Asonele Kotu is the Founder of FemConnect, a femtech startup that focuses on period poverty, SRHR and feminine hygiene. They cater to disadvantaged girls who struggle with period poverty in South Africa.
What were your initial years of growing up like? Tell us about your life before starting your corporate journey/venture/initiative.
I have always been passionate about women empowerment and giving back to my community. My entire life has been dedicated to giving to society at large. I love serving people and being a leader that gives back to society.
Tell us something about your organization. What is it about and how is it helpful for people?
FemConnect strives to help young women who struggle with period poverty and a lack of access to SRHR services and education.
Was there any turning point in your life that changed your journey? If so, what was it? Please tell us the backstory behind it.
Yes, when I was retrenched from my job I tried to figure out what it was that I wanted to do with the next steps of my life. At the time FemConnect had just been a thought and after that sad experience, it was then when I decided that okay I am doing this and there’s no turning back. My husband supported me in developing and defining the concept and from there FemConnect has been evolving continuously.
While the global pandemic of COVID-19 is associated primarily with adversities, it has also brought about a true boom in startups, with successful entrepreneurship in many countries. The pandemic has impacted all of us in one way or another. Would you like to share your experience on a personal and professional level?
FemConnect was only registered in 2020 and I would say we are part of the Covid19 boomers. The last two years have been filled with many changes that we had to adapt to but they have also brought about innovative ideas on how we can do business in future. My experience has been that the last two years have been such a roller coaster of constant change which I had to adapt to professionally and pivot in terms of strategies and planning.
What has been the response of the consumers towards your venture?
There has been good feedback and traction in terms of support to girls in need of sanitary products. We have been able to educate people that we can indeed have easier access to quality healthcare with the right tech tools in place. The journey is still in its infancy stages but the feedback and reception has been comforting.
How has your life changed because of your venture?
I have been able to grow as an entrepreneur and balance work/life as an individual and I have been able to manage a business and figure out how to grow as an entrepreneur. In my entrepreneurial journey I have learned to grow in business, personally and professionally.
Would you like to share with our young budding women entrepreneurs the change you would like to see in the world if given an opportunity?
If given the opportunity I would like to see period poverty becoming a non-issue and something that we do not have to fight for. I would like to see girls who come from disadvantaged communities get access to free sanitary pads, I would like to see equality for all and for our generation to be the one that bridges the gap between poor and rich.
Give a motivational message for the audience/women who are reading this.
Work hard and never give up. Sometimes it’s hard and tough but we need to be able to balance being women, mothers and business people. We go through so much and at times we struggle to run businesses. In life we strive to do what we feel is best for our communities, and we should never stop doing the work that we do for our communities.