Tribou is aiming at the economic inclusion of women entrepreneurs

Identifying a need

Tayssa Waldron, founder of Tribou, has built her career around one aspiration: to contribute to shifting standards. Attracted by social entrepreneurship, she has been working for several years on different projects that have in common the inclusion of vulnerable people. In 2018, when Tayssa personally faced the difficulty of obtaining financing to save a relative’s business, she became aware of the serious lack of linkage between financial institutions and women’s entrepreneurship.

Hence was born the idea of Tribou, a social structure whose ambition is to create a more inclusive and sustainable economy by breaking down the systemic barriers that limit women’s financial autonomy. Like a bridge between two ecosystems, the Tribou team began working on the development of a referencing and networking platform in order to effectively connect project initiators to the financial products they need.

Tribou, projet lauréat de l'Incubateur civique de la MIS

Adding a dimension to the project

Determined to bring about change, Tayssa is convinced that adding a social dimension to Tribou will maximize its impact. Already familiar with the activities of the MIS, she saw the announcement of the call for projects for the 2020 fall cohort of the Civic Incubator.

“I knew this was the program we needed. I didn’t even look elsewhere. But the initial re-action of the other team members was mixed. Emerging from an incubator dedicated to technology companies and with a platform in the process of being developed, did we really have a chance? The determination to create a solution that meets a specific need is certainly there, but we didn’t really have a clear idea of how to achieve social impact. Finally, I sent the application form and learned with enthusiasm that our project was chosen to be included in the cohort with Audrey Ithema.”


Detecting various obstacles

By offering an online platform that accelerates access to financing, Tribou envisioned positioning itself at the end of the chain of business creation, the very last step in making a project a reality. During the solution’s testing phases with groups of women entrepreneurs, the team discovered that there were barriers when it came time for users to take action.

A first observation highlighted the disparity in the financial knowledge of people starting a business. Indeed, many of them had hardly addressed the economic aspect of their businesses in the incubators or training courses they attended. By going deeper into the analysis of the causes of the problem, Tayssa and Audrey discovered that inaction stems mainly from taboos about money. The procrastination they witnessed was not due to a lack of access to information, but to fear. Indeed, when the time came to embark on their entrepreneurial project full time, to acquire equipment or to proceed with a first hiring, women business leaders unconsciously put the brakes on their decision and prevented the expansion of their project.

“We didn’t imagine that we would have to fill gaps in financial literacy. These observations challenged Tribou’s initial roadmap. But if the impact of the project is at stake, we are open to the changes that are needed.”

Tayssa and Audrey

Developing the project within the Civic Incubator

Thanks to the support of the various workshops and coaching sessions offered in the Civic Incubator program, the project was revisited from a different perspective and an emotional level was integrated into its mission in order to develop an approach focused on supporting women in the decision-making process, to provide them with the tools and help them make informed and confidence-based decisions.

“The Theory of Change workshop during our Civic Incubator journey helped us enormously with respect to the pivot we needed to undertake. It prompted us to go back to the impact, to build a strategy over time. It is a paradigm shift that is far from the model of the technology startup that is growing very quickly and to which we were previously introduced in other incubators. The aim here is to have as much impact as possible, even if it means redirecting our efforts and leaving a prototype aside for a while to subsequently propose a better, more comprehensive solution.”

Tayssa and Audrey

The team is currently working to create new tools to transform the relationship that women entrepreneurs have with money, to complement the platform, in order to create a complete process to be integrated into incubator and business creation training programs. The objective is to trigger their wish to learn by making them more aware of the financial concepts that are essential to transforming their businesses into a real source of economic empowerment and self-reliance. It is by having all the cards in hand to make decisions that women entrepreneurs will break down the discriminatory barriers that still stand in the way of their professional path.

Follow the progress of the project on Tribou’s website!

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