We agree: Nothing beats being your own boss

It takes talent, drive and nerve to build a business from scratch. Across Africa, the newest entrepreneurs include women who have recognized an untapped market and asked themselves, “Why not me?”

From selling premium sausages to cosmetics, from making beef jerky to linens, these business owners are winning customers and providing good jobs for growing numbers of employees.

Recently, the State Department brought new women entrepreneurs from 32 countries to the United States to sharpen their business acumen and learn how to turn small enterprises into big ones. All of them run businesses. They told us what motivated them to get started. If you have a good idea, maybe they will inspire you.

Binta Jarju, The Gambia
Designs casual and bridal wear, baby clothes; trains seamstresses

Mah Keita, Mali
Makes beef jerky and mango vinegar sold in supermarkets

Jessica Fina Kebi, Republic of Congo
Supplies sausages to top hotels and restaurants

Providence Moyo, Zimbabwe
Sells facial products made from baobab tree fruit

Lénina Adjoavi Codjo, Togo
Designs and sells jewelry and accessories handcrafted by artisans

Fatimata Sawadogo Zorom,
Burkina Faso
Makes colorful aprons and linens