Forbes magazine named Magatte Wade one of the “20 Youngest Power Women of Africa.” Magatte was born in Senegal, educated in France, and started her entrepreneurial career in the U.S. Her first company, Adina World Beverages, based on indigenous Senegalese beverage recipes, became one of the most widely distributed U.S. brands started by an African entrepreneur. Her second company, Tiossan, sells skin care products based on indigenous Senegalese recipes online and at high-end boutiques. Magatte was also named a Young Global Leader by the 2011 World Economic Forum at Davos and is a frequent speaker on college campuses.
Kaizen: Where in Senegal were you born?
Wade: I was born 80 kilometers south of Dakar on the coast of the Atlantic, in a small town called M’bour. It used to be a very small town but because it’s a beach village, it’s become one of the main leisure and tourist towns.
Kaizen: The Gambia River runs from the west through Senegal?
Wade: Yes. We are about three hours north of that.
Kaizen: What was your education as a child like?
Wade: I never went to school when I was a child in Senegal. I credit a lot of who I am and my love of freedom to that—to the fact that my grandmother allowed for me not to go to school.
Kaizen: So you were raised by your grandmother primarily?
Wade: Yes, for three or four more years. Instead of going to school, I would spend all of my time playing with boys, going on expeditions, and things like that.
Kaizen: At what age did you go to Europe?