Ladies and gentlemen, you are in for a treat. Today we’ve interviewed the woman behind Egypt’s very own EntreprenELLE, a social enterprise that aims to help women by educating, training and linking them to all the resources they need to do great things with their lives and careers. No wonder it won the Women Entrepreneurship 2017 Award by Injaz and Mastercard. Here we have the founder of such enterprise, Rania Ayman answers a few questions and tells us how it all started.

What Is EntreprenELLE and How Did You Create It?

EntreprenELLE is a social enterprise created for women who want to start their own business and do something different with their lives. It all started when I young, I used to work with all things Entrepreneur related without even knowing. When I graduated, I worked first in a company and then when I came to start my own company I found that I was mainly surrounded by men. This was when I discovered that most women didn’t work because they didn’t know how to start even though they really wanted to.
That was when I started my blog “EntreprenELLE”. I wrote articles about entrepreneurship that target women and I would simplify the content so everyone could benefit from it, not just those who were business savvy. Till today I focus on writing content in Arabic so all women can benefit. Then fast forward to the creation of the first “SHE CAN” event.

What Is SHECAN About?

This is an event with the sole purpose of getting women together, those who have achieved great things with their careers and those who want to but still don’t know how. This event includes programs, sessions, speakers, and workshops all aiming to help women. Actually, this is more than just an event, it’s a concept that keeps on evolving into the community it is today. This event isn’t just held in Cairo, it was also held in Upper Egypt, in Delta, Suez, and Alexandria.
Every SHECAN has a theme that revolves around a certain idea or direction that talks about values we want women to attain coming out of our event. Because we believe it’s a ripple effect, in the sense that one woman who attended this year and feels empowered by it will be able to inspire and empower another woman in her life. So, it sort of is like a snowball that keeps growing.

What Does Entrepreunelle Do for Women?

We came up with this process that helps women thrive in their work life and achieve all their career business dreams.

Awareness

It starts with awareness, we explain to women what it means being an entrepreneur by showing them success stories, exposing them to workshops and training programs that help inspire them. We even give them the chance to display their products (if they have a small business) at this event.

Education

Then we start the Education phase that includes programs that work on certain verticals for women who have businesses in different fields, including fashion, handicraft items, technology, recycling or even upcycling. We don’t teach them the skill needed to thrive in any endeavor they choose, we teach them how to turn their skills into a business. We help women create a good start for their business with a powerful business model. We teach them how to invest in their business, how to brand it right, how to market it and how to basically grow their ideas and skills into a full-blown business.

Resources Accessibility

This is the step taken after the women have acquired the know-how of creating a business, started their own prototype and have created a full-on product. We connect them to incubators, and accelerators that can propel their ideas and business forward in order for them to get the proper funding, and investments needed and this is where the last phase of the process comes in, economic empowerment.

Economic Empowerment

We don’t believe in “Women Empowerment”, women don’t need to be empowered they have all the power they need already in them. We believe in economic empowerment, where we give these striving ladies the resources and tools they need to make their business ideas come to life.

What Is the Theme of She Can This Year?

Our theme this year is “Successful Failures”. Our speakers this year won’t be speaking about all the amazing achievements they’ve done. They will talk about the failures they went through that helped them reach where they are now. They’ll discuss the challenges they faced and how they overcame these challenges. The whole idea behind this year’s theme is for everyone to feel that they can relate to their idols, to the successful people they see everywhere, that they opo can defeat their challenges.

What Challenges Have You Faced as an Entrepreneur?

Entrepreneurship is a challenge in itself. Being a woman who’s starting a business that’s never been done before in this country was a major challenge. People didn’t know whether what I was doing was going to work, whether it was going to bring money or not, and yet I still did it and you can see where it is now. EntrepreunELLE now targets 5000+ attendees in a single event and we work in 9 different governates. We also represent social enterprise ecosystems in other countries as well. All of this was a particular challenge since there was no manual to follow, and no guideline on how it’s done.
This is why I always feel like giving back to women, to show them how to face the challenges they’re facing like I faced mine. That is the core of EntrepreunELLE, women who inspire and help each other reach success.

What Have You Learned from Starting EntrepreunELLE?

The first thing I learned from EntrepreunELLE is that your business is like a baby, it literally needs all your attention for it to grow. When I first started it as a blog, it was just a hobby I enjoyed. I would write during my free time. However, when I started to think of it as an actual business and decided that it is something I want to grow, I had to give it all my time and energy. Only then it grew to what it is today.
The second valuable lesson I learned is that success can’t and won’t come easily. You won’t wake up one day to find your business a success. It took long sleepless nights, countless work hours and a lot of hard work, dedication, not giving up (even when you really feel like it) and a massive amount of planning. You can’t expect your business to grow if you don’t plan for it to grow.
An animal lover at heart, Hanaa likes to think she’s the daughter of Mother Earth, with her midnight talks with the Moon and her summer home on Pluto. A soul that believes everything has a heart . Yoga, cats, horse back riding, knitting and books for days are what fills up Hanaa’s days. She spreads self-love, sustainability, reviews and how she tries to save the planet on her blog lavender-vibes.com