"Do not be afraid, we are doing this for Africa!"

Date: Monday, August 13, 2018

Dicko SY is an agronomist specialized in plant production, an entrepreneur and co-founder of the startup Dictaf Corporation specializing in crop production, extension services and agricultural solutions.

Dicko
Dicko SY, co-founder of the startup Dictaf Corporation Photo: UN Women/ Alpha Ba
 
What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?

Being an entrepreneur was above all, a way to flourish in my field, and to feel more useful in the Senegalese community and in Africa. Working in agriculture allows us to strengthen our independence and being self-sufficient at the food level, makes it possible to ensure people’s welfare is secure. This brings progress because we are together taking a step towards our independence.

What difficulties have you faced as a woman in the agricultural sector?

There are few women agronomists in Senegal, especially in production but, this is where women should be. Previously, it was a male-dominated environment, and it took more effort to have a footprint in this area. As a young woman, I have learned how to be patient to gain the confidence of people. This is a challenge that we must all overcome, and I am proud of the willpower!

What is the main key to be a successful entrepreneur?

To expand a business, one must move forward step by step and to consider that each step will bear fruit. I have been fortunate to have a strategic support system, which has allowed me to evolve. We need to be with people who give us more confidence, because young entrepreneurs and start-ups should be more driven to expand the solutions for their community.

UN Women is one of the first structures that truly believes in the potential of every young person, especially female youth, through its policy of encouraging girls in the field of entrepreneurship. I am a consultant at UN Women and it is with this mark of confidence that we galvanize people and strengthen their desires to be more ambitious.

What advice would you give to young girls and women who aspire to become entrepreneurs?

I advise young girls and women to join the agricultural sector because this sector needs to be boosted. One must not be reluctant because of stereotypes around agriculture but instead to trust a woman's ability in this environment. Agriculture is for women, men and all those who share innovations in this environment. Do not be afraid, we are doing this for Africa!

What has been your greatest achievement?

Establishing Dictaf Corporation which is offering services across Senegal, helping people set up their farms and helping people to carry out their own projects beyond even some of our projects is a great achievement.

Working with UN Women to strengthen the capacity of the REFAN network (Network of Women Farmers in the North Senegal), a network of more than 10,000 women farmers, our goal is to improve the quality of production to offer increasingly competitive products on the national and international scene.

As we continue developing solutions, our technological and innovation approach has managed to include the rural sector. For example, we try to make the platforms they serve not dependent on the internet. It's our innovative touch, to circulate information in the right channels for rural women.