Hello everyone, my name is Daniella TCHANA, and I am the CEO of an EdTech startup specialized in remote scientific learning: BeSMART-Edu.
“It is easier to achieve your goals while being the pilot of what you want to do”
Let’s talk about the purpose of BeSMART-Edu: Being an online preparatory class, it allows all youth categories, regardless of their locations, to prepare and be able to integrate elite schools or colleges.
I created this startup to break down the inequalities existing in the educational system, which today remains limited to certain profiles categories. A very few youths at the local or regional level enter high ranking French Science Schools.
Our goal is to break that glass ceiling and give all these young people the same opportunities and the same high-standard preparation so that they can enter these great schools.
My daily role in achieving this goal is to work with the BeSMART-Edu team, the communication, the innovation, the teaching, and last but not least, the technology team to ensure excellent service quality. As CEO, I pilot the different axes of the company, and amongst the catalogue of courses we offer, I give Mathematics courses.
I chose scientific courses for my company because it is not “country-centred” nor “continent-centred” but rather universal. It is the same language in all continents and countries: Africa or China, or the United States of America. Though created in France, our startup succeeds in reaching the whole world. We have students worldwide: in South Africa, Asia, North America and other countries.
I chose scientific courses for my company because it is not “country-centred” nor “continent-centred” but rather universal. It is the same language in all continents and countries: Africa or China, or the United States of America. Though created in France, our startup succeeds in reaching the whole world.
We have students worldwide: in South Africa, Asia, North America and other countries.
From my scientific background, science is fundamental to me; mostly women represented within the domain. With this in mind, the BeSMART-Edu team came up with an idea to encourage young girls in taking an interest in science by deciding to launch the Women’s Mathematical Olympiad in France.
The first season took place in 2020 during the pandemic and was a real success. The Laureates were congratulated and encouraged by several ministers such as the Minister of Digital Affairs, the Minister of Diversity and Gender Equality and other personalities.
Several partners and major groups also supported and encouraged this event, including the L’Oréal Foundation, the Crédit Mutuel Arkéa Group, and several women’s institutions such as the Digital Ladies & Allies.
The aim of these Olympiads is to motivate young girls from high school so that they can have fun doing scientific courses and opt for these courses in higher education. We encourage them by highlighting role models in science, thereby showing them girls can meet scientific goals. During the first season, they had the opportunity to interact with the famous astronaut Claudie Haigneré who is well known for her background as French female astronaut and later minister. We were also able to discover through the exchanges that she was a former doctor. It was an absolute pleasure for the girls because they could project themselves through her journey, looking at how she managed to reconcile her professional and family life. So they realized that there are no entry barriers to migrate to scientific domains.
We also offer scholarships to women who enrol in certain courses, and the goal is to encourage them to migrate and stay in the scientific area.
“With our work, we prove that we can make beautiful things“
Concerning my studies, I have a scientific baccalaureate obtained in Cameroon. Thanks to a scholarship, I was able to continue part of my graduate studies in France. Having always aimed the moon, I continued my scientific path until my doctorate in mechanics and nanotechnology.
I will say that my entire academic career was challenging because I always felt that the educational system was not adapted to my person. The school format was not adapted to what I was looking for, which made my years of study very laborious.
As a woman, I have never really had negative experiences in my scientific career. In fact, at some point, when you reach a certain level in this field, you are rather respected as a woman because there are very few ones. In my PhD program, we were two women in mechanics and among our teachers, we only had two females. At this point, we were not challenged but instead encouraged and pushed because the goal was to show that we had a place. I think that for young girls, the most challenging thing is to get there, and once you get to a certain level, you realize that with your work, you are appreciated and congratulated because you prove that you can make beautiful things.
Following this academic career, and having always been an entrepreneur since my early childhood, I decided to create BeSMART-Edu because I think I have always been called upon to provide solutions, to help, to find ways to make the world a better place. For me, it is easier to achieve such objectives by being the pilot of what we want to do.
For the creation of this company, I decided to go back to business school to study finance, business management, management and negotiation. It allowed me to stop making the same mistakes I made with my first company, created at the age of 17, that went bankrupt because of a lack of knowledge.
“It is important to take the time to enjoy your passions, to have some balance in life”
In addition to my professional life, I have been passionate about stylism since the age of 12, when I began studying stylism and model making. Besides, I also like baking. Moreover, I think it is essential to take the time to enjoy your passions to have some balance in life.
The advice I would give young girls is to go for it and do what they want to do and not let anyone dictate their future or what job they will do tomorrow.
Let them do what they are passionate about and not be afraid to realize their dreams, no matter what others say. For me, there is not a profession reserved for a specific gender and other professions for the other gender. If they are certain and passionate about a job, they must go for it!
Moreover, just because they do not like a subject or because a teacher was not competent enough during high school years does not mean that they must dislike science. This is usually the case with mathematics because everyone says that to go into engineering, you have to be good in mathematics. NO! It is not the case because you can be in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and not be good at mathematics. After all, mathematics are only a tool for some domains.
There is also the fact that today, these professions are very well-paid and generally,when this is the case, they are men who are promoted in advertising, in directions and in positions.
Sometimes, it is also due to clichés in the media, and certain girls get discouraged, therefore explaining the rate of about 30% of women in the scientific professions.
“It’s time to stop focusing on what the medias are sending back and look for women working in the field that interests you, question them, and see what these women have accomplished and therefore acknowledge what needs to be done!”
Thanks to SciGi for existing!
Written by Ornella S.