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Mary Olushoga: 5 Women-Owned Tech Spaces that VP Osinbajo Could Have Visited During #VPTourOfTech

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Why are women innovators largely ignored in Nigeria’s male-dominated technology spaces? Why didn’t Vice President Osinbajo visit any women-owned spaces during the highly popular and attention-grabbing #VPTourofTech? On Tuesday, April 17, 2018 – Laolu Akande posted to twitter that Vice President Osinbajo was in Lagos to visit technology companies. This, I imagine is in preparation for the APC Party’s 2019 presidential campaign run and a one of a kind political strategy to engage young people.

Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant, Media & Publicity to the Vice President highlighted on twitter the companies Osinbajo visited and they are listed as follows: Paystack, Andela, Flutterwave, Carido, FarmCrowdy, Africa Fintech Foundry, Workstation, Muster Ng, CC Hub amongst others. However, most of these platforms were founded by men or by banks. But where are the women entrepreneurs and innovators? I immediately post my concerns to Twitter and a young man responded, “tech businesses [owned] by women in the Lagos tech ecosystem? I laugh, list them abeg because they don’t exist.”

In 2013, I wrote the article “Are African Female Techpreneurs Lagging Behind?,” there I share strategies for what can be done to increase the participation of Africa’s female techpreneurs. It is important to note that this number is growing as many women entrepreneurs have raised funds from Venture Capitalists and Angels Investors, and a small but increasing number accepted into the competitive Y-Combinator program in Silicon Valley. However, more needs to be done. Despite this growing number, it appears that women in the tech space might not be taken seriously and their hard work and efforts blatantly ignored. Could Vice President Osinbajo and his team have chosen differently and made the decision to visit women-owned spaces or like the young man who responded to my tweets, not be aware that women-owned spaces exist?

Here are five (5) women-owned companies in Lagos that Vice President Osinbajo could have also visited:

Abisoye Ajayi-Akinfolarin: is founder of Pearls Africa- Girls Coding, an organization focused on the advancement of women and girls in underserved communities through training in technology and skills acquisition.

Saudat Salami: is owner of EasyShop EasyCook Services, a tech-enabled company that supplies fresh food products to homes, restaurants, and corporate organizations.

Honey Ogundeyi: is a tech entrepreneur and founder of Fashpa.com, an e-commerce retail platform and one of Nigeria’s leading fashion brands.

Chioma Ukonu: is founder of Recycle Points, a social benefit corporation that motivates citizens to recycle by creating value from every waste. She was also runner-up at the Chivas Venture Competition.

Maureen Iyasele: is founder of Jobmag.com, a specialist firm located in Yaba and supports the professional growth and development of young people in Nigeria.

Amongst others but I will stop there. I understand that Vice President Osinbajo cannot visit every entrepreneur but these are some examples of women-owned spaces and these spaces matter to Lagos, to Nigeria, and to the world. Visibility matters, empowering women entrepreneurs matter, and they contribute significantly to Nigeria’s economic development, progress, and growth.

Understandably, Nigeria has a long way to go when it comes to women’s rights and affairs. To date, the Nigerian Senate has refused to pass and has repeatedly voted against the gender and equal opportunities bill. Protecting women and girls through equal laws and policies would help Nigeria immensely towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 5. This will also help Nigeria’s economic development, progress, transformation and growth.

Dear Vice President Osinbajo, the next time you are in Lagos, do not ignore women-owned spaces.

Mary Olushoga is founder of awpnetwork.com, a platform powering small business success for African entrepreneurs. Olushoga holds a bachelor's degree from Union College in Schenectady, New York, a Master of Science Degree from Baruch College and has served as a public policy fellow at the University at Albany, Center for Women in Government and Civil Society. A mix between a PR consultancy and small business development service, The AWP Network shares the startup stories of African entrepreneurs, organizes events, webinars and clinics, and creates opportunities to connect with business experts in the marketing, tech and HR fields. The AWP Network also offers agribusiness training for women farmers through a strategic partnership with the Planet Earth Institute and launched the DREAM Initiative, a program created to help secondary school students in Lagos to develop business plans. Both programs support the economic development and sustainability of African women and girls. Olushoga is the 2017 winner of the African Women Innovation & Entrepreneurship Forum Empowerment award, the African Youth Excellence Award for her leadership in business and public service, a Vital Voices Global Leadership Fellow, the Union College Alumni Award for her service and dedication to her alma matter, an IndiAfrica Young Visionary Fellow, a Women4Africa International Media Woman of the Year, a Crans Montana 'New Leader', the first-ever GOOD Maker/Oxfam America International Women's Day Challenge Winner, a Nigeria Leadership Initiative (NLI) Associate, an Oxfam America Sisters on the Planet Ambassador and participated in the Sub-Saharan African Women In Public Service Fall Institute. Olushoga has featured on BBC World News, Black Enterprise, iwantherjob.com, sheinspiresher.com, YNaija, omojuwa.com, Sahara Reporters.com, AFK Insider, Applause Africa, BusinessDay Nigeria, The Guardian Nigeria, The Nation Nigeria, ARISE TV, BET Networks, and presented her work on women entrepreneurs at the UK House of Lords, Duke University, Yale University, Union College, the Columbia University Africa Economic Forum, the United States Department of Labor Strategy Meeting on Inclusion, Entrepreneurship, and Disability, W!se Institute, the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, the United Nations ECOSOC Youth Employment Forum, and the Rockefeller Foundation Tech Salon. In addition to this, Olushoga writes for GE Ideas Lab, SciDev.net, The Guardian Nigeria and the Huffington Post. The AWP Network is proudly recognized as one of the leading organizations supporting African Women in Technology.

