2018 SVP Startup Profile: Nanny A La Carte
Salimata Bangoura MBA‘19
Tell me a little bit about your company Nanny A La Carte?
Nanny A La Carte is a one-stop-shop concierge service provider in cooking, cleaning, and laundry services for busy professionals and families. We are your extended network and village in helping manage your day to day hustle and the juggle of work. We also plan to later on add transportation and childcare services.
What is the story behind Nanny A La Carte?
I was inspired to start this business because I, myself, was looking for a Nanny A La Carte. I am the mother of three beautiful children, a 6-year old, 4-year old, and a 2-year old. On top of that, I am currently in Babson’s MBA program and I am running my own business. So you can imagine how much I juggle on a day-to day basis. It is really hard to find a nanny who, at an affordable price, could cater to my personal needs as a mother, worker, and student. This is what brought me to start Nanny A La Carte.
Furthermore, I am originally from Mali, West Africa. Being born and raised in Mali, but living in America for quite some time now, I’ve been immersed in two different cultures. Generally, in West Africa, societies are very supportive of those who have children or who are working. There is always someone to help you cook, pick up your kids if you aren’t feeling well, and do so all at a low price. Here in America, I find myself very isolated from that community. My solution to this pain point was to create Nanny A La Carte—to help you get by day-to-day without having to sacrifice your sanity.
What is the most valuable thing you’ve gained from the Summer Venture Program thus far?
I’ve learned a tremendous amount since the Summer Venture Program (SVP) has started, specifically about the importance of creating a routine. As a solo entrepreneur, I’ve learned to be much more strategic about who I add to my team. Furthermore, SVP has provided me with an abundance of resources and tools to help manage all of the tasks I have to get done. Being able to access so many experts, advisors, and entrepreneurs in this space has been absolutely invaluable. Most importantly, I have really learned what it means to trust myself and my own instinct.
What’s been a milestone/accomplishment you’ve made since the Summer Venture Program started?
Through the help of one of the mentors I met through SVP, I have honed in on how to get my current customers to order more services on a recurring so that I can expand my business. I am no longer trying to do everything at once, but rather focus on one aspect of my business at a time.
What’s been an obstacle/surprise you’ve faced?
Time, or the lack of time, has been my biggest obstacle this summer. With only 24 hours in a day, I constantly find myself running out of time to accomplish my goals. I have all the resources and experts available at my fingertips, but finding the time to use them has been a tricky game. However, I am continuing to get a better grasp of it!
What is your favorite memory or moment from the Summer Venture Program?
In my quest to solve David Chang’s (director of SVP) challenge of finding out his childhood name, I must say I have turned into a little detective. I first started by reaching out to his past co-workers and asking them if they knew anything. Although they were all just as lost as I was, I actually created a relationship with a few them in this process. It feels like we are all on this team together and it’s been a fun journey.
I’ve been pretty dedicated to finding out his childhood name; I even tried getting it out of his wife in exchange for free food and laundry services for a month (it didn’t work though).
I know this is all fun and games, but it made me really happy to see how easy it is to reach out to people, even for the silliest of things.
If you could run any company in the world, existing or not, what would it be and why?
I would start a company called “It’s Time.” These past few years specifically, I have seen how powerful entrepreneurship can be and how innate that sense of entrepreneurship is in African women. In so many African communities you will find women who are changing lives on very small scales; you don’t see or hear about them in the news and I want to change that. “It’s Time” would be a platform that finds these people and gives them the resources they need to do what they are doing bigger and better so that they can ultimately have more impact. That is the company I will be the CEO of. This vision is actually one of the things that brought me to Babson.
What is your favorite TV show?
So unfortunately, I don’t have much time to watch TV anymore, but if I do, I love watching animal shows. It fascinates me to learn more about the world and the other creatures on this planet.
Any tips for aspiring entrepreneurs that you want to share?
Just do it. Start the business you have always wanted to. Don’t over think it and trust in yourself and your abilities. It’s so easy to get into this constant cycle of doubting yourself to the point where it stops you from acting. What eases my mind is that even if your business does not take off the way you wanted it to, you will learn something through the process which is invaluable.