In honour of International Women’s Day on the 8th of March, Destiny is honouring young women entrepreneurs who are breaking barriers in their respective fields.
“It is a real pleasure to be recognising the incredible female talent and entrepreneurship we have in our three locations across South Africa, in celebration of International Women’s Day,” says Karla Bussman, Community Manager at WeWork 80 Strand Street, Cape Town.
Kele Boakgomo is the CEO and Co-FOunder of Yu, a personalised behavioural change platform for women that combines behavioural science, shared growth principles, the power of technology and community to promote and inspire behaviour change. The aim is to make it easy for women to achieve their high impact goals. The platform will allow women to create and seize existing opportunities, Ideally this serves as a tool that will level the playing field for women.
What inspired you to start your company?
Kele: Yu was essentially born out of the unsettling facts on the gender gap, as well as lived experiences as working women. Globally, female CEOs represent only 6.6% of Fortune 500 companies, and gender parity is reported at 57.8% by the WEF in both economic participation and opportunity dimension. This, in time, represents a massive 257 years before we can achieve parity and start to see a groundswell of female entrepreneurs and women in executive roles. Our platform looks to bend history backwards and address this.
For me, my business partner and team, we truly want to democratise success for women. The quest to promote gender equality has come a long way; we have seen concerted efforts from organisations and countries at a macro-level, but with slow progress and limited success. At Yu, we believe the solution needs to focus on the micro-level and that’s why we enable women.
What challenges have you faced as an entrepreneur?
Kele: I would say access to technology talent. Having said this, working in a coworking space has been a great solution to this problem–I have been able to connect with other technology entrepreneurs, who have a common vision to solve human needs, and who complement our business mission.
What is the best thing about being an entrepreneur?
Kele: For me, I would say its the opportunity to leverage technology–the ultimate equaliser–to contribute towards making a significant impact to a very real socio-economic problem. Our platform will contribute towards developing and deploying 50 percent of the world’s available talent, and this is an incredibly exciting prospect.
Who or what has inspired you on your journey so far?
Kele: My inspiration comes from many people from all walks of life; both known and unknown. I guess, what I will say, is that I am truly inspired by human potential.
What advice do you have for other women who are thinking of branching out into entrepreneurship?
Kele: Make sure that you have the right business partner–one who compliments and celebrates your strengths. It is also critical to be surrounded by the right people, not only in your team, but in your working environment which is why I chose to be part of the WeWork community here in Johannesburg. The energy, positivity and support within this community is incredible. I love connecting with and learning from other female entrepreneurs, as well as sharing my working environment with large established enterprise companies; it’s this unique mix that brings the space to life.
If you could talk to your 16 year old self, what would you say?
Kele: Pay close attention to life experiences; embrace those you wish hadn’t happened, and cherish the ones you loved. There are lessons to be learnt in everything, so pay attention.
I would also say you are powerful beyond measure. A quote that my father once told me is “the biggest wall you have to climb is the one you build in your mind” – never let your mind talk you out of your dreams.