26 year old South African Entrepreneur Zoe Rae is the Founder of Honest Care- a tech platform and community online marketplace that helps South African families match with Au pairs, domestics helps, tutors. Her business is not only rare but very innovative and is solving real time socio-economic problems. From Zoe, we are learning that no one is too young to make impact.
Can you briefly describe yourself and your business?
I am an extroverted, kind hearted and focused young female business woman. I love working with people and making a difference in the lives of the people I meet. I am the oldest of 4 kids, this has made me really responsible and aware of the fact that my siblings look up to me. I enjoy yoga, exercise and being out with friends to social events. My Tech startup, Honest care is a community online marketplace that helps South Africa families match with Au pairs, domestics helps, tutors and more.
What is it like being a female entrepreneur, and why did you chose to be one?
Being a female entrepreneur is both amazing and full of pressure. I enjoy being able to use my feminine qualities to move my business forward. Being in the tech space can induce more pressure for a female entrepreneur, you have to learn the language and educate yourself on more elements in the industry as a non technical founder.
What new innovation have you introduced to your business?
A new innovation I have introduced into my business is using a new method to on board my users. It is very important to me that my users experience the least amount of friction when joining the platform. Our new method is quick and easy, we are seeing higher user numbers as a result
What will you say is responsible for your success so far?
I would say my persistence and willingness to learn new things. Sticking to your vision no matter what, this has lead to my success more than anything. Things can get hard as a startup founder but sticking to your vision is a must.
I have always believed an important characteristic of an entrepreneur is curiosity, learning new ways to do things, how something work. Being curious has helped me build my MVP with zero amount of code.
In your opinion, would you say that there are any unique challenges that female entrepreneurs face?
Most definitely, female entrepreneurs face unique challenges in us having a much shorter time to get things done compared to men. As a female founder you will have to be pregnant, breast feed and look for a series A round of funding all at the same time. A female founder will have to make sure they are not being chosen as the token “ female founder” in the business environment to take part in things where they know. Even if I was not a female, I would have received that award, competition or funding.
What values and principles have helped you so far?
The value of honesty, doing business with integrity and always having an element of excitement in all you take part in. We can take ourselves a little too seriously as new business owners, prioritizing excitement and joy has pushed me past some barriers I have faced.
Why did you decide to go into this particular line of business?
I had worked as an Au pair/babysitter while I was studying my Bachelor in Accounting. I later left South Africa and went to the USA for a year of work and travel as a Au pair In Washington DC. The deciding factor was my experience in the industry and my seeing a gap in the Africa market. Child, home and pet care have not had a any technological innovation in Africa, the industry is extremely neglected in Africa.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced, and what’s kept you going?
I have faced the challenge of finding funding, gaining traction for my platform and Seeing faces that look like mine in the tech space- there is a lot more room for black female tech founders in Africa. What has kept me going is the hope of inspiring other black female tech founders to join the eco system and solve female problems using tech. My family has also been a huge motivator, I am the first female to own a business in my family. I plan on creating a business that will outlive me but keep my family name and work ethic living on.
What’s your five-year plan for your business?
My five year plan with Honest care is to scale the business to the rest of South Africa in Durban, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. Once that is done Honest care will scale to the rest of Africa and Europe. The beauty of tech is that it can work anywhere in the world with very little restriction.
Honest care will move into other part of the care industry in us having an in house recruitment agency to help more families who prefer one on one interactions.
What do upcoming female entrepreneurs need to do to be successful in this path?
Upcoming female entrepreneurs need to move in new and unique spaces. STEM is a huge opportunity for woman right now, there are not enough woman being represented in Science and Technology.
What I would advise upcoming entrepreneurs to do is, keep your ears on the ground and seek new opportunities where you can thrive and wont have too much competition. Learn valuable skills that are not easily replaced by the 4th industrial revolution technology.
The LLA Lady Boss Series is a weekly interview series that highlights the achievements and entrepreneurial journeys of African female entrepreneurs. The idea is to showcase the Leading Ladies who are transforming Africa and the African narrative through enterprise and business.
It is an off-shoot of Leading Ladies Africa, a non-profit that promotes leadership, inclusion and diversity for women of African descent.
If you know any kick-ass women of African Descent doing phenomenal things in enterprise, email firstname.lastname@example.org, and she could possibly be featured.