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Meet The First Female Military Pilot In Botswana Advancing Girls In STEM And Entrepreneurship

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Kgomotso Phatsima(Captain) is among the first female military pilots in the Botswana Defense Force and the President and Founder of Dare to Dream, a social enterprise dedicated to the advancement of youth, women, and girls in STEM with a focus on aviation, aerospace, and entrepreneurship development. Also, she is a Co-Founder of Women in Aviation, Botswana Chapter.  In this exclusive interview, Alaba Ayinuola spoke with Captain Kgomotso to learn more about her social enterprise Dare To Dream and why she’s helping to inspire today’s youth women and girls to discover their passion for STEM, AVIATION and ENTREPRENEURSHIP. Excerpts.

Alaba: Tell us about Dare To Dream and the role you play?

Kgomotso: I am the President and Founder of Dare To Dream, a social enterprise dedicated to the advancement of youth women and girls in STEM, Aviation and Aerospace as well as entrepreneurship development skills.

Alaba: What spark your interest in the military, aviation and STEM? 

Kgomotso: I grew up in a small village near Sir Seretse Khama International Airport, I used to see planes passing over my mother’s house, for an early young age I knew l was born to fly, this made me develop interest in STEM from an early young age and ultimately served as a foundation for my career

Alaba: How does it feel as one of the first female military pilots in the
Bostwana Defense Force?

Kgomotso: It has been a beautiful experience, challenging but remarkably exciting, I used my pioneering place to advocate and inspire more learners to venture into careers in the Aviation industry not only in Botswana but across the African Continent

Alaba: Why do you think girls or women are underrepresented in aviation and STEM?

Kgomotso: STEM subjects are believed to be hard and intimidating for women hence the need to have positive role  models and Mentorship to encourage female participation in this fields, secondly our culture for example, when l told my mother that I wanted to fly she said ” During our time it was unheard of for a girl child from very humble beginning to fly planes” this stereotypes and limiting beliefs affect female and discourage them.

Alaba: How can we get more girls interested in STEM?

Kgomotso: By encouraging girls at grassroots level , partnering them with mentors, exposing them to different fields of STEM, hosting STEM Career days, Competitions and hackathons to celebrate science

Alaba: What are the obstacles faced and how are you overcoming them?

Kgomotso: Back then when we started flying most of the guys did not want to fly with us, but as the stereotypes started disenterafrating and female pilot’s celebrated across the world, they started accepting and even encouraging and mentoring us to be better aviators

Alaba: How does your organisation measure its impact?

Kgomotso: We have monitoring and evaluation techniques such as questionnaires before and after our programs, we also keep a database of all our students and reach out to them track their progress and share with them opportunities

Alaba: Do you have a female role model who inspires you?

Kgomotso: My Mother- even though we had a 45 year old age difference we still remained the best of friends. May her soul rest in peace 

Alaba: What is your advice for for someone who wants to be in your role or a STEM career field?

Kgomotso: Be Fearless in the pursuit of what’s sets your soul on fire, you are going to fail many times, a lot doors will be closed on your face, never give up raise your sights and see possibilities,dust yourself and go back into the fighting arena and pursue that which resonates in your heart.

Alaba: How do you relax and what books do you read?

Kgomotso: I love traveling, Meeting new people and learning new cultures, I just returned back from Dubai. I am currently reading and finishing my first book titled -:- BORN TO FLY – The Story of a Female Military Pilot rising in Africa!

Alaba: Teach us one word in your local language. What is your favourite – local dish and holiday spot within Africa?

Kgomotso: Dumelang means hello. My favourite local dish – serobe morogo and bogobe Holiday Spot – Cape Town in Africa.

Also Read: EduStore Africa: We specialize in supplying technology-enhanced education in Africa- Sally Kim

B I O G R A P H Y

Kgomotso Phatsima is the President and Founder of Dare to Dream, a social enterprise dedicated to the advancement of youth, women, and girls in STEM with a focus on aviation, aerospace, and entrepreneurship development. She is a Co-Founder of Women in Aviation, Botswana Chapter. She holds a Master of Science in Strategic Management (University of Derby) and a Bachelor of Education Science (University of Botswana). She is also a qualified trainer by the Botswana Qualification Authority.

