Mickal Mamo: An Entrepreneur for Sustainability
Mickal Mamo born and raised in Addis Ababa was a placid child among many siblings. When questioned about her siblings she asserts, “I was raised in an extended household that had sixteen or seventeen individuals living in it; all I can say is that I grew up in a loving setting.” She also credits her upbringing for her current outgoing manner. Both parents were business owners. In her opinion, her mother a café owner is described as a creative figure that focused on finding solutions to problems. Mickal added her parents are contemporary and supportive in all her undertakings which have become an anchor for her impactful venture.
Mickal is a graduate of Addis Ababa University in business administration, a joint degree with the Australian University (Curtin business administration program). She went on to intern at CDI-VOCA, a USAID division for a while. However, she always had a passion for the textile industry. After completing her internship, she joined the textile retail market and used imported goods but was not satisfied with importing goods. So, she started her own baby clothing line named, Baby Crawls. Mickal used her line to advocate made Ethiopia. Mickal is a firm that advocates locally made goods, a motto now famous Made in Ethiopia.
Through her entrepreneurial venture, Mickal realized that menstrual poverty was a real issue faced by women in Ethiopia. Starting from lack of awareness to lack of resources, women are challenged on a monthly basis both economically and psychologically. She noticed that girls around her neighborhood were not going to school because of a lack of sanitary pads. After conducting thorough research on public schools and her neighborhood, she introduced a line of washable sanitary products, Adey in 2020. The goal was to alleviate in her words menstrual poverty.
When asked about her life’s principle, Mickal said, let everything you do be about giving back to your community. As an entrepreneur, she consistently tries to put this concept into practice in both her professional and personal life. She also thinks it’s important to open doors for the next generation through connecting and understanding their needs and sharing the benefits gained as business/community leaders. “This philosophy of giving back is embedded in Adey Pads. Adey Pad gives back by economically empowering disadvantaged younger women from low-income backgrounds by affording them useful skills so they become gainfully employed. Adey Pad employs from within the community and most or all of them are women.
For Mickal, success is a journey not a destination. Adey Pads entered the market in 2020 and faced a challenge because of the COVID pandemic. In spite of the situation, Adey Pads has become successful. Mickal considers this resiliency as a success. She empowers her staff to be creative by creating a space to try, fail and try again. She understands creativity needs an unencumbered and impune environment. The privilege of giving such autonomy has resulted in a successful transformation of their professional capacity. “I consider myself successful because I am fortunate enough to witness my staff work hard and climb the ranks to a greater position; this demonstrates empowerment and contributes to the community as a whole”. She proudly asserts that her success was made possible with the aid of God, a loving family, and a supportive group of friends.
Mickal’s sanitary pad is manufactured taking three aspects into consideration: The first aspect is health. Pads are expensive for many women with lower income here in Addis and also in other parts of Ethiopia. Due to such reasons, women resort to unsanitary means which makes them susceptible to various health issues–cervical cancer being the most prevalent one. Cotton pads as Adey Pads have the capacity to absorb excess moisture which contribute to less infections. Secondly, the product is sustainable as it is reusable,A pad can be used for a maximum of three year. This reduces the cost burden and also contributes to a better environment by reducing wastage. Finally, the establishment focuses on the empowerment of women. Women necessities provided by Women employees.
When Mickal is not working, she loves to travel both locally and internationally. She also loves spending time with her children, extended family members, and friends. She is grateful for life in its entirety. “We are blessed with this life to embark on extraordinary acts”. She adds.
“Leadership, in Mickal’s opinion is all about adaptability and multitasking. She sees herself as a Servant- Leader–a leader who sets an example for her employees. She firmly believes that a leader must exhibit this style of leadership in order to develop and thrive. “I believe in delegation and communication, and that, in my opinion, is a hallmark of a servant leader,” Mickal adds
Mickal’s advice for the younger generation is, Don’t be afraid of anything and make sure you use your time properly. Make sure that you use every opportunity that comes your way and let everything you do is about giving back to the community.
Mickal admires AWiB’s founder and director, Nahusenay Girma. Mickal explains, “I adored the way Nahu handled herself, and her confidence made her my role model”. She has attended the monthly gatherings and she recalls AWiB as being a place where extraordinary women could come together, network, and support other younger women. She wants AWiB to reach more people because of the exceptional work SHE does.
As a concluding remark, she would like to stress on one main point
“Women Empowerment can’t excel without alleviating Menstrual Poverty”
AWiB is grateful for Mickals time.
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