Isabel Dos Santos is a name known to millions of men, women and children around the world. Her entrepreneurial flair has facilitated the rapid growth and development of the telecommunications industry in Angola, the growth of small business enterprise in the rural heartland and urban areas, and the creation of egalitarian socioeconomic frameworks to bring about the type of change she is promoting.

 Isabel Dos Santos (First the Seed, then the Future)

Source: Isabel Dos Santos (First the Seed, then the Future)

Her brand of entrepreneurship is all-inclusive. She actively engages women across Angola and beyond to stand up and be counted.

She has been instrumental in rural development initiatives, notably the strawberry farms in Humpata, in Huila province in Angola which have provided economic empowerment opportunities to women. This initiative currently employs 120 women who are now growing their own fresh produce, taking it to market and generating their own income.

Her hard work and visionary leadership are evident across the board, notably with her projects aimed at assisting rural women to rise through the ranks with small business training and development. These women now have a myriad of opportunities to grow and develop their own businesses. New entrepreneurs can invest in complementary enterprises, thereby creating a value chain which benefits all members of society. This type of transformative change makes it easier for women to invest in the health, education and wellbeing of their families.

The implications of women empowerment are evident across the board. Isabel Dos Santos is an advocate of social consciousness and economic growth. These dual objectives are critical to uplifting all members of society. To foster greater economic growth, Dos Santos routinely pushes education and skills training of fellow Angolans.

Isabel Dos Santos

Source: Isabel Dos Santos Instagram

Her companies, including Unitel, Zap, Candando and Efacec have policies in place to promote women through the ranks, teach them the necessary skills to succeed, and to introduce dynamic technologies into Angola for the betterment of all. Entrepreneurship is central to economic growth in Angola.

It is the driving force for change and the only way to counter the impact of entrenched patriarchal systems. Women need to be encouraged, inspired and motivated to enter the workforce, participate in the educational system and to take charge of their own economic wellbeing. Social change advocates like Isabel Dos Santos are driving home this message with ambitious plans to fast-track change and provide opportunities.

Isabel Dos Santos takes pride in being a ‘facilitator of change’ and she’s actively engaged in youth development initiatives across Angola and other parts of Africa. To her, success comes naturally to those who take the initiative and make a big effort. She knows, because she was one of only a handful of female electrical engineers graduating from Kings College in London.

At a time where it was considered contrary to the norm, she took it upon herself to get educated and assume a leadership role. She was not dissuaded by the male bias in business; she was encouraged to accelerate her brand of leadership, empowerment and entrepreneurship. Today, Dos Santos is the poster child of female entrepreneurship. She is the woman that other women aspire towards; she is a role model and a symbol of change.


The Economics of Change Management

When quizzed about the need for upending existing frameworks and replacing them with all-inclusive economic systems, Isabel Dos Santos is rather blunt. ‘We need to include all members of our society in our workforce. When more people work, more people buy. This is what drives economic growth.’ This naturally lends itself to growth of peripheral industries and institutions such as new infrastructure development, telecommunications, new home construction, educational initiatives, skill development, wholesale and retail growth, et al.

Change management needs to address the greatest economic asset a country has: its people. By empowering youth, women and men, it’s entirely possible to witness a paradigm shift in economic growth and development. Dos Santos is not sitting on the sidelines as these entrepreneurs take to the scene, she’s pushing hard to introduce breakthrough technologies to make all of this change possible. One of her companies – Efacec – is a world-class provider of electric vehicle technology and Dos Santos is hoping that by 2025 electric vehicles will be available in Angola and beyond.

In the words of Dos Santos, ‘First the Seed, then the Future’. She is clearly cultivating a new mindset in Angola and already budding entrepreneurs are sprouting up across the country. It takes hard work and dedication to change, but she has persevered through it all and actively encourages all other women to do the same.