It can be difficult moving to a new country as an expatriate and not speaking the local language. But in Ivory coast, English speaking residents now have a great new resource to help out, thanks to entrepreneur Evelyne Ndabaneze-Masumbuko, founder of Abidjan4you.
What does your company do?
Abidjan4you is the unique city guide for expats in English in Ivory Coast.
What inspired you to start your company?
I have lived in many countries, especially in Europe and sometimes I did not speak the local language and I had to use expats websites in English to understand the city. As I knew from first hand experience how it was to be in a country when you don't speak the local language, I decided to create Abidjan4you first in English for all the people who don't speak French and who live in Ivory Coast.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
Abidjan4you is the only website in English in Ivory Coast that gives information on many different areas of life there. You can find details of Schools, Hotels, Restaurants, Doctors, etc...it's actually the city of Abidjan at your fingertips.
Tell us a little about your team
I started Abidjan4you working at home by myself initially, but quickly got help from other English speaking expat women. Slowly it became a formalized company, and now I have 2 full-time and 2 part-time employees. I also have an expat friend working as the head of operations and I am the CEO of the company.
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
Both my parents were successful entrepreneurs but I started working for different companies when we lived in Europe. When my husband got a new job in Africa, I realized that there were still quite a lot of new things to be done in Africa so I started thinking about what I could do. Later on when we were told that the company my husband worked for was moving to Abidjan, most of his colleagues and spouses were worried because they did not speak French. I started looking for information on the internet and found out that there was not much available for expats. I then decided to dig further and see if there was an internet portal that gathered information on Abidjan, and the answer was that there wasn't one, not in English or French. This was my inspiration for launching Abidjan4you.
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
I am planing to translate Abidjan4you into French and also to grow the brand in different African countries.
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
My biggest satisfaction of being an entrepreneur is to have started an idea from scratch. Abidjan4you really feels like "my baby". I am also very happy to be able to plan my days as I want, meaning I can still take care of my husband and three kids and even take days off when our kids are on vacation. My schedule is always taking in consideration my kids’ schedule.
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
The most important advice I can give to other women who want to start is that hard work and perseverance is crucial to succeed.
Source: How we made it Africa