Have you ever wondered about the challenges experienced by those who are left-handed? Some of the things e take for granted each day, such as the implements we use, can be a real problem for those who use their left hand as their primary task hand. But Kenyan entrepreneur, Linda Makatiani, founder of Lefty Kenya, is on a mission to change all that.
LoA chatted to Linda recently in Nairobi to find out more.
What does your company do?
Lefty Kenya is a Kenyan organization founded on the realization that there is little available local information and awareness on challenges experienced by the left-handed. Our primary aim is to sensitize our society and cultivate a more empathetic and accepting culture towards the left-handed, for the comfort and safety of all.
"Our primary aim at Lefty Kenya is to sensitize our society and cultivate a more empathetic and accepting culture towards the left-handed, for the comfort and safety of all."
What inspired you to start your company?
I have a left-handed daughter and discovered soon enough that left-handers have to compromise, even for the most simple basic daily tasks. I encouraged my daughter to use left-handed stationery and share tips to help her maneuver her way in this right-handed world. Once she started school and I interacted with parents of other left-handed students, I realized that there is little knowledge on the challenges that left-handed children undergo whilst performing classroom tasks and that at most times they (left-handed students) were left to train themselves to use right-handed biased equipments and often shy away from certain tasks due to these struggles thereby limiting their academic potential. This was and still is my inspiration, working with schools to understand all issues left-handed and help them (schools) implement simple measures to accommodate left-handed students.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
Through our training and awareness forums, society gets to understand and appreciate left-handed struggles. The collective mission of schools is to provide quality education for all their students'. Understanding left-handedness is the first step for our teachers to know how to assist left-handed students in realizing their full potential. Our LeftyKenya Shop stocks quality specially designed left-handed products for left-handers of all ages. Encouraging use of left-handed products allows for safe and efficient task completion.
"I decided to create an organization that will be an information hub and link left-handers and the society in understanding and appreciating the role of handedness in our everyday life."
Tell us a little about your team
The Lefty Kenya team is a vibrant team made up of both right-handed and left-handed individuals with diverse strengths but all working together towards the common goal of being the voice for the left-handed.
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
I worked in the financial industry for 10 years before venturing out to start LeftyKenya. I started off by buying a few left-handed products for my left-handed daughter and selling some to parents. As I interacted more with fellow parents of left-handers, the same concerns kept coming up: how do we help our left-handed children at home and how do we know if the schools are helping our children too? I decided to create an organization that will be an information hub and link left-handers and the society in understanding and appreciating the role of handedness in our everyday life.
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
Currently, we are engaging various stakeholders in rolling out the awareness campaign countrywide. There are still areas that try to change a child's handedness because of cultural or religious practices, not knowing that this erodes self-confidence at an early age and has negative long-term effects on their potential. We are also promoting left-handed products for left handed people by educating all on what makes the products left-handed and the importance of having the option of left-handed products for efficiency and safety.
"Lefty Kenya is a personal journey, its success is my contribution to society in growing confident individuals capable of positively impacting the world with no limits."
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
Lefty Kenya is a personal journey, Its success is my contribution to society in growing confident individuals capable of positively impacting the world with no limits. My satisfaction comes from seeing left-handers of all ages, understanding themselves better, looking at potential obstacles as challenges and confidently exploring solutions and the society at large encouraging and appreciating the left-handed.
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
Do not wait for that day when you will quit your current job and/or officially launch your start-up. Your everyday decisions should be based on the vision you have for your start-up. This creates a strong foundation when the time is right for you to launch your business.
Contact or follow Lefty Kenya
Why LoA loves it….
At LoA we love those women who are on a mission to make a difference to the world and the communities they live in, and these women are usually driven by a passion that allows them to genuinely impact lives. That is certainly the case with Linda Makatiani, founder of Lefty Kenya, who is not only creating awareness about the challenges facing those who are left-handed in society, but also creating solutions for those left-handed individuals. She is an inspiration to others who aspire to making a difference in the world. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and editor-in-chief of Lionesses of Africa