Captain Kgomotso Phatsima is among the first female military pilots in the Botswana Defense Force. She holds a Commercial Pilot License from the Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana. She is the winner of the 2017 Botswana Youth Awards for the Best Female of the Year Award and a recipient of the 80th British High Commission Commonwealth Point of Light Award. Kgomotso is also a 2018 Fellow of the Obama Foundation Africa Leaders Program and an Alumna of the International Visitor Leadership Program, USA Leadership Tour.

Phatsima is a professional coach and sought-after  motivational speaker. Together with her company, she  conducts team building trainings and several other coaching and training services.

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Hustle and Business: Empowering a new generation of Africans through storytelling

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Hustle and Business Host, Darlyn Okojie and Guest, Kelly Praise (Photo: Hustle and Business)

One missing link to sustainable growth in businesses in Africa prior to this time is the absence of the unique stories of African innovators and entrepreneurs disrupting the ecosystem. There are entrepreneurs breaking new ground in various sectors, but their successes are not replicated by others due to a lack of platforms to share their stories.

There is a scarcity of well-curated stories and accurate data about Africans succeeding in business and careers. As a result, those hoping to follow in their footsteps have no choice but to start from scratch, making the same mistakes as their predecessors or contemporaries. This circle of no reference to leverage continues to hamper Africa’s growth rate.

We haven’t done a good job of capturing the “how” in our African success stories. Knowing where the rubber meets the road is the missing link in explaining why we have not maximized our success in terms of replicating and building on the successes of our fellow Africans. There are not enough relatable stories out there for other Africans to learn from and lean on as they travel their own path.

The need to fill this crucial gap inspired the launch of the Hustle & Business Podcast this month; Africa’s premium podcast where innovators, disruptors, and entrepreneurs on the continent can share their stories for other Africans to learn from and leverage for their own growth. Most stories of business successes in Africa are not contained in many textbooks. So, the curation of these stories is critical as we seek to multiply success on the continent.

The podcast became the medium to reach our audience, whose fast-paced lifestyle may not always afford them enough spare time for new knowledge consumption, but can always listen while engaging in other routine activities, such as cleaning, driving, walking, working out, cooking, etc. It’s 100% convenient and easy to comprehend.

In the Hustle & Business podcast, we will be sharing inspiring stories of young and not-so-young Africans building businesses, excelling in their careers, and creating legacies for others to pattern after. We will be spotlighting opportunities for business in Africa and strategies to succeed in the world’s next-largest talent market.

We are also passionate about using this podcast to build and foster a community of listeners that includes proficient and business-inclined individuals, startups, women, tech founders, SMEs, aspiring founders, established businesses, and the like. 

Through this podcast, we will be amplifying the voices of African entrepreneurs and innovators. Creating effective brand awareness for their enterprise. Hence, we are reaching out to everyone in the ecosystem. Are you an innovator, business leader, startup founder, career person, SME, entertainer, artist, tech bro, VC, or disruptor and you have got stories to share? Our door is open and we are excited to have you on the Hustle & Business podcast to inspire others. Regardless of where you are in your journey, your story is never insignificant; rather, it will have a greater positive impact on others than you can ever imagine. So let’s grow together on this journey.

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“I’m writing my story so that others might see fragments of themselves.” –Lena Waithe.

Being a guest on this podcast also gives you a unique connection with your existing clients, new audience, and potential customers. It helps you to establish an authoritative presence in your field, and easily introduce new and existing products, special events you’re planning, or anything else you need to share.

To our listeners, expect premium content, masterclass interviews, practical lessons, and relatable stories, verifiable personalities, while you prepare to learn, laugh, have fun, relax, and get better at your craft as we listen to others share their stories. 

