Shea is bae, collective is the future…

Make a plan, but be flexible

Continuing my series on talented creatives I met during the LeNoir Creative Week with a girl who has stolen a spot in my heart, Hadija Inoussa of MINO collective. I’m extremly impressed by both her and her products!

Why did you as a young souls chose social entrepreneurship over common entrepreneurship and how are those two different according to you?

I never really dreamt about becoming an entrepreneur it was more about finding a job or career that I felt good with – a job where I could grow my skills and develop as a person. However, when I started working in what I thought was my dream job it became pretty clear to me that it wasn’t what I wanted. I liked some aspects of the work, but I was not passionate about it and I was not really interested in the industry. I was putting a lot of effort and hard work into a multinational corporation and I didn’t feel like I was making a difference… I was just another cog in the wheel.

So I decided that I wanted to do something else, something meaningful and the idea to source shea butter came to me.

I wanted to create a company that did good in the world and using the social entrepreneurship model seemed like the right one.

The way that I look at the difference between a social enterprise and the more common enterprise model is that in the social enterprise all the decisions, goals and planning keeps in mind the social mission, it is something that permeates the whole organisation. It is important to be profitable but it is equally important to share and give back part of the gains.

What or who would you say inspires you the most on days when you feel like giving up?

The women I work with are my well of inspiration. They are a bunch of lovely people that always stay positive no matter what their circumstances. One quote from one of the women that captures their spirit is that when asked about her financial situation she said ‘we are not poor, we just have a lot of expenses’. That kind of mindset is one that makes you go through the hardest of times with a smile on your face. I try to implement some of that attitude into my business, if you have an obstacle, you have to transcend it and be able to look at the bigger picture.

I want to grow a profitable business for the obvious reasons, just like anyone else I want to be successful, I want to become financially independent but most importantly I want the women I work with to live a good life with all the things we take for granted like healthcare, education and nutritious food! So when I feel stressed, overwhelmed or like giving up I think of them and it gives me life!

You just won a huge (& important!) competition. Please tell us about it and congratulations!

Thank you! I still haven’t gotten over the fact that I won! I won a scholarship to study organic skincare program at formula botanica, one place at the beauty voice course and to be featured in the Peridot Mag. Growing my skills and knowledge within skincare formulation is a dream of mine and it’s part of my long-term goals. Winning this just gives me such a push because I can start doing that today.

It also feels great to get your business validated and be told by a panel of judges that they see potential in your business idea. I am grateful for this opportunity and for all the people that made it possible for me to be able to make the pitch!

mino2Describe for us your brand in one word.


What’s the three most important things you would like to advise a young entrepreneur trying to make it?

1. Make a plan, but be flexible. When you are starting out you have ideas of how things are going to turn out. Be open to change strategies and try new things. Look at your business like a hypothesis, you are testing different theories out and seeing what works – marketing, social media, productivity models etc.

2. You will be demotivated, discouraged but don’t give up. It happens to everyone, you just have to stick it out.

3. Surround your self with people that inspire you and that you can exchange ideas with. Being an entrepreneur can be very lonely connect with other people that are doing the same thing as you can be very valuable.

What’s the one item you can’t live without?

My headphones! I love listening to music and podcasts. I won’t leave the house without them!

By Aysha Jones

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