You know those crowd-funding doodahs that sometimes crop up on your Twitter feed or Facebook timeline from time to time? Well in amongst the cyber pleas to chip in for new restaurants for already successful chefs, or to facilitate budding grime artists’ music videos, I noticed something on Indiegogo for FoundingWomen – a project spotlighting African female tech role models to inspire the future generation.
“Young African women do not often get to see themselves represented in the tech space. It’s difficult to aspire to what you cannot see”
It jumped out at me because I am in awe of women in tech. Schoolgirls who can code, STEM students, learners and returners of all ages. Tech goes waaaay over my head, so I have so much respect for anyone who blazes a trail for women and girls. And this meant I could offer my support, for what it was worth, directly to the project.
Founding Women is a book spotlighting African Female founders who are building technology businesses across Africa and the Diaspora. The women on the project’s website showed women from South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, and beyond.
While the Indiegogo campaign fell short of its target, the project was still able to create the e-book, an initial batch of hard copies, and even garnered the attention of the BBC World Service who featured their work on Access Africa available on the iPlayer.
The non-profit social enterprise behind the campaign – the Africa Technology Business Network – has loads of fab information on their website about their mentoring schemes, their #HerFutureAfrica project, and how they empower women to grow their tech businesses which then has a positive knock-on effect it has on their communities.
One of my favourite stories was about Ivy, 26, who accessed the programme and went on to pitch her business idea in front of Angela Merkel, secure over £10k funding to set up Developers In Vogue, and go on to train 20 young women in Ghana to code. How inspiring is that?
So if you or your employer can offer support or mentorship then be sure to check out their work. It puts my ‘try switching it off and switching back on again’ approach to everything tech-related to absolute shame.