Take it or leave it, technology is here to stay – forever and ever. As the world changes, humans evolve and technology advances, there’s always a need to be innovative and explore the many opportunities technology offers us.
Technology in Nigeria today has gone beyond torchlight phones and coloured televisions, we can (almost) explore the world through our mobile devices. Thus, it is important for everyone to not only be abreast of new technological innovations, but to be able to harness the immeasurable potential of technology.
Contrary to many people’s belief, the tech space is not for men only. There are women who have gone beyond using technology for themselves alone to empowering more people in the tech space – and women (and people) in general – and changing the face of technology one step at a time.
Juliet Ehimuan is the Director, Google West Africa. Often called Nigeria’s ‘Queen of Technology’, she is passionate about bringing affordable internet access to Nigeria and also increasing the participation of women in technology. She previously worked with Microsoft in the UK and also Shell Petroleum Development Corporation. Juliet is the founder of Beyond Limits Africa, an initiative to develop leaders and drive innovation in organisations.
For Juliet, knowing your strengths and knowing how you operate is very important. She says: “…some people are night people, when everybody has gone to sleep and its all quiet, that’s when you do your best work, right? So it’s important to understand your patterns in that way. In your day to day life as well, make sure that you’re able to leverage opportunities to be productive.”
Damilola is the managing partner of Sprout Consulting and the founder of CodeIT – a platform that mentors the next generation of coders, including young women. Damilola strongly believes in encouraging and empowering young girls to study in science and technology areas. She was honored by the American embassy in Nigeria in 2017 for her contribution to technological education in Nigeria.
Focused on driving effective Educational and social impact-driven Solutions as well as work to improve the structure and efficiency of IT systems in education-focused organizations.
Nkem Okocha is the boss! A former banker, Nkem is the founder of Mama moni, a social enterprise and Fintech startup that empowers women with microloans and free financial and vocational skills training.
Through her Mama moni platform, Nkem is changing the narrative of Nigerian women who struggle to secure investment, loan, or do not have any vocational training.
Nkem is very passionate about lifting women out of poverty and her company aims to break the cycle of poverty in Nigeria. The startup has been able to impact the lives of more than five thousand low-income women in rural communities across Lagos. Nkem is an alumnus of the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme and the Young African Leaders Initiative, as well as a LEAP Africa 2016 Social Innovator.
Ire Aderinokun is a self-taught Frontend Developer and User Interface Designer from Lagos, Nigeria. She is currently the co-founder, COO, and VP Engineering of BuyCoins (YC S2018), a cryptocurrency exchange for Africa, and previously worked with eyeo, the company behind products like Adblock Plus and Flattr Plus, building open-source software to make a better internet.
Ire is giving back to the society through her blog; she has a mailing list of almost 3,000 subscribers on her blog and has written over 100 articles on topics related to tech. She also shares her knowledge by speaking at conferences around Africa and the world.
She organizes Frontstack, a conference for front-end engineering in Nigeria and started a small scholarship program to sponsor Nigerian women to take a Udacity Nanodegree in a technology-related field of their choice. One of her many dreams is to “build up the technical knowledge of women in technology”.
Funke Opeke is the Founder and CEO of MainOne.
After 20 years of working in U.S. telecoms, Funke Opeke returned to Nigeria to ‘correct the country’s connectivity problems’. The former Verizon executive joined public telecoms company NITEL and learned satellites were just part of the problem. So in 2008, she turned her engineer’s eye towards the ocean, raised $240 million in funding and laid 4,400 miles of fibre optic cable from Nigeria to Portugal. The big business quickly followed; online banking, booking services, and retail websites helped build what is now Africa’s biggest economy. Nigeria’s internet presence, once associated mostly with scams, is now a growing space for international business opportunities. It’s a change for which Opeke is often credited.
She obtained a first degree in Electrical Engineering from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife Nigeria and a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Columbia University, New York.
We are so proud of these women and every other Nigerian woman doing amazingly well in their various fields. So do you know other women doing amazingly well in tech? Go ahead and share their names.