20 Inspirational Quotes by African Women Entrepreneurs; Founding Women by Eunice Baguma Ball

 

Founding Women is a collection of interviews with 20 amazing African women building successful businesses in technology from 13 African countries by author Eunice Baguma Ball. She is the founder of the Africa Technology Business Network (ATBN), a social enterprise that works to support African start-ups & entrepreneurs to build innovative businesses that positively impact the continent.

I found this an inspiring read and feel motivated to do more! More with my career and more with my dreams. The stories shared by these women entrepreneurs were relate-able and empowering for me!

From not letting disability get in the way of dreams, dealing with travel for work and leaving kids at home and managing a business and staff as well as juggling a career, family expectations and relationships. It’s a small glimpse into the African woman’s potential when dealt with the right cards and given opportunity to thrive 🙂

All proceeds from the book will go towards their #HerFutureAfrica programme supporting young female entrepreneurs. Here are quotes from each of the 20 ladies that spoke to me and hope inspire you. I recommend reading the book for more in-depth details of their journeys as entrepreneurs!

1 Rebecca Enonchang (Cameroon) Founder AppsTech

“The key is to understand who you are and know your value. Then that societal pressure won’t affect you. Go about your business and your life without worrying constantly about what others think. It comes down to you and what’s inside you. Make sure you are good with yourself and things will fall into place.”

2 Tizzita Tefera (Ethiopia) Co-founder mTena

“I hope we can co-create a space for African women to play a major role in technology in Africa and around the world. I envision a future where African girls, from an early age can be part of the scene.”

3 Temie Giwa-Tubosun (Nigeria) founder Life Bank

“For a very longtime we had patriarchal systems that make women feel like they can’t be committed to their families as well as their careers. Especially in Nigeria and Africa in general, where there is the perception that women should handle the domestic duties while men handle all the bills. I actually don’t think that it’s fair on men either. I want my little boy to see the example his father and I are setting so he can marry someone who is his equal and have a less stressful life.”

4 Hilda Moraa (Kenya) Founder Pezesha

“I often walked into offices and could tell I was not what they were expecting. They were probably expecting an older, powerful looking man and seemed puzzled when I walked in. some of these meetings were to discuss big opportunities and the comments and looks would sometimes start to affect my confidence. Even though it wasn’t stated explicitly, I could see they questioned my ability to deliver because I was young and I was a woman…my approach for overcoming their doubts was to ask for smaller pilot opportunities so my team and I could prove our ability to execute before committing to larger projects.”

5 Farida Bedwee (Ghana) Co-founder Logical

“Nobody is perfect. We all have a part of us that doesn’t work well. Identify your disability and turn it into greatness. Take the risk. What do you have to lose? …If you fail, the world won’t end Just figure out what’s next and move on. We often miss out on opportunities when we are afraid of rejection.”

6 Rachel Sibande (Malawi) Founder mHub

“And you should know there’s a thin line between modesty and lack of confidence…when you are faced with people who keep trying to intimidate you, modesty doesn’t help. You need to step up and hold your head high. It’s not boasting to tell people, Yes, I can do this. Being more assertive is something that I have had to learn and practice over the years. To succeed in tech or in any other male-dominated field as a woman, you need more than the technical skills; you also need to be confident, speak up and make your presence felt.”

7 Lillian Makoi (Tanzania) Founder Jamii

“In 2015, a tragedy occurred that opened my eyes ti the fact that there was a real need for affordable health insurance in Tanzania. My house help lost her husband because they couldn’t afford to pay for the medical treatment he needed. This incident got me thinking about the scores of other low-income Tanzanians out there who were dying from curable diseases because they couldn’t afford healthcare. I carried out research and with my experience in telecoms I was able to visually design what later became the Jamii mobile-based health insurance solution.”

8 Evelyn Namara (Uganda) Founder Vouch Digital

“My first job after University was working as an IT support engineer and one day I got a call to solve a server issue at a client’s office. When I arrived, the client, a man took one look and immediately made a call to my boss. He asked if he was sure he had sent the right person and emphasized how sensitive this particular piece of equipment was. My boss had to convince him that I knew what I was doing and only then did he let me get on with my job. I sorted out the issue in about thirty minutes and had him test the server to prove it was working fine. I’ve never seen someone look so shocked! The whole situation made me feel sad for all the women who have to endure this type of disrespect.”

9 Odunoluwa Longe (Nigeria) co-founder DIYLaw.ng

“We need to put the necessary policies in place, but also start speaking more openly about these issues. We do not have to wait for a scandal to happen before we start having a conversation about sexual harassment. We need to build the right culture and picture which will encourage more women to join the Tech sector.”

