Two friends, Geraldine Dohogne and Estelle Van Eeckhout are taking the opportunity of riding the Budapest-Bamako Rally 2022 to raise awareness and funds for Sierra Leonean entrepreneurs.
Geraldine, 39, is from Ghent, Belgium and lives in London, United Kingdom, and likes traveling, discovering new places, art and culture, meeting new people.
Estelle, 36, is from Paris, France but lives in Freetown, Sierra Leone. She likes deserted places, bush, sea, mountain, cheese and wine, colorful birds, passion fruit tart, theatre, sailing and many more things. Her motto: Si on se preoccupait de l’achevement des choses, on n’entreprendrait jamais rien….. (If we cared about how things would be achieved, we would never start anything).
Why are they doing it?
Estelle: Geraldine is my childhood friend. When I heard about the Budapest Bamako and thought ‘Mm mm who could I do it with?’ Geraldine was the first and only who came to my mind. Why? – Because we love adventure, discovery, people. Because once in a while I feel I need to kick my butts out of the comfortable life I cherish, and do something different. It’s quite amazing that the finish line happens to be in Sierra Leone, where I’ve been living for more than 6 years! In 2020, at the height of the pandemic, Budapest Bamako finish line made it to Freetown, Sierra Leone, bringing in Sun, laughter and great stories of humanity. I met the people; felt the spirit….and loved it! It is not necessarily about winning, it’s about the journey and the human adventure! It is also a way for me to have Sierra Leone under the spotlight in different and more positive way than how people see it from the outside.
Discovery– A word that can qualify my state of mind since I was able to travel. Great countries, beautiful landscape but overall, the sense of adventure that’s what attracted me. Challenge- But let’s not forget the sense of adventure, of meeting people and going through various challenges! Friendship– 15 days with your friend in challenging times, let’s make this happen- Not everybody has the chance to have the opportunity to share that and let’s see how we manage it 😉 Culture– Landscapes, population contact how can this not be part of once in a life-time experience! Africa- An ‘unknown’ region for challenging journey!
Why Turtle Team?
Because turtles are brave and persistent…. Because Turtle Islands are an amazing place! That stayed in Geraldine’s mind since she came to Sierra Leone. Because it’s funny to call yourself Turtle when you enter a rally! It releasing all pressure because going relaxed is the best way to achieve.
Entrepreneurship is in our blood. Sierra Leone is in our heart. Sierra Leone faces challenges to develop and create sustainable growth. We are convinced development can only happen thanks to a strong local and private sector, in particular the development of start-ups! It therefore came naturally that we wanted to support entrepreneurship in Sierra Leone.
How do we do that?
We created a partnership with innovation SL and the Global Entrepreneurship Network.SL (GEN). For every penny that we collect to finance our race, we give a penny to Innovation SL and GEN SL to support startups in Sierra Leone.
About Innovation SL and GEN Innovation SL Ltd (InnoSL) is an entrepreneurship support organization (ESO) and an Innovation & Technology Management company established in January 2017. We own the Freetown Pitch Night, Innovation Axis Ltd and are the Global Entrepreneurship Network affiliate in Sierra Leone. InnoSL is set up for the purpose of impacting Sierra Leone’s entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem by identifying and implementing effective programs, innovative, projects and policies and foster and support Sierra Leone’s entrepreneurs and Innovation ecosystem. We believe Entrepreneurship is a key source of economic diversification, job creation and business development; hence, it is pivotal to attract the young and educated to become entrepreneurs. High growth entrepreneurs will attract investment, leading to creation of employment, generation economic growth and facilitating social inclusion. Our major focus is building a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem that will support disruptive, high-growth and value creating start up entrepreneurs & SMEs in Sierra Leone.
With this focus, InnoSL does the following: • We FINF and COACH entrepreneurs developing disruptive business models: and solving important /meaningful problems while creating impact in society. • We develop digital solutions: contributing to a digital infrastructure to enable the development and growth od digital entrepreneurs. • We own and run a co-working space, and a combined Incubator and Accelerator (Innovation Axis) • We own and manage Freetown Pitch Night; and run the Global Entrepreneurship Week SL, Future Agro Challenge and Dare2Aspire-Women in Entrepreneurship • We partner with other ecosystem actors in entrepreneurship development programs.
The Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) is an internationally known entrepreneurship support coalition. GEN Global seek to enhance its ability to foster and support entrepreneurs in Sierra Leone. Dedicated to advancing human welfare by propelling entrepreneurs. GEN Global identifying marks are recognized and respected across the globe. GEN Sierra Leone’s mission is to galvanize, organize, support and energize a vibrant ecosystem that will support the growth of entrepreneurship in Sierra Leone. GEN aims to give every potential entrepreneur in Sierra Leone the opportunity to start a business and to help established entrepreneurs realize their dreams. (htpp://www.genglobal.org)
How to help?
If you are an individual: • Donate or lend equipment; Mitsubishi Pajero 2006 spare parts (in good conditions). Equipment (roof rack, jerry cans, Garmin GPS or similar, cooking gas, solar fridge….) • Donate money: check out our fundraising page https://gofund.me/le5f3d6f.
If You are a company or institution • Be our sponsor; contact us : firstname.lastname@example.org/ email@example.com • Donate funds for innovation SL project