The belief that the tech industry is dominated by males is getting tremendously challenged by the emergence of brained and assertive African women.
Currently holding various center-stages and smashing fences with many innovative solutions, the continent is seeing a new, unrelenting generation of women making marks for their communities and raking in substantial revenue.
The gender gap is gradually closing in Africa. While other countries such as Iceland, Sweden, Norway, and Finland lead the charge for gender equality, Rwanda is commanding the African flank, where men are reported to even be the ones being marginalized.
With the emergence of many female-focused establishments such as TheBoardroom Africa (TBA) – who raised USD 2 Mn in January – and other groups delivering STEM courses to young girls, females are increasingly having a voice in Africa’s tech space.
According to data from MasterCard’s Index of Women’s Entrepreneurship for 2018, there is a teeming market for women-led businesses in the continent. Ghana is said to be the best performer on the planet with 46.4 percent of its businesses being driven by women.
While Uganda comes third with 33.8 percent, even as the figure from the United Kingdom stands at 25 percent. From backyard founders to press-shy CEOs, here are the wonder women leading Africa women’s tech army.
This Cameronian is the brain behind the hand holding the reins at AppsTech, a global provider of enterprise application solutions with operations in more than 50 countries in the world. The Bethesda, Maryland-based tech firm which operates on three continents, was founded in 1999, and is an Oracle Platinum partner, offering an array of software products and services spanning implementation, training, and application management services for both big and small organizations.
Named by the New African Magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential Africans in Science, Tech, and Innovation and in Jeune Afrique‘s 50 Most Influential Africans, Enonchong has devoted her life to promoting technology in Africa.
Asides her current role at the West African tech-driven establishment, Enonchong is also an African Business Angel Network-named advisor to several African tech startups, and prominent of her maxims is that: “To be an entrepreneur, you must be raving mad.” The World Bank-recognized 52-year-old entrepreneur is also the founder of the Africa Technology Forum a non-profit organization committed to the promotion of innovation in the continent.
Apart from being listed by Forbes as one of the female tech founders to watch and by WeeTracker as a young wave-making entrepreneur, Rebecca also chairs ActivSpaces (African Center for Technology Innovation and Ventures) in Cameroon.
If you are familiar with job websites, pre-screening and CV writing in Nigeria, then you must know Odunayo Eweniyi, the co-founder of PushCV. The Nigerian is also the head of automated savings platform Piggybank, an initiative which enables Nigerian debit card holders to save little amounts of money frequently with minimal effort – a platform that has raised USD 1.2 Mn so far.
With more than five years of experience in business analysis and operations, a top degree in Computer Engineering from Covenant University in Nigeria and technology engagements under her belt, Odunayo was named in the World Women in Fintech Power List for 2017 and is a member of the Westerwelle Young Entrepreneurs 2018 fellowship.
Piggybank and PushCV have a relationship, as the former was launched in April 2016 in response to clamourings from the users of the latter. Through mostly word-of-mouth marketing, Piggybank has grown to become a free platform for millennials who wish to beef up their savings to meet specific targets.
The platform enables users to save as little as USD 1.00 a day and restrict withdrawals until the ideal date set by the customer. Save the USD 58 K savings it accrued in eight months; the company has moved from savings to investments, promising more than 13 percent ROI to users. According to the website, “PiggyVest helps you stop excessive spending by allowing you save and invest money you would normally be tempted to spend.”
This one goes out to the edtech lovers and aspirants. Barbara Mallinson is the co-founder of Obami; a South African social e-learning platform tailored to be used by African, European and American schools and organizations.
Since its founding in 2017, the web and mobile-accessible platform uses technology to link up teachers, learners, NGOs, and governments, enabling them to share essential educational resources and providing them with well-developed assessment modules to improve the participation of learners as well as their performance.
Barbara is a graduate of the University of Cape Town, where she obtained a BSc in Marketing and Economics. She is also currently the only African sitting on the advisory board for Mobile World Capital, a global scheme propelled by the city of Barcelona and GSMA.
In 2011, Obami was recognized as one of the 10 Most Innovative Technology companies in the World by Net Explorateur, UNESCO, and Deloitte. In 2012 alone, Mallinson was one of Africa’s Marissa Meyers (CNN), won the top Female Entrepreneur in Africa award from IT News Africa, and was called among the 20 Best Startups in Africa by Forbes.
On the East African side of the female tech revolution exists a Kenyan founder known as June Syowia. She established her marketing firm, Beiless Group, which offers services ranging from online media campaigns, strategic online communication, digital advertising, social media management to content creation.
During her academic stint at the University of Nairobi, June was part of a training class, where she chanced upon an interest in digital marketing.
In what seemed like a eureka moment for the young businesswoman, she bought a laptop and pitched her friends on marketing services, a move which ultimately culminated in the founding of Beiliss Group in 2015. The Forbes-listed entrepreneur also runs a database where people from the construction industry can advertise their labor services.
The 23-year-old Kenyan made the Forbes Africa 30 Under 30 list for 2018, a recognition which came hot on the heels of Syowia being awarded the Global Student Entrepreneur Award in Kenya, which preceded her naming among the 100 Brightest Young Minds in Africa for 2017.
A year prior, she was listed among the 100 Most Influential Young Kenyans, and she repeated the achievement in 2018. According to June, what keeps her going – “My biggest passion is growing. I work with a team of creative thinkers. We are five of us in the company and always very enterprising. We call ourselves teammates, and set up high targets for ourselves.”
HeHe Limited is a Kigali-based mobile technologies company that exists because of the efforts of Clarisse Iribagiza, a 31-year-old Rwandan businesswoman. The Rwandan company tasks itself with developing ways for businesses to reach their customers and audiences in a timely and affordable manner.
Among other engagements, HeHe also builds custom mobile app for virtually all kinds of businesses, offers round-the-clock online and offline support as well as cloud-based storage services.
Clarisse founded the tech-driven firm in 2010, shortly after she took home a USD 500 K grant from Inspire Africa – a TV entrepreneur contest for Rwandans. In its client’s portfolio, Iribagiza’s company has South African telco titan MTN, the Praekelt Foundation, and Rwandan government agencies.
In 2011, Clarisse joined forces with other young tech entrepreneurs to launch The iHills, the tech startup network of Rwanda. The establishment saddles itself with the responsibility of mentoring and providing Rwandan tech startups with easy access to finance and ready markets.
Within five years of entering the tech scene, she has become a torchbearer and poster child for women-led enterprises in Rwanda, and is easily the face of female entrepreneurship in the East African country, getting multiple of recognition and inspiring many people within and outside her country.
What is the essence of an African women-focused and female-praising publication without recognizing someone from Ghana, the country with the highest number of women-led companies on the continent and in the world perhaps?
Well, back to West Africa, where Amuzu, a graduate of Ghana’s Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) is increasing the volume of gender equality on the part of business. Anne co-founded Nandimobile, a firm that develops software that enables other ventures to deliver customers support and information services via SMS.
In 2013, two innovations were voted as World Summit Award Winners, and the infoline service of Nandimobile was one of them. The firm which has more than 20 corporate clients also receives relentless praise from clients, and one of such clients is the Odadee 2001 Group.
According to a statement from the company, “Whether our members’ handsets or mobile networks operators support internet connections or not, with the Infoline platform we are still able to get across vital information, such as date, time and location of meetings, events and other emergencies to our members. Nandimobile’s Infoline Platform has indeed been of immense benefit to the Odadee group.”