Womenpreneur-Initiative had the pleasure to interview the inspiring entrepreneur Chiraz Bensemmane - founder and CEO of Pitch World Fast and Coach Tribe, who recently launched the new “Hive Women’s Leadership Program”. Chiraz is a nomad entrepreneur and expert in sales and public relations, having worked and travelled for over 10 years in more than 12 different countries. Passionate about sales, training and coaching as well as meeting and exchanging with different people from around the world, she is also specifically dedicated to empowering women - with a new program available to you.
To learn more about Chiraz, her advice for having your own business and information about the Hive Women’s Leadership Program, please read this interview!
Tell me about your background, where you grew up and went to school.
I was born in Tunisia but I grew up in Algeria. I’m Algerian. We moved to France when I was 10, so I went through primary school in Algeria speaking Arabic, while the rest of my studies were carried out in France. I attended the business school EM Strasbourg and did an exchange year at Georgetown University, as part of my master’s degree in International Business.
What is your business?
I have started two businesses - Pitch World Fast and Coach Tribe.
I first started Pitch World Fast in 2015 - a Business Development and Project Management company. We help companies and individuals grow through trainings and capacity building, as well as by fostering cooperation and collaboration, especially in Africa. In addition to B2B meetings, trainings and export projects with our clients, we have 3 signature projects: our round tables and African webinars on issues related to the economy and healthcare; our women leadership program; and our online course on how to approach people and to network.
I created the second company in 2019 - Coach Tribe - an online coaching platform. The aim is to democratize coaching and to enable coaches to have all their systems centralised in one place in order for them to coach and serve their clients efficiently. It also aims to enhance the diversity of coaches in terms of topics, languages, experiences, expertise, nationalities and cultures, as well as to support coaches in their growth.
Where did you get the inspiration for your business?
The inspiration for both of my businesses came from the idea and willingness to support companies and individuals to grow, and as I wanted to share my expertise. I am all about learning from each other and collaborating. Therefore, I always implement this and try to involve all stakeholders and actors in every project that I engage in.
What is a challenging aspect of owning your own business and how do you overcome it?
A challenging aspect of having my own business is the uncertainty and dependency on others.
Many people believe that when you have your own business you are more free, since you don’t have a “boss”. However, to a certain extent you will always have a “boss” or someone you need to deliver to. You tend to be dependent on others in order to advance your business and grow, either financially speaking or for achieving your deliverables.
To overcome this challenge, you need to make sure that you have clear processes in place and set boundaries. You need to establish the best working environment possible for you and your clients in order to advance and efficiently deliver your work, product or service. Therefore, I highly recommend you to always have transparent and clear communication as well as established processes in place.
What is one piece of advice for anyone (but specifically women) looking to start their own business?
Always keep moving forward.
Think of something that you are passionate about, then launch yourself and take that leap of faith. Try it and adapt. Make sure to be flexible and don’t care about what people might think of you. The most important thing is to keep growing and to move forward!
How has the Covid-19 crisis changed the way you operate your business?
From the start, my companies were already designed as nomad companies, since my idea was to become as close to my clients as possible, no matter where they are.
The Covid-19 crisis has pushed me to get out of my comfort zone. I have reached out to great clients in new and different markets from those I have been present in for the past few years, and I have forced myself to educate my clients on how to work more remotely and to respect boundaries.
Can you provide examples of both negative and positive business experiences related to the Covid-19 crisis?
Personally, I must say that the Covid-19 crisis has been a quite positive experience for me, as it has pushed and enabled me to have a greater impact, especially through my African webinars. If it wasn’t for Covid-19, I wouldn’t have been as resourceful and able to implement this project.
On the negative side, it has taken a toll on my mental health and increased my workload. I easily became completely consumed by work, especially as lockdown meant work became my full-time occupation, without giving myself breaks or time to take care of myself. I was however aware of this, and I became much more mindful of my time, making sure to prioritize and implement “me-time” and breaks, so that I would still be energized to keep advancing and avoid having a burn-out.
You have recently launched a new program to enhance women’s leadership, what is this program?
The program is called the Hive Women’s Leadership Program!
In 2019, I actually already launched the first two groups of the Hive Women’s Leadership Program in Algeria. The idea was and still is to support women to find their passion project and to launch it.
During 12 weeks, we have weekly two-hour-long sessions, consisting of group coaching and work establishing the right mindset, vision & action plan to launch their project.
With this program we aim to build a supportive community of women helping and cheering each other on, and we empower them to launch their project, regardless of what that project might be - we are there to help them find the project that drives them.
While the program initially was only an in-person project in Algeria, I decided to open it up to all French speaking countries and the MENA region. We will have two or three groups for 12 women maximum and the program will be carried out in French or in English depending on the candidates.
I’m really excited to launch it again and to do it online in order to reach out to a greater number of women!
How can women apply for the program?
All the details of how to apply to the program can be found on the website: https://pitchworldfast.wixsite.com/women-leadership-pgm
We also have calls with our candidates to make sure that they are motivated, committed and share our values, as we really wish to create a benevolent, kind & supportive community of women.
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Womenpreneur is a non-for-profit organization, conducting activities in Belgium and in the MENA region. Since 2016, we have launched several initiatives and projects which aim to boost women’s economic participation and engagement in entrepreneurship and tech, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have reached and empowered more than 16 000 women since 2016.
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