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Debbie Larry-Izamoje: Dear Female Entrepreneurs, Thrive & Flourish



IMG_6260I never thought in 2018 I’d still hear a man say he can’t do business with a woman, or silence inappropriate jokes on my relationship status during business meetings.

Most industries are still male-dominated and very few make it easy for a woman to thrive. Sometimes people support you until they find that you actually have what it takes to succeed. This is the sad reality of life that most people are not prepared for.

However, I’ve never been more proud to be a female entrepreneur. It’s been a unique journey but I’m forever grateful to those women who laid solid foundations for our generation to build strong structures on.

The work is, however, not finished, and we must continue to educate the next generation of female entrepreneurs on the struggles the media barely highlights. We should prepare them for the situations that caught us by surprise on our individual paths to success. Here are a few points to note.

Ambition is not a curse
Some people are scared to dream as big as they want because somehow it seems like the society doesn’t have a lot of good things to say about successful women. It’s hard for a woman to ever truly get credit for her hard work without society doing its background check on her personal life.

If she’s married it’s attributed to her husband and if she’s single…they swear she has a sponsor somewhere. Because how dare a woman succeed on her own? With hard work, perseverance, and knowledge of her business/ industry…how dare she?

I’m grateful for women like my mother, because I was raised in a home where you had to be independent as a woman; you had to have a plan for your life you were chasing.

It is not a curse to be a woman and it is definitely not abnormal to aim at shattering glass ceilings.

Women are told to be tough but not bossy; to speak up, but not be the loudest in a room. Emotional women are called dramatic and the women who don’t show emotions are called cold. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t, so why not be yourself with no apologies?

There is no such thing as too much success; don’t put yourself in a box trying to please anyone. Thrive, flourish, and take all that the world has to offer you.

When people try to sidetrack you for being a female entrepreneur with huge goals remind them that the only difference between a male and a female entrepreneur is that the women are more likely to be doing business in an uncomfortable pair of high shoes, that’s all!

You Don’t Always Have to Be Nice
You become unstoppable when you realize that this world is just yours as it is anybody else’s! You will meet all kinds of people and even be unfortunate to employ some; this will threaten your good nature if you let it. So many wolves are out there waiting to prey on your resources and ideas not for once thinking of its effect on you.

It’s actually a huge shame that the country is so hard and everyone is trying to survive but at the expense of someone else. And in all of this, you have to remain kind but not foolish. You must know your values before starting any business and ensure you treat people how they are, not how they ought to be.Take your emotions out business situations. Take hard decisions and learn to go to bed knowing that we are all learning to drive this bus called life.

There is Power in Being Underestimated
When people underestimate you that’s the time to prove your worth. It’s the time to roll up your sleeves and get to work. Always be sure of yourself before any meeting. People will underestimate you as a young woman and the more confident you are, the easier it is to sell your vision. Know your worth!  If you don’t, then surround yourself with people who do.

Stay focused on your journey, don’t be intimidated by someones controlled content on social media. Grow into your role as a leader and take charge of your life and career. Whatever you find yourself doing, do it diligently. When given any information to work with, probe deeply. Being naïve is not an excuse in the corporate world

And oh! don’t neglect your personal life. Nuture it as hard as you nuture your business.

Debbie Larry-Izamoje, with Certificates in Innovation and strategy from Harvard University and user innovation from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is the Founder of a fast growing digital agency in Nigeria and the group operations coordinator of Nigeria's only sports radio station, Brila Fm Twitter and Instagram: @dee_larry @imageboosters_ Email: [email protected]


  1. GraceOfGOD

    April 16, 2018 at 10:05 am

    @Debbie Larry-Izamoje,

    Good morning dear SISTER( me calling you SISTER is NOT a mark of disrespect on the CONTRARY it is out of LOVE, so please do NOT be offended). I really ENJOY reading your ARTICLES which are MOSTLY very INSTRUCTIVE. I particularly LIKED this GREAT piece, there are a lot of THINGS to take from it. . Life out there is NOT easy for WOMEN even when they are NOT ENTREPRENEURS talk less of when they ARE. Anyway like you RIGHTLY pointed out, the world does NOT belong EXCLUSIVELY to someone, we ALL have the RIGHT to chase a COMFORTABLE place within. I am a SMALL entrepreneur yet with BIG DREAMS and by the Grace of the ALMIGHTY GOD all those dreams will become REALITY one day.

    Most of the TIME I am REJECTED by the MAJORITY because I refuse to COMPROMISE and become an HYPOCRITE. No I stand for JUSTICE, for what is RIGHT and I won’t be SILENCED. It is either they TAKE it that way or they LEAVE it. Sorry for my “EPISTLE”, may be I needed to VENT due to all these INJUSTICES towards FEMALE CHILDREN and WOMEN in GENERAL.

    Like you said other WOMEN fought for our RIGHTS, they FOUGHT for us to have BETTER conditions and we OWE it to the NEXT GENERATIONS to FIGHT for them also. The “BATTLE” must CONTINUE till the END of all OPPRESSIONS. It is my BUSINESS, it is YOUR business, it is OUR business. WOMAN STAND UP and FIGHT for your RIGHT. Have a GREAT day and stay BLESSED 🙂 🙂 🙂

  2. John

    April 16, 2018 at 6:17 pm

    I never thought in 2018 I’d still hear a man say he can’t do business with a woman, or silence inappropriate jokes on my relationship status during business meetings.
    I will be suprises too ,to hear that talk..only a stupid man will open his mouth to say that nonsense out loud ..example, I rarely do business with women but I don’t go about saying it out loud..I will just keep silent, smile and make -up one excuse and dismiss you when you are done talking..saved me a lot of trouble.

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