Tune in every Wednesday at 4 pm (WAT) to listen to new episodes, and follow us with the hashtag #hustleandbusiness on social media. The Hustle & Business podcast is the long-awaited podcast for those making a difference on the continent. Join us on this exciting adventure!

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Darlyn Okojie on entrepreneurship and building Memo Africa

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Darlyn Okojie is a serial entrepreneur and business expansion expert. As the Co-Founder & COO of Memo Africa, Darlyn is responsible for the day to day operation process while building a team to create a Tech solution to People Management. She founded Memo Africa with Ademola Koledoye to create memorable moments across the world. Darlyn Okojie has a past experience of building a business spanning three countries, raising capital and ensuring that the word about the service reaches the right audience. Her First Business, Rugs and Floors Africa, currently operates in three countries, Nigeria, Ghana and Rwanda. In this exclusive interview with Alaba Ayinuola, Darlyn speaks on her entrepreneurship journey and vision is to make Memo Africa the go-to automated system for People Manager: “Future of Memo Africa”. Excerpts.

 

Alaba: To begin, could you briefly tell us about your background?

Darlyn: I spent the early part of my childhood up till my youth in Benin City. I attended all levels of education down to university where I studied Accounting at the University of Benin. My upbringing has made me extremely loyal to my city. After I completed my higher education in 2014, I got my first ever job at Lamudi (Popularly Known as Jumia House) in 2015. While at Lamudi, I worked as a key account manager in an online marketplace firm. A year later, I moved to Cars45 to spearhead the company’s efforts in building and maintaining relationships with strategic partners. Throughout my career, I have been involved in various aspects of people management, even through running Rugs and Floors from January 2020.  At the moment, I’m focused on building Memo Africa.

Alaba: What inspired you to go into entrepreneurship and the problems you plan to solve?

Darlyn: An impactful model to me is my father. I didn’t realise he had that effect on my entrepreneurship life until I looked back on how much I have been able to achieve career-wise. He showed me the only way to gain success is through hard work and dedication. His tenacity and energy in delivering is extraordinary. There have been countless times where I’ve found myself wondering how he gets the energy to go even through obstacles. A quote from a book by Shakespeare, Macbeth, pops into my head whenever I think about my dad. “I am tied to a stake I cannot fly, but bear-like I must fight the cause.”

The life of an entrepreneur is quite fast-paced, there’s no time for breaks and no option to quit, you just have to keep going. It reminds me of something my mum always says, “Person, nor dey Live life go back”. Good or bad we need to keep moving forward in life or in business. I believe my motivation stems from the ability to keep going and building.

Alaba: Memo Africa is one of the startups you co-founded, what sparked the interest? How does the platform work and who are your target audience?

Darlyn: Memo Africa was birthed by various challenges both my co-founder and I faced throughout our work life. From my first job to my current ventures, I have seen how people managers handle welfare related issues in organizations and it inspired me to create a solution that makes their work seamless. We notice that people struggle to remember important dates when it comes to the lives of their employees and it is key because it makes the employees feel valued and appreciated. But dates like birthdays, onboarding and orientation processes, sendforths, and many others dates are lost in transition.

Memo Africa is a simple solution that people managers can use to automate welfare packages to be delivered to both remote and on-site teams across the world. We believe this technology solution will boost business productivity as the team members feel motivated and cared for while saving people managers time to focus on more critical issues.

Alaba: Since you launched, what are the challenges and successes?

Darlyn: It would be best if we start with the positive aspect of the business, the success. At the moment, we have acquired clients both from Nigeria and Ghana, and signed three companies into our system. We have achieved these while facing various economical challenges like Inflation, exchange rate and cross-border payments issues. 

I also noticed that small business owners and other entrepreneurs face these challenges which is why I recently started recording my journey on my Medium account.

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Alaba: What’s the future of people management? Do you see Memo Africa as part of the future?

Darlyn: The future is Tech! The world is evolving to become digital and automated. It is important to ensure that regardless of where people work from, they are treated with the same respect and dignity as they would be if they were working from a traditional office space. Memo Africa is the technology solution born to connect the people in an organization through our automated management system of celebrating them. Staying connected to and creating memorable moments for your team is the best way to keep them motivated while working.

