One of the most diverse continents in the world is Africa. It is home to nearly 2000 languages with French being the official language of many countries and the de facto language in few. Although the popularity of the language is large, it gets difficult to connect with people due to a lack of understanding of the culture. To flourish as a business with the Sub Saharan French Speaking community, Africa requires a deep knowledge of the local markets.
And, even with a lot of opportunities, these markets remain hard to reach from outside requiring powerful facts, analytics, and insight. This can only be provided by someone who knows it best.
As a French African connected to the business world—Mirabell Mayack understood the gap providing opportunities and needs of the market. Mirabell Mayack, Senior Director, Governmental Affairs and Strategic Sales established African Investment Intelligence with the grail to provide the investors with expert opinion giving them an edge to invest and immerse with confidence in Sub Saharan French Speaking Africa.
In an interview with Mirabell, we had an opportunity to know more about her, her journey, and her company.
Below are the highlights of the interview.
Please shed some light on your leadership journey in the consulting and investment space.
We are not consultants; our customers are. However, doing business between two different worlds often means being a cultural translator and cultural consultant talking to either side. My leadership journey started with the aim to change a few points of view in the “doing business with Africa” landscape that I thought was wrong. It was a deep wish to change the perception that Europe had of Africa. It was also a wish of mine to change the institutional setting of consultants in Germany, allowing people from the diaspora to sit at that very same table that is usually occupied by ex-pats.
What was the inspiration that prompted you to venture into the consulting and investment niche?
I was born into “doing business with Africa.” My parents run an import-export company. I followed their footsteps and ventured out into investigations supplying our customers with valuable insights into French-speaking Africa.
Being the Managing Director at African Investment Intelligence, how do you envision growing your network operation and providing your clients with powerful analytics,
facts, investigated insights, and expertise.
I am a woman, and networking comes naturally to me…as I like to think. Not only is one of the pillars of the company the networking opportunities that we take very seriously, but there is a strong emphasis on the conversation rate from such contacts. Becoming more digital and breaking down the process to access our intelligence is another way forward that I am working on. We also organized impactful think tanks that allow us to constantly grow the network and create long-lasting bonds to our network.
Initiating your career as an Investment Consultant, what were the challenges you
faced, and enlist us the professional hacks that helped you become the grand success that you are today?
What I find difficult to this day in Europe is the fact that being a real expert is hard to push on the agenda. Doing business with Africa has often got to do with being open-minded. The UK market holds very good and authentic experts that can give realistic feedback. Looking at Germany the consulting business evolves around state state-funded advisories dominating the market with their expat-ise. The challenges were two different kettle of fish for me. My hacks are simple. Be who you are. You might not win everyone over, but some customers will like what you bring to the table. Focus on these and make them your network and base. These are your best asset and brand ambassadors. Just be persistent and consecutive. I don’t know if I am a grand success, but I am a tough cookie, and I do not give up.
Can you please share with us your initial professional experiences and what were the learning that made you ramp up your growth curve?
I was born into a family setting within a company. My parents often discussed business matters around common family areas and activities. Business in the family meant helping out, traveling with my parents, and playing in the backyards of companies where my parents had meetings. These were my initial professional experiences that have been my life learning. My father’s courage to open a company in a small German town, my mother’s open-mindedness to just follow her husband to Cameroon, and my family’s faith in life are my ongoing growth curve’s spine. The challenges along the way are my growth curve.
As a successful leader in the consulting and investment space, what is your opinion on the future of investigative research and investment for businesses, which is currently grabbing the global spotlight?
The future of investment for the investment business of all sorts (consultancy, advisory, financial deals advisory, private equity, etc.) will grow, and hopefully doing international business will become normal. Therefore, we need more transparency. In the future, someone in a remote German town will invest in a business in Timbuktu or in Douala because there will hopefully be enough transparency and intelligence available to make informed decisions. Africa is 54 countries with millions of ethnic groups, customs, and cultures. When it comes to research and investigative research, Africa is the future.
Please give your valuable input about the investment and consulting industry for budding entrepreneurs.
Consultancy is a great business sector, especially in Africa. It is one with much growth opportunities. For a budding entrepreneur, it is a great business sector. It will be great to see more African entrepreneurs in the investment sector such as African financial boutique advisory and African private equity companies.