In March, the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship awarded internship grants to Wesleyan students planning to spend their summers pursuing experiences in diverse fields of social change. Each grant recipient was asked to report back on his/her work with blog posts and photos. Here’s one, a report from Olayinka Lawal ’15, a Sociology major pursuing an International Relations Certificate who spent her summer working for The Savvy Madam Network. Read other PCSE grant recipient blog posts here.
This summer, with the generous support of the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship, I embarked on a journey to Ghana to work with the Savvy Madam on their first networking event for female entrepreneurs in Ghana. The Savvy Madam is an online platform dedicated to empower and help business women advance in their chosen career path. The vision is to help create a network of African business women who help one another by sharing their resources and knowledge on their expertise. This vision comes from the response to the growing need for women in leadership position especially in Africa.
I was charged with the management and planning of the networking event held in Osu, Accra on July 12. My responsibilities included but were not limited to finding sponsorship, marketing through social media and print, writing a press release, organizing the agenda for the networking event, and managing the contact list from the event.
The most lasting impression this event left me with was the dire need for more networking events like this. What I have come to learn is that business for most people in Ghana is not a chosen career, it is a means to survive. With the high unemployment rate, business is the only way to make money whether it means selling roasted corns in the market to helping people carry goods from the market; everyone is a business person. The missing link now is how to help motivated individuals improve their business to gain maximum profit. The first step to a solution is networking.
Through networking, business women across all spectrum meet each other and help each other attain their intended success. It is very likely that a businesswoman in the fashion world can learn a few pointers from a businesswoman in the marketing world and vice versa. My role in this was to connect the two type of women and help them navigate how they can themselves through networking, attain a level of success they couldn’t have reach otherwise. This has been the most rewarding experience for me and I am so happy to have been given the opportunity.