As we wind down our International Women's Month celebration, we highlight the achievements of women in the African tech industry. Despite facing funding gaps and unconscious biases, six African women who have carved a path for themselves in the tech space and are driving digital transformation were guests on our Twitter Space and shared their inspiring stories that highlighted the importance of resilience, persistence, and audacity in achieving success. Let's dive into the key takeaways from the Twitter Space.
On the importance of being confident.
“Now that I’ve been a founder in the startup space for so long, I’ve noticed that senior developers who I thought knew everything actually don’t. They’re good, don’t get me wrong, but their confidence makes them stand out. As a young woman trying to build a startup, sometimes you’d feel like you’re not good enough, causing you to let other people take opportunities you want just because they exude more confidence. Knowing that it’s the confidence that makes people stand out and go fearlessly for prospects is something I think young women should know. In a nutshell, have confidence in your skills and remember you have what it takes to compete with the men.”
Pauline Kariuki, Co-founder & CTO, Mawu Africa
On the importance of tech communities to women looking to join tech.
“Being part of tech communities played a big part in how I got into tech. In university, some communities helped me learn what was possible in the tech field. Even now, in my career leading a team at Kora. Communities are important because they help connect you to people going in the same direction as you, which is great because it keeps you motivated. SheCodesAfrica is a community I know that focuses on getting women into tech. They have learning programs where you can take part in various career paths. I’m also aware of FoorLoop, the community I was connected to back in university. I’m not sure if they’re still active, though. For product management, there is Lenny’s Newsletter and the Reforge community.”
Sandra Israel-Ovirih, Head of Product at Kora.
Ngozi Chukwu on her most memorable achievement and the importance of female friendships
“That would be writing the story about the period leave that a Nigerian tech company named Klasha instituted last year. That was memorable for me because of the way I got the exclusive and what the story means for women across Nigeria and Africa. It helped me learn the importance of meeting new people. Also, having someone approach me with such a sensitive story and say that she wants me to write it made me feel really good because it finally made me feel like a real reporter. I also felt good seeing the reactions the story got and the discussions it started online, which gave me an insight into how Africans view women in the workplace.”
Ngozi Chukwu, Journalist at TechCabal
A piece of advice for female entrepreneurs raising money.
“My first advice is not to fundraise when you need money. As a woman, it’s already hard enough to come with a high valuation. Fundraising when you need money puts you in a weaker position when negotiating your valuation. Another reason not to do this is that investors take a lot of time before disbursing money. For example, investors we talked to in June 2022 approved in November of the same year and are now disbursing in February 2023. It’s smarter to plan seed rounds ten months in advance. The second piece of advice is to spend time building informal relationships like drinks and hangouts with investors instead of just formal ones. Pitch decks and all the other stuff are important, but building a rapport with investors before all that is how trust is built.”
Melanie Keita, CEO & Co-founder of Melanin Kapital
If you want to listen to the entire thing, click here to head to our Twitter page, where the recording is still up.
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