She Inspires Her is an online and mobile media platform that shares stories about women entrepreneurs in emerging African markets.
Lisa O’Donoghue-Lindy was born in Ireland. When she was 12 years-old, she moved to the United States with her family. After college, she went back to Europe working with major corporations in communications roles. Lisa and her husband have lived in South Africa, Greece and Finland. As we spoke, they are in the process of moving to Namibia. Because she has moved so often, she has done work that can be accomplished from anywhere in the world.
In 2014, Lisa and a friend launched a side project called Career 2.0. They wrote stories of women who had experience major mid-life shifts. They featured women, mainly from the US and Europe, who had found a way to live a fulfilling life.
It was through this work that Lisa wrote a story about Hyasintha Ntuyeko
, and entrepreneur from Tanzania. After the story came out, Hyasintha applied for the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) fellowship. She included the story in her application. When Hyasintha was accepted, she wrote an email to Lisa telling her about the difference that the story had made. This had a profound effect on Lisa. “I made a difference in someone’s life,” she realized. It was at this point in 2016, that Lisa pivoted away from Career 2.0 and to open She Inspires Her, focusing on women entrepreneurs in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Women in Sub-Saharan African only own about 10% to 15% of formal businesses. They are stuck mostly in the informal economy. Their businesses are not sustainable. They do not create jobs. These businesses cannot scale and grown.
For many women in Sub-Saharan Africa, there are legal, cultural, financial and structural barriers that keep them from owning formal businesses. In some cases, local culture reinforces the idea that the woman’s place is in the home. Women often lack access to education. Women can lack access owning property, which can also block access to financing.
Highly successful African women entrepreneurs are often featured in Forbes or CNN Africa. And, there are other women who are incredibly savvy at social media who can tell their stories, However, Lisa says “There’s a real dearth of stories of everyday women in markets like Uganda, Rwanda or Tanzania who are not able to get their stories out. And these women are remarkable. My goal is to get these stories out there so that younger women, or even girls, can read them and see themselves in those stories.”
She Inspires Her provides role models, connects women to networks, promotes women-owned businesses and raises awareness to barriers to female entrepreneurs. Their main objective is to share relatable stories that get more women to start and grow businesses in Africa.
Social Entrepreneurship Quotes from Lisa O'Donoghue-Lindy
“You can’t be what you don’t see.”
“Small and Medium Enterprises are crucial drivers of job creation.”
“In countries like Cameroon and Ghana, SMEs are responsible for more than half of employment opportunities.”
“My objective is to get more women out of the informal sector and into formal business.”
“It was in working with her that I realized where I could really make a difference.”
Social Entrepreneurship Resources: