Chelsea Hornby

Elle International

What does your company do?

Elle International advances access to safe, sustainable, and affordable solutions for women’s health, including diagnostics, treatments, and pathways to cures, while empowering women through education and socio-economic inclusion. Elle is now establishing South Africa as the prominent and influential player in the women’s health ecosystem globally, creating opportunities for the emergence of industries that arise from the convergence of technology, harnessing the transformative potential for economic and societal benefit. Please see a summary here:

What is your biggest success?

My organisation was born from a deep-seated desire to empower young women in Africa, focusing on women’s health. At 23 years old, I invested my entire life savings into this mission, foregoing the typical pursuits of my peers. My journey has been one of adversity, including surviving human trafficking and assault. Yet, it was the fire of purpose that drove me on, turning each setback into empathy for those without a voice. I am humbled that through my leadership and in conjunction with a world leading team of collaborators, Elle is now positioned to advance health equity at a regional level in Africa through the implementation of state-of-the-art technology to enable datasets for transformative research, the implementation of AI in healthcare, and the assured provision of critical products and services across Sub-Saharan Africa.

What has been your biggest hurdle?

When I started Elle, I was a victim of trafficking and assault. The ordeal was more than a setback. The wounds cut deep, mentally, and emotionally. It hit my soul, impacting every aspect of my life. Ultimately, it was in knowing my calling, having the answer to my purpose in this life that I found the grit and determination to see each new day as an opportunity to fight back, and fight for what I believe in. In 2020 my sister, Kirsten Fawn Jenkin, passed away. At the time she was overseeing substantial COVID relief efforts. Kirsten was amongst other things a Mandela Washington Fellow and played a pivotal role in leading anti-human trafficking in Southern Africa. Since Kirsten’s passing, I have worked to pick up and elevate her social impact efforts, establishing long term plans for commercial operations that benefit a foundation in her honour to continue the work.