BEHIND THE SCENES WITH AJARA MARIE: CEO WOMEN MEAN BUSINESS
February 7, 2019
Ajara Marie Bomah is a child of God, a go-getter, trend setter, dreamer, mom, sister, partner and friend. She complements this professionally as a marketing and communications executive and a rising business mogul. With over 15 years of experience, Ajara specializes in diaspora engagement, development and investment in Africa with a critical focus on women in business.
She is a humanitarian that works to change the lives of young people, especially girls in Africa. She is intent on teaching them how to be advocates, who channel their voices and gifts to create positive change.
With a Masters in Social Work and a plethora of career experiences in social service delivery, academic and program development. Ajara relocated to Africa in 2008 after working in the United States for several years. She moved to Sierra Leone with a passion to grow and play her part in rebuilding her ancestral home. Ajara believes that business is the key to the transformation and development of Africa. Her passion is to see Africans especially women, unite and use their business skills and technology to create impact and develop the continent.
She has curated and delivered corporate & business events for clients for the past 9 years under her first company Rhoyalty Concepts. In 2013 she launched her community platform, that brings African women together for business networking and collaboration; Women Mean Business, provides them with networking opportunities, educational support and resources for them to start and grow their brands and businesses.
Ajara has appeared in various media outlets including; Guardian Nigeria, Afroelle Magazine, She Leads Africa, Ayiba Magazine, Bella Naija, and Women Change Africa and was a co-star in the film “I Am the Film” a film that looks critically at the identity of returnees and diaspora American’s.
WOMEN MEAN BUSINESS HONORS (WMB HONORS) creates unique and intimate educational, social and inspirational events for emerging and established female entrepreneurs in all business fields. Our events create in depth personal networking experiences and engages our audience in impactful immersive skills building. At a WMB event, our guests have the opportunity to interact with key influencers, trendsetters, corporate decision-makers as well as other women from different levels in the entrepreneurial journey.
The idea came alive in March of 2013 as a way to commemorate International Women’s day. When I started my first business, I found it difficult trying to figure out how to handle my start up . It was hard to find local business women to learn from and receive mentoring on how to do business in Sierra Leone. It was then I realised that there was a gap in the market and as someone who believes that the best way to bring about change is to create it, I paired up with a friend and WMB Honors was created.
The platform was created to celebrate African Women Entrepreneurs as well as connecting emerging entrepreneurs with those they can learn from, create a space for networking and education, around business development for women in Africa.
Over the years we realized that, there are still areas we can tap into and have expanded from our annual Honors event to a business development provider. We focus on providing branding solutions, strategic media and marketing communications to entrepreneurs. We also host workshops and events that cater to business development for females, who want to start or grow their brands and businesses.
One of the main obstacles I have encountered in the journey to keep Women Mean Business Honors alive was consistency and innovation. To host an event for 5 years straight is not easy. There have been years that we’ve gone in the red and not made profit. Years that we had to change our plans at the last minutes not knowing what was going to happen, and years that we wanted to just give up and quit. What kept me going was the realisation that Women Mean Business was bigger than me, I was simply walking in purpose and being used as a vessel to bless others. So giving up wasn’t an option, I had to be faithful and fearless and know that God had bigger plans for it.
I’ve had a couple of different mentors and mentorship experiences and learned quite a lot from them. I give credit to these experiences and individuals for the person I am today. First and foremost, my parents have served as mentors for me throughout my life, in developing my life skills, spiritual walk and in me becoming the woman I am today. I have business mentors who have helped me through my entrepreneurial journey and have helped me grow and become more confident as an entrepreneur. There are friends and colleagues that have served as mentors as well. Those who served as mentors from afar without me knowing them or them knowing me, people such as Shirley Chisom , Maya Angelo, whose courage , fierceness and influence in politics and gender issues I value. Women like Mo Abudu and Oprah who, both have growing media empires and use them to share real stories of culture, people and entertainment. I believe that mentoring is about having someone who is willing to share, guide and advise you on issues based on their personal experiences and areas of expertise. Someone who is willing to take time out and help you achieve your goals. Having a mentor in life is powerful, my mentors have been extremely helpful to me in my journey so far.