Many people across Africa, which is still underdeveloped compared to other countries, have been leaving their homelands in search of greener pastures and well-paying jobs.
Such is the story of Souadou Niang, born in Senegal, who became a successful entrepreneur when she made a life-altering decision to move to the United States at the tender age of 18.
Upon arriving in the U.S., Niang embarked on a journey that would ultimately see her rise from the position of a cleaner at the renowned Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Washington DC to the helm of her own luxury establishment.
In her first years, Niang would work at the hotel, cleaning rooms, and at the same time studying. She later rose through the ranks and secured a better job at the same hotel.
”I started out cleaning toilets. I rose through the ranks and that’s where I got the passion. I said one day I will go back to my country and show that luxury and quality of service can be achieved there,” she said.
In 2017, after years of diligent work and disciplined saving in the U.S., Souadou Niang made the triumphant return to West Africa to fulfill her dream.
However, the path to establishing her five-star dream, the Palms Luxury Boutique Hotel, was not without its challenges.
Niang faced the uphill task of securing financial backing, with traditional banks initially hesitant to invest in her ambitious project.
The turning point came when a bank director recognized Niang’s determination and passion, choosing to take a risk and provide the necessary financing for the construction of what would become the Palms Luxury Boutique Hotel.
“The banks’ director said ‘I see your determination, I see your eyes sparkle when you talk about your project, I believe in you, I’ll take the risk of lending you’. Before that I have knocked on the door of several banks and didn’t get lucky,” Niang said.
Situated in Dakar, the Palms Luxury Boutique Hotel is not just a testament to Niang’s success but also a symbol of her broader aspirations. Niang dreams of conquering not just Africa but the world, envisioning her Afro-chic boutique hotels adapting and thriving on an international stage.
“My dream is to conquer Africa, and why not the world. As the international hotel franchises in Africa, we should be able to adapt our Afro-chic boutique hotels in Western countries, and show African women can run luxury boutique hotels with the same standards as the international hotels,” Souadou Niang said.