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Free Enterprise Speaker Series looks at sustainability, entrepreneurship


Western Carolina University’s Free Enterprise Speaker Series will host Senegal native and international businesswoman Magatte Wade at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 1, in the Grandroom of A.K. Hinds University Center.

Magatte Wade

The event, titled “Sustainable People: How Entrepreneurship and Freedom Save People and the Planet,” is free and open to the public, and a DegreePlus for students. Wade will talk about how simplifying the business environment for small enterprises creates jobs and fosters prosperity and environmental sustainability.

WCU’s Free Enterprise Speaker Series is a forum for the campus and community to explore various points of view on important issues and to hear from renowned experts from a variety of fields and perspectives.

“The resource that is most vital to our planet’s sustainability is people,” said Edward Lopez, director of WCU’s Center for the Study of Free Enterprise, which presents the speaker series. “Through her expertise and her stories, Magatte Wade will light a fire in our bellies and in our minds about the importance of sustainable people.”

Wade is founder and CEO of Skin Is Skin lip balm and was named by Forbes as one of 20 Young Power Women of Africa. She has been on the advisory board of Whole Foods’ private foundation, her TED Talk “Why It’s Too Hard to Start a Business in Africa — and How to Change It,” has been viewed more than half a million times, and she has been a writer for the Huffington Post and Barron’s.

“I fight for the freedom of the individual because it all starts with the individual,” said Wade. “My ideas are grounded in reality and my lived experience. I was born in Senegal, but spent much of my childhood in France. The two topic areas I am passionate speaking about are the role of free markets in overcoming poverty and the role of enterprise to tackle social issues.”

The event coincides with this academic year’s campus theme of sustainability and the environment.

For more information, contact Allison Richmond at

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