“Women led businesses hold the key to transforming the economy and unemployment in African countries but they face many challenges & obstacles.” Jackie Aylett
Brief description of self and introduction to family
Jackie Aylett is a Generation Xer who feels more akin to the i-Generation. she has a keen interest on the impact of technology on the future and drawn to a world where everything is possible. Her three sons, Kimon 24, Nikos 22 and Dinos 19, keep her young and inspired. Her adopted furkid, Gus, a gorgeous Cocker Spaniel, keeps her amused and on my toes! her partner, Niel, keeps her laughing and in love.
We tap into the skills, experience and the knowledge this is most amazing woman who shares her passion for technology and the ripple effects of success she is creating through her business. Her passion for travel and dishes advise to women on how to stay in business to win it. She is a disruptor, a mover and a shaker who is connecting travelers internationally through her business.
Be inspired, motivated and encouraged to take your own business to the next level of success.
Tell us about your business?
My business is all about harnessing the power of disruptive technology to solve real problems and allowing people to connect with freedom. I founded Flexiroam Africa in 2018 after discovering a unique solution to keep international travellers connected. Pioneered by a company in Malaysia, Flexiroam X seamlessly connects you globally. Whether travelling for business or leisure, people need and want to be connected 24/7 to stay in touch, use mobile apps, social media, check emails, surf the internet and navigate via Google Maps. I knew that this technology would have great potential in Africa where connectivity can be challenging and traditional data roaming is seriously expensive.
As CEO of Flexiroam Africa, my focus is to develop a strong network of country partners on the African continent and bring affordable data connectivity to people travelling into and out of Africa.
A highlight in 2020 was creating a unique accessibility solution for the International AIDS Society (IAS) to connect delegates worldwide to the 23rd International AIDS Conference. For the first time ever, the conference was held as a virtual event due to the global pandemic. Thanks to the solution developed by Flexiroam Africa and the generous IAS scholarships, over 2 000 delegates from 100 countries, participated in AIDS2020:Virtual.
What has inspired your business journey?
I have always been deeply inspired by my mum, Dr Veronica Bowker. As a brilliant academic and lecturer, she raised me to be an independent thinker, a strong communicator and to treat everyone with respect and kindness. At age 81, she still inspires me daily and is one of my greatest supporters.
Never stop learning. There are endless online opportunities to increase your knowledge and your network. This approach constantly fuels my inspiration.
As a woman entrepreneur what challenges have you encountered in your journey of success?
Founding a start-up is exciting and liberating but there are real challenges facing not only women but men entrepreneurs. For me, achieving a balance between work and play has always been a challenge. One becomes so focussed on making one’s business a success, that taking time out often gets neglected.
You are also a luxury traveller blogger how does that compliment your business?
I consider travel essential for spotting business opportunities and to feed the soul. With travel at the heart of Flexiroam Africa’s business, it feels perfectly right to travel the world and to write about amazing places and experiences. Writing and travelling are both passions of mine and because my business is location neutral, I can truly work from anywhere in the world.
What do you think can be done to celebrate women more and what they do?
The female economy is the world’s largest emerging market with the potential to add $12 trillion to global GDP by 2025. Sub Saharan Africa has the highest rate of entrepreneurs globally and Africa is the only region in the world where more women than men choose to become entrepreneurs. We have the highest growth rate of female run businesses in the world! Women led businesses hold the key to transforming the economy and unemployment in African countries but they face many challenges & obstacles.
I believe that women are the future of the African continent. Organisations such as African Women Innovation & Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) are so important to foster the economic inclusion, advancement and empowerment of women in Africa through entrepreneurship support and development. Women should be encouraged to join these empowerment organisations that offer development programmes, accelerators, networking events and annual awards that celebrate female achievement.
Where do you see your business in the next 3-5 yrs.
My holding company, Gold Arc Holdings, seeks to grow business coverage and create brand footprints in Africa and beyond in partnership with businesses we love and understand. We are excited and passionate about the impact of technology on the world. The increasingly digital world provides infinite possibilities and opportunities to do business in new and disruptive ways and I see my business expanding beyond a global data solution into becoming a super connector. We will achieve this via strategic partnerships in the mobile App, Fintech and machine to machine connectivity space.
I have aligned my companies to the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to create a better and more sustainable future for all. In particular, we have embraced the goals of gender equality and decent work for all.
What advice can you give to women looking to follow in your footsteps?
Have passion for who you are, rather than for what you do. Excess optimism will kill you every single time Slow down to speed up. It takes at least 1 000 days for a business to start washing its own face. Exponential growth happens in the 4th or 5th year. All money flows along the lines of trust. Money still flows in the world today but its flowing to people who solve unique problems and those problems are rapidly changing.
- What unique problem can I solve?
- Who do I want to be?
- Who do I want my customer to be?
- Put your plan in place.
- Build a dream team.