Meet Kanto, currently immersed in the pursuit of a Master's degree in International Sustainability Management at ESCP Business School. Hailing from Madagascar, her roots deeply intertwine with socio-environmental issues, shaping a unique perspective. With a blend of modern lifestyle and strong Malagasy cultural heritage, Kanto embarked on the journey of ecosystem management and community development through her management studies. She contributes as a co-author to this blog. So, let's get to know to her.
I'm convinced of the power of cultural identity in all its forms and, coming from Africa, I have a particular sensitivity to the region.
Hello Kanto!! Many thanks for participating in the interview and for contributing to this blog. So, how comes that you are so curious about female entrepreneurship in Africa?
Kanto: "Social entrepreneurship has always captivated me. I like the idea of building concrete solutions with the aim of making a real impact and exploiting individual talents to adapt to complex contexts that sometimes receive little attention, particularly in developing countries. I'm convinced of the power of cultural identity in all its forms and, coming from Africa, I have a particular sensitivity to the region.
Although it is increasingly valued in terms of biodiversity, certain aspects and mostly social potential remain insufficiently highlighted in managerial projects.
I had the chance to cross paths with inspiring women in various sectors who demonstrated a lot of resilience. I had never really considered how difficult it would be to start a venture because these women, including my mother, were part of my environment, making it seem almost natural. They ingrained standards without me realizing it.
Therefore, understanding the challenges they faced with ingenuity, discovering other motivating profiles, and exploring different nuances in entrepreneurship outside my island is an exciting new journey."
Very interesting. And from your perspective, what do you think can we all learn from women in Africa?
Kanto: "It's often said that Africa is the mother continent, or even the cradle of humankind, from which the greatest innovations that are now widespread originated.
In my opinion, enhancing its diverse cultural and human wealth while bringing a breath of fresh air is a good strategy for any local start-up that wants to have an impact.
African women have a fine reputation for being extremely resourceful, while remaining true to their values and customs. It's this mix that I believe needs to be promoted if an entrepreneurial project is to take root and become sustainable on the continent.
For those unfamiliar with it, it is interesting to see how frugal innovations from traditions can be the solutions to today's socio-environmental problems."
Let's have a look towards the future. What do you think, what might we expect to see from Kanto in 5 years?
Kanto: "I can't say where and what I'll be doing, but I hope to engage in conservation projects. Social entrepreneurship is a path I consider, yet I'm open to joining an impact-driven startup. I imagine that within 5 years, successful solutions will have already been implemented and quite disseminated. Thus, my focus would lie more in innovative approaches from frugality that involve stakeholders whose essential roles might not be immediately apparent, and who offer new dimensions thanks to cultural knowledge."
I have confidence in Africa and am committed to contributing at some point to its enhancement, leveraging the best it has to offer whether I am present there or elsewhere.
Photos are taken from Unsplash.