Motherland Moguls we’re boss ladies, Everywhere we go we slay,
Bringing that African Girl Magic, To create Empires today
*Drops mic and floats into slayage existence*
Those were the bars, yes bars, I performed with my team during our rap ice breaker challenge at She Hive London two Saturdays ago. According to me, I slayed and you can’t tell me nothing! In fact, you’ll now find me spitting serious flow at a rap battle coming to a city near you lol.
Our game faces when figuring out our rap
But wishful thinking aside, my She Hive London experience was absolutely amazing. If you have no idea what She Hive is I’m judging you hardcore but I’ll help you out. It is a professional development and networking bootcamp for young African women organized by She Leads Africa in partnership with Facebook. The amazing social enterprise aims to train and foster a community of more African women entrepreneurs. She Hive has been held in major cities like Accra (GH stand up!), New York, Nairobi and now it finally made its way to London. I’ve watched with lots of excitement and envy from the sidelines so I was super excited that I got to finally experience it.
One of the key reasons I always wanted to go to She Hive was for the opportunity to network and build relationships with other young, African women and I was not disappointed at all. For instance, I sat next to and became friends with a brilliant engineer who works in the aerospace industry (no biggie!). Similarly, I also met and became friends with another super inspiring motherland mogul that currently has a fully fledged side hustle she built whilst working a 9-5 job! I’ve also since met up with another of these ladies to get some invaluable, professional insight. Being surrounded by such driven, amazing young African women that are pursuing their own definitions of success was so empowering. It was such a good reminder that the world is truly mine for the taking!
Another key reason for wanting to attend was for the invaluable professional and entrepreneurial development tips that She Hive offers. Saturday’s session did just that and what really resonated with me was the theme of effectively building networks; your network is after all your net worth. Afua Osei, SLA co-founder and former McKinsey consultant, started the day with a talk on Developing Winning Partnerships which set those wheels into motion. That key message was echoed in the 3 subsequent talks delivered on topics ranging from how to land enterprising professional opportunities when moving back home to key steps in the entrepreneurial journey. So what were the biggest tips I took away?
Our delicious lunch spread
1. Identify what you want and set a clear goal: This is extremely basic but I’ve been guilty at times of just going through the networking motions without a clear aim in mind. Those situations of course didn’t yield much results. Charles Sekwalor, founder of Move Me Back which connects professionals and students moving back to Africa with non-cliche opportunities, described this point eloquently stating that you need to solve for you first.
Charles Sekwalor, founder of Move Me Back and fellow Ghanaian and beyhive member
Afua took it a step further and emphasised that you need to also set a simple, measurable goal. So before you ask to be introduced to that person on LinkedIn for instance, stop and ask yourself why you want to pursue that relationship and clearly outline what you plan to accomplish with that connection.
The lovely Ellen who is in charge of the She Hive events and SLA co-founder, Afua Osei
2. Do your research and make it easy for them to say yes: Afua explained that successful partnerships always have common interests that are leveraged to create value for both parties and doing your due diligence allows you to identify these areas. This will enable you to clearly communicate the relevant skills, strengths or experience you bring to the table when approaching a potential career connection for instance or create a pitch which clearly demonstrates the value your business idea provides.
Nieros Oyegun, I could have listened to her talk for forever
Nieros Oyegun, founder of Mos Port Partners an Africa focused private and institutional investment consultancy, illustrated this latter point saying that effective due diligence is key to identifying and creating the winning combo of the right investors, right business and right timing that scores capital investments.
3. Adopt a versatile communication approach: In this day and age, it’s easy to just rely on email to get the job done but that can drop the ball sometimes and you shouldn’t rely on just one communication route. For instance, speaker Yvonne Haizel, who is with the Africa Strategy and Investment team at Mitsui & Co. Ltd, explained that cold-emailing investors hardly yields any positive results. Instead, she recommended that we seek out different opportunities to get in contact with that person or company we’re after.
Yvonne Haizel of the Mitsui Group Ltd. and fellow Ghana girl!
For example, make it a point to attend events the people you’re interested in building relationships with will be in attendance (nudge nudge She Hive) and make that physical contact. After putting a face to a name, the chances of them responding to your email and helping out is now much higher. Of course, getting your friends and family to introduce you when possible also never hurts.
4.Be genuine: Yes I know that I’ve just highlighted very strategic tips you should practise in building your network but I think that being genuine and earnest through it all makes a difference. Think about it, how likely are you to help someone who approached you only because they wanted something from you? If you are a recovering petty boots like me chances are that you helped out very reluctantly if at all. You want these partnerships to be lifetime relationships so approach them with that perspective.
This face was meant to be a smile lol
Overall, She Hive London was a refreshing, much needed experience and I hope it comes back to London or any other city I’m in soon. If you want spice up your life with some SLA magic until there’s a She Hive in your city, follow them on their instagram or newsletter , you’ll thank me later!