Women4Africa Speaks to Mavis Amankwah

1)  Mavis Amankwah    Women4Africa 2012 “Business Woman of the Year” and “Entrepreneur of the Year”, what did it mean to you to win these awards?

Well, firstly it was an honour to be nominated four times, but I was ecstatic to win two categories.  As African women, we work very hard juggling several roles simultaneously without fuss, and it’s almost expected of us.

Many, like myself, are entrepreneurial but are faced with more obstacles and challenges just because we are women and so, for me, the most important thing is to inspire others through my achievements and to help them to do the same in business. 

2)      You started a business club for women called Diva Visions. What was your motivation behind this? 

My motivation came from the women around me, in both my personal and professional circles. Being the superwomen we all are, sometimes things can be overwhelming for even us. We face challenges that intimidate us in business and unless you share these experiences with someone, you lose confidence in yourself and ultimately your dream.

We provide a community hub for women to come together to support each other in business, to explore opportunities, encourage leadership and complement each other’s growth, especially when faced with doubt and uncertainty. Diva Visions is all about sisterhood.

3)      Tell us one thing you love about Africa?

I can tell you a few! For starters, the food, our rich and diverse cultures and the spirit of African children – who are always happy regardless of circumstances or conditions – a vital lesson for us in gratitude and maintain PMA (positive mental attitude).

4)      Who are your female role models? 

Yaa Asantewaa and Michelle Obama

5)      You provide companies and organisations with the tools they need to successfully communicate with niche, diverse and hard-to-reach communities. How important is it for you to ensure that African women especially, are represented and understood?

It’s very important to me. My business not only helps organisations communicate with diverse audiences, but we also assist and support small business, entrepreneurs to communicate with their targeted audience effectively.

Also, this is another reason for founding Diva Visions. We have many African women who are members and reap the benefits of the support

6)      It is now a proud moment for Africans in Britain and all over the world, but this has not always been the case. What in your opinion is behind this change in attitude?

The media has definitely had a huge impact on the change in attitude.  Over the last few years there has been recognition of the influence of African culture on mainstream British culture, from the popularity of Afrobeats to fashion and even dining out. The image of Africa is now being reflected in more positive light – Africa is emerging into its own form and finally people can see that we are not all poor and starving. 

7)      Your childhood was no easy ride. What would you say to encourage young females going through hardship?

We all have our challenges throughout life – in the real world, there’s no such thing as an easy ride. Many successful people have come through the most difficult adversities – they have a story to tell and can look back and be proud that they made it.

To encourage young females I would say to them that the most important thing is knowing what you want and working towards fulfilling those dreams. They will need to be patient, there will be obstacles and they may sometimes fail, but it’s about perseverance.

I didn’t start my own business until I was 30. I think if I was any younger, I would not have had the resilience to sustain my business through difficult times – I gained a lot of experience whilst in a professional career.

8)      PR Guru, Business Woman, award-winning Entrepreneur, Motivational Speaker, Mother, Wife and so much more. Did you ever envisage this level of success when you started in 2002?

No, not at all. Sometimes I feel to pinch myself. I hadn’t dreamed to be all these things in less than two decades, but I’ve always been ambitious and a hard worker. I guess I can testify that hard work really does pay off.

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