Evelyne Adjei Mensah, Founder and CEO of Trust in isotopes

What is your job?

I am the founder and CEO of a company called “Trust in isotopes”. The goal is to support companies in rebuilding trust among consumers. Trust in isotopes offers a traceability service designed to companies importing raw materials (such as cocoa and spices for example) aiming to protect themselves from unfair competition and ensure the quality of their products. The analyses rely on the isotopic signatures within raw materials.

How did you get your job?

After my PhD defense, my entrepreneurial project was successfully selected by the University of Perpignan’s incubator, UPVD IN CUBE for an 18-month program. My project was considered innovative and my scientific background brought legitimacy and credibility. The incubator supported me in the creation of my company in May 2023.

Did you initially plan on this career at the onset of your PhD?

At the beginning of my PhD thesis, I had no specific ideas of what I would do next. I viewed the thesis as an opportunity allowing me to work on an exciting topic (Chromium environmental dissemination in a mining context), with genuine scientific and human impact. Over the years, I discovered entrepreneurship and non-academic opportunities, and the idea became ingrained in me.

What helped you to be aware of the alternative career paths to academia?

One of the training programs financed by my doctoral school was a 9-month cycle to explore entrepreneurship. It was divided into three parts: learning the jargon and theoretical concepts, attending entrepreneurial experiences and testimonials from lawyers and investors, and finally, a practical segment to implement our entrepreneurial ideas in a team of four PhD students.

What skills acquired during your academic experience are the most valuable for you today? What are the new skills you learnt in your current job?

The most valuable skills acquired during my academic experience are the innovative mindset, the technical expertise and the communication skills. Most of the skills learnt in my current job were in fact already gained through my academic experience (resilience and stress management among others). The new skills I had to learn were networking at professional events and sales.

Would you have wished to have a special training during your time in academia to be more ready for your career today?

Fortunately, I had the opportunity to take part in this entrepreneurship discovery program, which allowed me to venture into entrepreneurship after completing my thesis.

What aspect of your work are you most excited about at the moment?

The most exciting aspects as an entrepreneur lie in the diversity of skills required, including sales, communication, development strategy, financing, etc. It’s a profession that encompasses various roles, making it intellectually stimulating and challenging. I never get bored because no days are alike. I particularly enjoy pitching my project to explain what drives me.

What advice do you have for PhD student/academic staff who is thinking of leaving academia?

I would advise them to have the audacity to take the plunge. There are various opportunities tailored to different profiles and personalities. PhD students possess all the qualities to be successful entrepreneurs if they dare to step out of their comfort zone.


Interview conducted by Thaïs Couasnon (EAG Communications Committee)