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You could call Portia Makoma a serial entrepreneur. She’s a creative who’s built a few companies from scratch, having worked in early-stage start-ups prior to that. Currently, she runs two companies – MAU Mask and OAT Baby Club – founded by none other that Portia herself, of course.

This powerhouse woman tells Go Hustle why being her own boss was always the first option for her.

MAU Mask: starting a mask business, pre-Covid

Portia’s  journey with MAU Mask began when she moved to Bali. “The work and testing for the products started in 2018 and the company launched in 2019. MAU products protect travellers venturing through polluted areas and megacities, [so they can] freely enjoy their outdoor activities and commute without fear of breathing highly polluted air [or] damaging their skin,” says Portia. Wham – then 2020 happened and there was a different need for her products…

OAT Baby Club: the business, baby…

“I started building OAT Baby Club in January 2021 and officially launched in May 2021. OAT was inspired by my amazing friends who birthed beautiful babies in an ecosystem that we are failing. Every item in OAT is sustainable, eco-friendly, slowly and ethically made, and produced by fully-owned female brands,” says Portia. We love!

Serial entrepreneurship 101

Want to be a serious entrepreneur? Then you’ll need a clear vision of where you want to go – while remaining open to change. “I made a decision early that I didn’t want to work in corporate and that was my guiding light,” says Portia. “Though not sure what a non-corporate life looked like, holding on to that decision led to a journey where I only worked directly with an entrepreneur or at early-stage start-ups. That decision opened up opportunities that supplied me with the necessary skills when I finally started my own company, which is what I subconsciously wanted.”

Create a vision. Find opportunities aligned with that vision. Pursue them!

Female-founded start-ups are the least funded globally. Crunchbase released a decade-overview report in 2020 stating that “in 2019, female-only founded companies raised 3 percent of venture dollars and female/male co-founded raised 9 percent of venture dollars. The proportion of venture dollars to female-only has been stagnant; raising 2 or 3 percent venture for 8 out of the last 10 years. Female/male co-founded has moved from 6 to 9 percent of funding over a 10-year timeframe.”

Words of wisdom from a serial entrepreneur

1/ Be brave. Be courageous enough to take more risks aligned with your goals – despite the uncertainty of success.

2/ Priorities are self-governed.

Two books every woman should read…

East of Eden is John Steinbeck at his most powerful. “This story will change how you see humanity and will make you delve deep and ask yourself relevant questions such as, ‘What am I here for?’ The novel is about inheritance and the struggles to grow/progress away from your inheritance. It’s a voyage guiding you through your perception of ‘good’ vs ‘bad’. It’s a story that stays with you and makes you ask yourself all the necessary human questions,” says Portia.

READ MORE: “The Most Valuable Lesson I Learnt From My First Job” – 12 Entrepreneurs Share Their Stories

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is pure Haruki Murakami magic! “I can never explain nor describe this story, but everyone I’ve told to read it… gets it. The first time I read this book I entered one of my most creative phases as I led parallel lives – my ‘real’ one and the one where I was a fearless heroine in Murakami’s story. Being inside the mind of an extraordinary creative encourages you to think in limitless ways,” she says.

Connect with Portia

Portia Makoma | @__portia

OAT Baby Club https://oatbaby.club | @oatbabyclub

MAU Mask https://www.maumask.com | @maumask

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