Alaba: Where do you see Memo Africa in the next 5 years in terms of market and expansion? 

Darlyn: We have a large vision set for Memo Africa and are ready to take the action to grow and scale up the Tech StartUp. Currently, our most viable product which is our website  is up and running. We are planning on developing the Mobile App version to increase the accessibility and personalisation of the system. We expect to become the go-to platform for all people’s welfare across Africa and in the world. Our tentacles are set to expand into many African countries. We are open to acquiring more clients, partners and Investors.

Alaba: What fuels your passion and how do you relax?

Darlyn: Aside from the rush of the non-stop cycle of developing businesses, I find myself passionate about finding and implementing solutions to create value in people’s lives. You can find me locked on Netflix to unwind after a busy day or exploring the different countries in the world.

Darlyn Okojie (Photo: Supplied)

Alaba: Lastly, your advice to young women who want to launch into entrepreneurship?

Darlyn: My number one advice to young women who are launching or building their business is that your key to success lies within you. Everything you need to succeed is in you, your thoughts and action shapes your future. As long as you can think it, you can absolutely do it. You need to study and understand your potential, strength, weaknesses and limits. I believe self awareness is the most powerful tool to achieve anything in the world.

I would also say you shouldn’t believe you can only grow & scale up alone, it’s okay to have mentors and role models. These people have walked the mile. All you need to do is find someone who has successfully crossed the path you are hoping to pass. You would be surprised by the number of people ready to guide you or refer you to the next life challenger.

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Eno Eka: Creating Her Dream Life in Canada

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Eno Eka is a business analyst and consultant based in Calgary, Alberta. An award-winning career coach and keynote speaker who has been recognized for helping more than 100,000 professionals in 90+ countries  kick start their professional careers.  She is a business analysis content developer and course instructor at the University of Manitoba. Eno is the CEO of  Eny Consulting Inc. and the Founder of Business Analysis School.

In 4 years of arriving in Canada, Eno has touched the lives of thousands of immigrants in Canada. She has curated mentorship and coaching programs for immigrants to Canada which have sought her recognition and awards globally. Eno is an embodiment of service as she volunteers with several non-profit organizations to help immigrants to Canada integrate successfully and become gainfully employed.

Eno volunteers as a mentor with Calgary Region Immigrant Employment Council (CRIEC) and sits on the Board of the IIBA Calgary Chapter as Director of Education. She also volunteers at the Calgary Drop-in Centre and Calgary Dream Centre.  She is a Giving Back Sponsor for the Women in Need Society (WINS). Eno Eka is the host of the Livestream Podcast, Fireside Chat With Eno where she shares valuable insights on job search tips and strategies for new immigrants.

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Eno Eka

Her awards and achievements include:

  • Forbes 30 under 30 nominees 2020, Education Category.
  • Alberta Top 30 under 30 recipients 2021.
  • Calgary Top 40 under 40 nominees 2019 and 2020.
  • Universal Women’s Network, Winner 2019 Award for Mentorship.
  • RBC Women of Influence 2020 Award Recipient.
  • Top 100 Black Women to Watch in Canada 2020 Award Recipient.
  • Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 award Nominee 2020 and 2022.
  • RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards Nominee 2020.
  • Alberta Women Entrepreneurs Nominee 2021.
  • Immigrants of Distinction Awards Nominee Finalist 2021.
  • 2020 Tällberg/Eliasson Global Leadership Prize Nominee.
  • Top 8 Female Business Analysis Influencers To Watch in 2021-Globally Recognized & Featured by the IIBA.
  • Women of Impact Awards Nominee 2022.
  • Women Empowerment Awards Nominee 2022.
  • Campaign Ambassador for the United Nations and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
  • Host of the Global Business Analyst Online Meetup.
  • IIBA Global Corporate Member.
  • IIBA Endorsed Education Provider for all IIBA certifications.
  • Authorized Training Partner for Agile & Scrum through ScrumStudy

 

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