Yolanda Hickson Asumu is an Equatorial Guinean businesswoman and philanthropist, Founder and CEO of iCUBEFARM, a pan-African platform for job search, recruitment, and network development. . Born in the United States of America, she moved to the Republic of Equatorial Guinea after completing her training and bachelor’s degree to work at Walter International’s branch in Equatorial Guinea, one of the first companies in the oil and gas sector in this country.
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Dreams Talks: We follow your career through our network of professionals about your Foundation and the mission that drives your entire team with such passion. Please tell us more about your beginnings!
Yolanda Asumu: In 1996, I founded BBC GE SL, a leading personnel management services company providing labour services to major companies in Equatorial Guinea’s oil sector, such as Hess, Marathon, AMPCO and EGLNG.
As an entrepreneur, I´m also founder and currently Executive Chairman of ICUBEFARM GE SL, a 100% Equatorial Guinean company that, among other services, has a pan-African professional network and an employment-oriented portal with a wide reach in all African countries. As Director of ICUBEFARM, I have successfully taken advantage of the major skills, experience and knowledge to build a true pan-African employment network that helps organizations facilitate how they interact with potential job seekers throughout the recruitment process.
With a database of companies, as well as qualified professionals looking for work and registered on the platform, ICUBEFARM provides companies, active professionals and job seekers with a common digital platform where they can get to know each other, interact, share information, grow professionally and get a job (or a candidate).
I recently created the ICUBEFARM Foundation as a philanthropic, autonomous, and differentiated branch of ICUBEFARM GE SL dedicated to providing training opportunities for the empowerment of young African professionals and entrepreneurs in their endeavor to ensure decent work, better economic opportunities and financial freedom. The Foundation is currently developing projects that are aligned with this social purpose, to benefit a generic group of young Africans.
Dreams Talks: How has the current Covid-19 health crisis impacted the HR sector since its inception? Has it been more of an opportunity or a total challenge?
Yolanda Asumu: The Coronavirus pandemic has been a major challenge for all industries in all countries, iCUBEFARM has not been the least affected. However, because of its digital character, we have been able to adapt easily to the restrictions, and even more, allowing the whole team to carry out their responsibilities remotely (from home). Keep in mind that this health crisis has created a major economic crisis especially in countries like ours (Equatorial Guinea), which depends heavily on fluctuations in the price of the barrel of oil. But as Albert Einstein says, the crisis is necessary for humanity to move forward; only in times of crisis do big minds arise. Despite all this background, we have been able to retrain our lines of work covering new horizons.
Dreams Talks: Your biggest milestone! Which project you have developed to this day would you be most proud of?
Yolanda Asumu: The project I am most proud of is the platform iCUBEFARM. It’s a decades-old dream, come true; Let me explain to you, I have been working for more than 12 years in the human resources industry through my company Bioko Business Center, and the procedures we carried out were manual and very tedious; reason why, I have been designing strategies to facilitate all these procedures through digitization (aware that technology and human resources are the greatest asset for the future); In 2015 we launched the platform and since then we have worked on its best suitability for businesses and young job seekers. The platform has always been free for job seekers, it is our way of contributing to social inclusion allowing professionals to be aware of job offers instantly and apply without any difficulty. To this, we have added computer training, offering our time and resources available to surf many search engines in the world of “professional” navigation and computer use, and professional training also, through human resources and entrepreneurship training.
Professionally, what I am very proud of is the triumph of the people on my team. I am certain that all the men and women who have worked with me have been developed in several aspects and have therefore had new opportunities.
Dreams Talks: Data analysis, working capacity in changing contexts, self-demand and autonomy. What would also be the essential skills for you to face the digital age? Do you think the African continent is integrating quickly and efficiently?
Yolanda Asumu: The African continent is integrating into the digital age, in some countries access is shown more imposingly and efficiently than others, but all African states and individuals are realizing the importance of digitization as globalization has. To do this, we must be aware that the digital age requires a higher degree of responsibility than usual to which you will need to add independent learning, comprehensive digital skills, advanced digital communication techniques, among others.
Dreams Talks: Corporate social responsibility: fashion or strategy? Doyou have any programs designed to impact HR in your country, on the continent?
Yolanda Asumu: Since its inception, iCUBEFARM has operated under the concept of Social Responsibility in the Human Resources sector, allowing all young people and adults to access the job search platform and create their professional profiles from their offices, free of charge. We have assigned several computer training managers (since many of those enrolled did not know how to use a computer); we have organized courses, workshops, awareness-raising seminars on good practices in job search and self-employment (entrepreneurship), and we continue;
iCUBEFARM has overcome national barriers since 2017, we currently operate at the Pan-African level and the actions we are currently planning, we do so in collaboration with pan-African partners who also advocate the potentialization of human resources and the improvement of industry procedures according to the charges of the 4th Industrial Revolution.
Dreams Talks: Thank you very much for your time Mrs. Asumu, we hope to have you again soon.
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Dreams Talks is a project that was born with the intention of articulating a network of organizations and prominent people in the business, professional and cultural field, to foster a cultural movement that values the importance of Sustainable Leadership, as a basis for manage uncertainty, prioritizing the management of values, as a fundamental pillar of any society.
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