9 Comments

  1. Jade

    April 20, 2018 at 7:22 am

    Thank you for writing this. When I saw all the pictures, I too wondered if there were no women owned tech businesses in Lagos anyone on the team deemed worthy to be included on the tour.

  2. John

    April 20, 2018 at 8:59 am

    Stop grasping at straws…even you as vice president you wont visit there …..you even ended with Amongst others but I will stop there….lol..we are talking abkut serious yech companies and you talking about 2 by 2 shop..you should have mentons beauty daloons while you are it.

    example
    .if a woman is the ow erbof serious companies like

    goto googke right now and just tupe 20 tech companies in Nigeria ..and see who owns them..

    the truthbis that yiu women dont like telling yourself the truth .. you all like yo piited and dash something. ..and believes in quota system..the same quaota system that the nkrth is usinh in stagnating Nigeria

  3. John

    April 20, 2018 at 8:59 am

    Stop grasping at straws…even you as vice president you wont visit there …..you even ended with Amongst others but I will stop there….lol..we are talking abkut serious yech companies and you talking about 2 by 2 shop..you should have mentons beauty daloons while you are it.

    example
    .if a woman is the ow erbof serious companies like

    goto googke right now and just tupe 20 tech companies in Nigeria ..and see who owns them..

    the truthbis that yiu women dont like telling yourself the truth .. you all like yo piited and dash something. ..and believes in quota system..the same quaota system that the nkrth is usinh in stagnating Nigeria

    • Tobi.

      April 25, 2018 at 3:15 pm

      I’d take you seriously if you could spell and construct a sentence properly. Your comment was sad to read man. You should go back to studying Queen’s Premier and Brighter Grammar. Better still, start by using the internet to learn; lot’s of MOOC available.

      MOOC means Massive Open Online Courses. You’re welcome.

  4. John

    April 20, 2018 at 9:14 am

    Stop grasping at straws…even you as vice president you wont visit there …..

    you even ended with Amongst others but I will stop there….lol, there is no amongst others , you even find it hard naming the so called things and I bet it look a lot of energy from you

    ..we are talking about serious tech companies that generates or have the potential to generates money and go far and you are talking about 2 by 2 shops..

    you should have mentioned names of beauty saloons and restaurants in lagos while you are it.

    example
    if women are the owners of serious companies like
    remit or interswitch or jobberman even hotelng.. (I dont evn want to mention Zinox bcos that will be too much)..do you think any sane person won’t lke to visit there.

    Go to Google right now and just type 30 tech companies in Nigeria ..and see who owns them..

    The truth is that you women don’t like telling yourself the truth .. you all like to be pitted and dash something. ..and believes in quota system..the same quota system that the North is using in stagnating Nigeria.
    Instead of you to look back and ask yourself why women is lacking in the tech business and looking for ways to create awareness for women to start early and show intrest…you are here blaming the vice president for not visiting wannebe online beauty and hair saloons and food joints. …I will rather visit computer village and alaba market in a very hot day than those 5 things you mentioned( I wonder if they even exist ).

  5. isaid!!

    April 20, 2018 at 1:06 pm

    p
    please nobody should respond to his posts anymore

    • Nat

      April 20, 2018 at 6:32 pm

      He has a point though. However, most of these platforms were founded by men or by banks

  6. molarah

    April 21, 2018 at 4:24 am

    Methinks this article could have read better if it was titled, and postured as, “5 Women owned tech spaces the VP could visit on his next tech tour of Lagos”. Not every time marginalized/victim card. And sounds more respectful and appealing to the intended recipient.

    • madman

      July 27, 2018 at 12:22 pm

      patriarchy princess molarah, Hope you receive an award for your efforts.

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