Episode 42 - Driving Change While Creating Wealth with Sarah Dusek of Enygma Ventures

podcast Mar 09, 2022
Tracy Holland Interviews Sarah Dusek


Our guest today has always wanted to have a positive impact on the world. But her methods for doing so have drastically shifted since she started out, along with her career trajectory. Sarah Dusek first began her career in Africa working with NGOs. After experiencing burnout and frustration at their lack of impact, she and her husband decided to start their entrepreneurial journey in America. They co-founded Under Canvas, a company that recreated the African safari glamping experience on American soil. Since then, they have achieved a lucrative exit strategy and co-founded Enygma Ventures, a company that helps women across Africa grow large-scale businesses. In our conversation with Sarah, we take a closer look at her entrepreneurial journey as she reflects on how it has brought her full circle back to where she started her career, in Africa. Tuning in, you’ll hear Sarah describe some of the most significant moments in her career, why having a strong support network that can relate to the highs and lows of being an entrepreneur is so important, and why she is determined to drastically increase outside investments in Africa. To learn all about how Sarah is helping women across the world get the funding they deserve, and much more, make sure you tune in today!


Key Points From This Episode:

  • Introducing today’s guest, Sarah Dusek, Investor and Founder of Enygma Ventures, venture capitalist, entrepreneur, and profoundly heart-led professional 
  • Sarah’s company, Under Canvas, their successful exit, and her subsequent dedication to helping women on their journey to financial freedom
  • Sarah’s journey thus far and her enduring mission to make the world a better place
  • What Sarah learned from working with NGOs
  • How this motivated her and her husband to create their company Under Canvas
  • Why it’s so difficult — and important— to ask yourself what you want 
  • How Sarah outlined the outcomes she wanted for Under Canvas and then executed them
  • The concept of BHAG (big, hairy, audacious, goals) and why it’s so useful
  • How Under Canvas found a buyer and made a successful exit
  • The difficulty of closing a deal and why it almost always takes multiple attempts
  • How Sarah and her husband entered the investment space and founded Enygma Ventures
  • How Enygma Ventures is helping women across Africa grow large-scale businesses
  • Sarah and Tracy’s thoughts on entrepreneurship and some of the challenges relating to parents who aren’t entrepreneurs
  • The network of women who supported Sarah during some of the most stressful periods of her entrepreneurial journey
  • Learn about Pranary, the online course for early-stage entrepreneurs.
  • How Pranary is equipping individuals in Africa and across the world to be investor-ready



“There are also some very highly educated, very capable, very sophisticated business women trying to build businesses in Africa who could completely transform their nations and their cities and really significantly help move Africa forward. So, we’re working with them in all kinds of sectors to help them grow really large-scale businesses.” — Sarah Dusek [0:26:07]

“You’re just constantly trying to fight the fight of trying to find cash to pay for everything. That’s super stressful. Nobody really understands that. I mean, if you’re not an entrepreneur, it’s very hard to understand the weight of that.” — Sarah Dusek [0:33:01]

“It really changed my life, because I met other women who were on the same journey as I was, who understood the challenges I was facing every day, the hardships of doing what you do, the huge rewards of doing what you do.” — Sarah Dusek [0:34:05]

“I had come from a nonprofit world, and so a lot of the rules were just totally alien to me, and I was having to figure it out as I went along and made a lot of mistakes. If I’d known what I know now, I potentially could have done what we did much faster and much cheaper.” — Sarah Dusek [0:43:11]

“When you don’t have the information and you are disadvantaged because you don’t know how something works, then you’ve got a discriminatory system.” — Sarah Dusek [0:43:42]

“The system is broken, because only those who know the rules or can play the game, can work the system. That’s why we’ve got a very male-dominated financial world and entrepreneurial world.” — Sarah Dusek [0:43:55]

“Trying to move the needle on inequality is so important for creating a world that works for everyone. Right now, we’ve got a world that works for 4% or 5% of the world’s population. That’s got to change.” — Sarah Dusek [0:45:48]


Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Sarah Dusek on LinkedIn

Enygma Ventures


Potential to Powerhouse

Tracy Holland on Instagram

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