Businesses that want to grow the leaders of today and tomorrow need support when it comes to maximizing their people potential. In Cote d’Ivoire, one company is providing the solution. KAIZENE, founded by the inspirational entrepreneur, Lynda Aphing Kouassi, is taking her passion for human capital development and turning into an innovative, successful business that makes a difference.
LoA spent time with founder Lynda Aphing Kouassi recently in Abidjan to find out more about this high impact business.
What does your company do?
At Kaizene, we specialize in capacity building training and coaching for businesses. We also help businesses and organizations with their CSR strategy and mission development. In addition, we organize an Infrastructure Annual Summit.
“I wish to create the African women leaders of today and tomorrow."“
“The relationship that we build with our clients allows us to provide long-term training and coaching where we have more room to measure the changes and the improvements.”
What inspired you to start your company?
The desire to respond to a need that was there and also bring some changes to the mindset, the environment and to create a positive impact in women and youths and our communities as a whole. I wish to create the African women leaders of today and tomorrow.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
The ability to co-relate training and coaching and also the fact that each client is unique to us and therefore benefits from a tailor made programme. The relationship that we build with our clients allows us to provide long-term training and coaching where we have more room to measure the changes and the improvements. We also have a mix of theory and role plays always making our sessions different ,interactive and fun. We also ensure that each activities suits the needs of each participant. Having been employed previously as well gives me a competitive advantage in terms of positioning the programs as I can relate to most of them therefore, we can make it more relevant. What also makes us resonate with our clients and their needs is our ability to do the sessions in French and English. Last but not least my passion for the human capital development is tangible and gives credibility to our activities and services. We are LPI qualified, FDFP registered and members of the Institute of Directors.
Tell us a little about your team
I am surrounded by some fantastic people who have been with me for years and understand the business and its culture, but are also as dynamic to strive to develop the business and for us to create the leaders of today and tomorrow. I have a 26 years old Director of Marketing and Operations; a 20 year old as Marketing Assistant; a 38 year old responsible for all training and projects programs; a 28 year old responsible for the conference organizing; a 42-year-old accountant; an assistant of 39 years; a receptionist of 27; 2 trainers aged 40 and 44 years respectively; and 1 HR director.
This age difference and gender mix allows us to be dynamic and to work closely to ensure that we carry our vision forward. They are the backbone of the company and work with complete autonomy and independence ensuring that the work is completed in a timely manner and beyond expectations. I am truly proud of them and rely on them.
“I am surrounded by some fantastic people who have been with me for years and understand the business and its culture, but are also as dynamic to strive to develop the business and for us to create the leaders of today and tomorrow.”
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
It’s a journey filled with challenges and uncertainties but I am ensuring that my fuel is optimism, dedication and hard work with my vision of contributing to the people’s development. But it’s the best adventure, creating jobs, empowering others, training and providing tools and techniques useful for the development is absolutely for me the start of success. I come from a background of financiers where nobody came out of their comfort zones and excelled in their careers and I even became a banker before starting my entrepreneurial journey, but I do not regret choosing this for a moment. Despite the difficulties it’s still the best decision that I took after choosing to having a child.
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
Developing and opening across more countries and keep positively impacting lives and businesses by the creation of an academy of training and coaching. I already see today the interest around training which was non-existent a few years back and I am truly happy already. But we still need to do more, along with making the infrastructure conference a platform of real decisions and pledges that changes positively our countries and the people.
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
Making decisions that have the ability to change people’s lives positively.
Inspiring our youth and other women to do more and also that it is possible.
Challenging myself, assuming my mistakes and also seeing the progress.
Contributing to a mindset change and to job creation.
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
Work hard and with dedication, believe in yourself, stay true to yourself, be happy for other successful women, support them and be humble, don't try to impress anyone or the society, have a clear vision and don't let the society or the situations cloud this vision. Despite the hurdles stay strong you will make it because you do not have any other choice.
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Why LoA loves it….
Having the vision and experience to see and maximize the potential in people and organizations takes specialist skill, experience and knowledge, and that is what makes Kaizene special. Lynda Aphing Kouassi has a real passion for guiding her clients through the human capital development journey, ensuring they reap the rewards at the end. She is a true visionary and is making a real difference to the future leadership potential of the companies and individuals she works with. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and editor-in-chief of Lionesses of Africa