope of our vision, we have a long long way to go.

What are the major challenges you face with this initiative?
Finding the right team – people who share your work ethic and your vision.

Do you focus on Nigerian women or women across Africa?
All across Africa and in the diaspora

What is your selection criteria for women who want to be part of this?
There is no criteria to join our general community! Any one (woman or man!) who’s interested should head over to SheLeadsAfrica.org/join to understand what we do and sign up. This is a great way to get personalized business advice delivered straight to your inbox as well as priority access to our digital and in person programs.
We do have a selection process for our accelerator program but that’s already over for this year.

Looking ahead, what plans do you have for the future?
Our goal is to become the #1 resource for young African women as they build their  businesses and their careers. We’ll continue to develop and innovate around the best way to do this whether this is through our digital platforms or our in person events.

In the near term, going to be hosting our world-famous SheHive bootcamp in Lagos (Oct 6-9). It’s a 4 day learning and networking event for young women. We’ve got an amazing lineup of speakers and can’t wait! We’ve hosted previous SheHives in Abuja, Accra, Nairobi, London and NYC and we’re so so excited to come to Lagos next and then Joburg just after.

Anyone interested in coming should check our SheLeadsAfrica.org

Anything you would like to say or put out there?
Join us! As a young woman, its so important to take your professional development seriously. You have to work at being a better professional or a better entrepreneur. I’m so excited by all the free resources that SLA offers and I really hope young women across Nigeria use them.

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