Founders in the Making: Insider Insights by Tatiana Wandar

Authored by: Carmen Merab
May 30, 2024 - 3 mins read

In this spotlight Q&A, we’re excited to feature the experiences and insights of a current Africa Blue Wave / Regen Wave participant. We hope to provide valuable perspectives for those considering applying to the program by sharing their personal stories, challenges, and milestones.

Tatiana Wandar is an Africa Blue Wave / Regen Wave fellow and a passionate social entrepreneur driven by a desire to create impactful solutions that address real-world challenges

Q: Tell us about yourself. What motivated you to become an entrepreneur?

I am Tatiana Joan Wandar, a passionate and driven professional with a social entrepreneurship, business administration, and management background. My entrepreneurial journey stems from a desire to create impactful solutions that address real-world challenges, such as environmental preservation and operational efficiency. Having overcome personal adversity with intestinal cancer due to poor roofing conditions, I realized the importance of protecting the environment and preserving food for future generations. Through my experiences managing diverse projects, supporting four startups, leading a team of over 200 people across Africa, and optimizing processes in various roles, I recognized the potential to combine my skills and passion for innovation to make a meaningful difference.

Q: As a female entrepreneur, have you faced any unique challenges or barriers? How has the program helped equip you to overcome them?

As a female entrepreneur, gender capability biases and limited access to resources have been barriers.  The support and training provided by programs like Africa Blue Wave / Regen Wave have been instrumental in overcoming them. The program has equipped me with valuable skills in hypothesis formulation, project management and operations, VC readiness, co-founder match assessment, Lean financial management, and AI technical software usage.

Q: What were some of the most valuable skills or lessons you have learned from the TECA program that you think will be useful as an entrepreneur?

A: The TECA program has equipped me with invaluable entrepreneurial skills such as effective project management, strategic decision-making, idea development (from problem identification to solution and team fit analysis), and AI technical skills like utilizing ChatGPTs, Perplexity and the Miro Suite. A key lesson learned is the importance of continuous learning, adaptation, and incorporating feedback, which is crucial for success in any entrepreneurial venture. 

Q: What has surprised you most about entrepreneurship in the climate space compared to your initial expectations?

A: Surprisingly, entrepreneurship in the climate space requires a high level of collaboration and innovation across various stakeholders to address environmental challenges holistically, from fellow startups to established companies, government bodies, and local communities. It is not solely an income-generating sector but focuses on improving the climate, where the impact drives income. This collaborative approach has broadened my perspective on the significance of sustainable business practices.

Q: What has been the most rewarding aspect of your entrepreneurial journey so far?

A: The most rewarding aspect of my entrepreneurial journey has been the ability to make a tangible impact on communities and the environment through supporting several companies. I have assisted in developing products that aid marginalized groups, such as a transparent face mask that helped deaf and mute women with disabilities with lip sync during communication, earning recognition in a startup competition. I also created and presented the warehouse architectural floor plans and drawings for a Mosquito Repellent Soap to a multinational corporation, which funded its construction. As a mentor, I have guided startups in securing long-term funding opportunities from government bodies and aided in transitioning organizations into successful NGOs, including growing one project’s income from zero to a substantial amount within a month. Witnessing the positive changes resulting from my efforts has been incredibly fulfilling. 

Q: Looking back, what advice would you give your younger self before starting this journey?

A: I would advise my younger self to embrace every learning opportunity and not fear failure. Each setback is a chance to learn and grow. Networking and building strong relationships with mentors and peers are also crucial—you are who you associate with, as they can provide valuable support and guidance. Lastly, staying true to your passion and purpose will keep you motivated and resilient through the challenges. The grass isn’t just greener on the other side; someone is intentionally taking time to trim and water it.

Q: How would you summarize your TECA experience and its impact on your entrepreneurial path?

A: My TECA experience has been transformative, providing me with the skills, knowledge, and confidence to pursue my entrepreneurial ambitions. The program’s focus on practical training and real-world applications has been particularly impactful, allowing me to apply what I’ve learned directly to the new venture I am co-founding.

Furthermore, TECA has also expanded my network, connecting me with like-minded individuals and potential collaborators across Africa. It has been a pivotal part of my journey, shaping me into a more effective and innovative entrepreneur. My network is gaining more value and support from the knowledge I am learning through TECA. SUNWAVE has a better foundation with TECA to project its journey of becoming a unicorn.

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