10 Nneile Nkholise (South Africa) Founder iMed Tech

“Surround yourself with people who appreciate your dreams and can look beyond the hard times to the vision you are trying to achieve. In the end, mistakes are just a part of the learning process. Everything that happens makes you wiser and if I hadn’t made mistakes, I would not have learned as much as I did.”

11 Aline Saraiva Okelle (Mozambique) Co-founder Harvest Rain Water

“Given the problems that we have in Africa, innovation is our only way out. We can’t simply follow the scripts of the developed world to tackle the issues we face; we need to come up with our own solutions, suited to this context. African women are natural-born innovators. We just need to be confident, think big and embrace technology so we can solve problems on a larger scale.”

12 Lucia Bakulumpangi-Wamala (Uganda) Founder/CEO Bakulu Power

“I also tell myself that even if I had the regular 9 to 5 job, things wouldn’t be perfect and I’d still have to juggle so I might as well pursue what I consider to be my calling. I think this is the best lesson I can give to my daughter. I want her to always try. It’s even more powerful because she see me doing it every day.”

13 Grace Olugbodi (Nigeria) Founder BeGenio (Easy Maths Skills)

“I noticed I’m sometimes harder on my son than my daughter. I think subconsciously there is this thinking that many of us have that a girl will probably marry someone and will be okay, even if she isn’t successful. But for a man it’s much harder because he will have people depending on him. In the end we don’t bring up our girls to take on challenges. As parents let’s bring up our boys and girls to be equally tough mentally and prepare them to handle life’s challenges, whether at school, college or as entrepreneurs.”

14 Gaelle Matondo (Congo Brazzaville) Founder Birds of Africa

“Yes, the tech space is still very male dominated but women shouldn’t be intimidated by this. In fact, you can look at it as an opportunity because you stand out and you can use this to your advantage. If you show your passion and dedication to what you are doing, you will find people who are willing to help you. It’s not to say that there aren’t any challenges because there are, especially as a black woman. But you have to be bold”

15 Akunorbea Richill Tamakloe (Ghana) Founder, AfricanJober

“What I’m most proud of is knowing that I have the patience to learn and make things happen. I think that learning programming and building applications has really taught me to have discipline and patience. Through entrepreneurship, I have also learnt a lot in terms of carrying out research, budgeting and generally getting out of my comfort zone to communicate and network with people. These are all skills and values that I can apply not only in my business, but in my everyday life as well.”

16 Leillah Sekalala (Uganda) Founder, NoScrunchie

“In one of the startups where I worked, I was the only black person on the team. I’d sometimes have people asking me questions like ‘How come you know this?” “Where did you learn that?” And I would think to myself, ‘we do have schools in Africa you know?’’ but I would say that most of these questions were driven not by racism necessarily but lack of understanding and exposure. I think many people in the west are not aware of how much we as Africans are capable of achieving. Now when I get questions like these, I see it as an opportunity ti educate people. I think when you don’t let people ask questions or when you always put your guard up or immediately assume its racism, then you close the doors to conversation.”

17 Jumoke Dada (Nigeria) Founder Tech Women Network

“While I believe there is room for to have a voice on matters concerning women in tech, I think there is a need for more of a balance. From what I have observed, it seems that most technologists are comfortable behind-the-scenes, building servers, managing databases and writing code. Lately I’ve been more vocal about the need for a more balanced representation and increased visibility for women technologists to show future generations and today’s young women that they can and should pursue technical roles as well non-technical roles in tech.”

18 Haweya Mohammed (Somalia) Co-founder Afrobytes

“Tech is changing the narrative about Africa. I deal with media a lot and many of them are often surprised by some of the stories I send them. They can’t believe that these stories are coming out of Africa because they have been used to the stories about corruption and disease. I believe African tech entrepreneurs can be an inspiration to the rest of the world. Tech is also redefining the relationship between Africa and the world. Today we are seeing a shift in the approach towards Africa. Many European and global companies will send someone on the ground to understand the market and try to adapt their solutions.”

19 Desiree Joule-Adam (Zimbabwe) C0-founder iProtégé

“Entrepreneurship can be a very lonely journey. To be an entrepreneur, first of all, you must think differently from others. This is what enables you to identify opportunities and solve problems, but it also means that not everybody will get what you are trying to do or support your idea. This can be a big challenge especially because as women we try to seek validation from the world. Sometimes we wait for permission to pursue our dreams when we should be giving the world notice and going for it.”

20 Ivy Barley (Ghana) Co-founder, Developers in Vogue

“Do your market research and everything you have to do. If it doesn’t work out, you’ll learn from it and you can do better in your next venture. I really believe that the future of Africa is female. As women, we need to be confident take initiative and be the agents of the change we want to see in the world.in the long run it’s not about us, it’s about the next generation.”

I’d love to hear from you… Which quote resonates with you? Be sure to check out each of these ladies businesses 🙂

Have wonderful week,

Karen

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