Tell us a bit about you (your personal experience).
Born in Togo, with a Business Administration background. I worked for a decade in The Mobile phone Company Telecel-Moov basically in Marketing and communications. I have been initiated to entrepreneurship at an early age. My Dad was a staff of the Government, however He had a Fruit Juice business aside, and we were involved to sales during vacations.
The Entrepreneurial virus got me as a Teenager. I started my own business from middle school, between Ghana, Benin and Togo. I moved to the US in 2009 as a “Humphrey Fellow”, through the Mid carrier professional grant Program from US Department. I immigrated to Canada in 2011, and Working in a Financial Institutions. I am a License Insurance Advisor.
What is your biggest accomplishment?
I will say, my first achievement is having my son. He means the world to me.
The 2nd one was having the honor to be selected to represent my Country Togo, for the Humphrey Fellowship Program in US. Find more info here.
What motivated you to start Zanzinto?
In 2007 I was the Sponsoring Responsible in the 2nd Mobile phone company in Togo. Our company was approached by the Director of Women Entrepreneurs Network (RESOP an initiative of the Government), for a sponsorship of a Fair Trade featuring their products. It was a huge success. That opportunity gave me an insight of the women struggles with their business in term of Marketing. I decided from then to be a volunteer advising them in how to promote their products. Then later, came the idea to regroup them in an Organization that will educate, promote, and develop them. The project of Economic Development for Women Entrepreneurs got me the Grant as a Humphrey Fellowship in USA. And here we are today, trying to promote their products in North America, and looking forward for the better life for our Zanzinto Women.
We encourage the Diaspora to sustain our Women through the consumption of their natural products.
What is your vision for Zanzinto in the next 5 years?
The present goal is to continue promoting the different natural products, and little by little implement the organic farming as a standard. Next step is to, promote and build a strong local and internationally organic market.
In order to achieve the goal, in-depth training for small holders in organic production is crucial, as well as providing the leaders with more knowledge and experience in Organic process;
To reach the goal we will need financial and technical support, since the small farmers do not generate enough income to sustain the projects. We strongly believe that with the participation of other stakeholders, we will successfully achieve the objective which is to help the small farmers improve their income, and provide a better life condition to their families and communities.
Tell us about your first experience at a Manyatta Event?
I was astonished to discover the number of African Professionals in Toronto. I was in Toronto for 2 years and had no idea…..It was a wonderful discovery to have the occasion not only to mingle with all those valuable professionals, but also it boosted me to understand that it was possible to succeed as an Foreigner in this country!
A bit more info about Zanzinto?
Zanzinto, means "Virtuous Woman" in Ewe, the national language of Togo. It is a socio-Economic Organization of Women Entrepreneurs, especially Farmers. Zanzinto was created in 2009.
Its goal is to enhance economic development among women, through Capacity building, promotion of their products, and access to Fair Market. It operates with a Board based in Togo-Africa, and a Promotion Unit, based in North America. Our dream is to Make of Farming Women, the new generation of Nana Benz (name given to Wealthy Women in the Fabric Business in Togo)
Furthermore, Zanzinto has the ambition to lead its members to a sustainable agriculture, respectful of the environment. Zanzinto was featured in the IFOAM newsletter for its effort in the implementation process of the Organic production initiative called PGS (Participatory Guarantee Systems).
What is your networking philosophy?
Meeting the most people as possible, share experiences and contacts, encourage and pull each other to the summit of the Mountain. We have talented business and Professionals at Manyatta. We have the obligation to promote each other, by using our mutual skills and services. We have to look first for expertise among us, before searching outside. That’s the only way we can succeed as a Diaspora, as Proud Manyattas. I will say my philosophy is: “Let’s meet at the summit of the Mountain” no one needs to remain at the bottom! In other words “let’s develop together”