Lionesses of Africa had the pleasure of meeting the inspirational Achenyo Idachaba at the Cartier Women's Initiative Awards Nominees Sub-Saharan Press Conference in Johannesburg this month. She took time out of her busy schedule to share some of her insights on the challenges for women entrepreneurs in Africa. Listen to our interview.
Born in the US to Nigerian parents, Achenyo Idachaba spent her formative years between Nigeria and America, where she forged a successful career as a computer scientist and business analyst. Yet she always nursed the idea of going back to Nigeria. ‘I felt it would be good to come back here and do something that would impact lives sustainably.’ In 2009, she finally decided to take what she calls a ‘leap of faith,’ moving to Ibadan to set up an environmental consulting business. Through a process of trial and error, Achenyo decided to alter her original business idea, eventually founding her current company, MitiMeth, in 2011.
If you ever needed a practical example of how Africa's women entrepreneurs are finding highly innovative solutions to some of the world's most challenging environmental problems, whilst at the same time building successful sustainable businesses, then Achenyo Idachaba is it. She identified an ecological problem adversely affecting local communities and then set about building a business to fix it!
Finding an innovative eco-solution to Nigeria's problem of its waterways being invaded by highly destructive water hyacinth plants, also created a unique business opportunity for Nigerian entrepreneur, Achenyo Idachaba. Today, her startup company, MitiMeth, takes these nuisance weeds and transforms them into beautiful hand-crafted and highly desirable products. She has taken an environmental problem and turned it into a win-win solution for her business, local communities and the country. Each hand-crafted piece is created from the weeds which are harvested from the local waterways and dried out in the sun before they can be used for weaving into highly intricate and beautiful finished products such as baskets, tableware and even jewellery.
Visit MitiMeth's website here.