Take talent seriously- Make the effort to recognize talent

Florence Okot with her products

At times we do not immediately recognize the talent that we see in front of us. Almost on a regular basis I am faced with situations where I am surprised at the unexpected quotient of talent I discover. Talent can surprise!

Florence was one of the participants in our Brilliant Entrepreneur project in Uganda in 2014. Then she was just an upcoming entrepreneur. Now she suddenly is the finalist in the BID Challenge. A few months ago she visited The Netherlands, invited here as a prize winner!

Unsuspected talent

Florence is a proof of unsuspected talent. It shows how difficult it is to foresee how powerful an individual’s talent can be. Florence started participating in our project in September 2014. In fact she didn’t even meet the selection criteria: she had a full-time job and did her business 'on the side'.

But I remember her during her product presentation: full of confidence with cassava and soya products and jars of peanut butter. Plastic jars with simple labels. Not really attractive ... although the peanut butter tasted good. She had great plans, but, given the size of her company at that moment, we did not know what to expect.

The talent that she had exhibited was promising indeed, it was : ' to gain results'. And that is what she is doing in a fabulous way. She has really seized every opportunity to make a success of her company.

Now, eighteen months later, she is a full-time entrepreneur. She has 12 employees, a good customer base and is engaged in the purchase of land for the construction of her own plant.Recently Florence was featured on the She Inspires Her

These are the tips Florence has for startups

1. Discover your talent – mine is getting results – and find your dragon – in my case it’s boldness.

2. Invest in business skills and training, read as much as you can about business.

3. Network and partner with like-minded individuals and organizations.

4. Surround yourself with a great team, especially when it comes to financial management and planning.

For her achievements thus far, the 49-year-old Florence was nominated as the Uganda Women Entrepreneurs’ Association’s Women Entrepreneur of the Year. On the horizon, her plan is to penetrate other markets in the East African Community, namely Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, and Tanzania, and thereafter the larger and more competitive Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). It’s ambitious, but for a woman with Florence’s grit, it’s a challenge she relishes.
And for someone who risked her life on a regular basis avoiding rebels on the Gulu-Karuma road, becoming the market leader in food production is frankly a walk in the park.

Take away lesson
You never know what the potential is of the talent that you meet. Every time I keep this in mind with the women entrepreneurs in our new groups.Individuals who are not profiling themselves very clearly in the beginning or who are resistant to change may turn out to be brilliant entrepreneurs.


Never underestimate the potential of the other person! You never know what talent you are dealing with. And how a talent can develop with a little support.

Do you have someone in your (work) environment you would like to know better? Then try to discover the following:

a) What is the talent of this person?
b) What he or she is out to achieve?
c) How you could support this person

And look what happens …

This article is contributed by Brilliant Entrepreneur program

The potential of women entrepreneurs worldwide is enormous. Women entrepreneurs want to grow, to innovate their companies and to be of significance for others. When these women get the opportunity, they can make great steps in their development. The Brilliant Entrepreneur offers these opportunities tailor made; talent development, capacity building, matchmaking, strengthening networks in combination with a mission to the Netherlands or another destination.

  • Written byYvette van Dok

    Yvette van Dok worked for 15 years in Africa, Asia and Latin America. In 2003, she returned to the Netherlands and started her company Co-Motion Consult, (www.co-motionconsult.nl) focusing on talent and business development. In collaboration with Karen Kammeraat she launched the Brilliant Entrepreneur program, www.brilliantentrepreneur.net


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