The tech space in Nigeria is growing daily. One cannot overemphasise the roles of women in tech. There is more to technology companies than coding and building software. As much as there are women involved in the intricacies of technology innovation and coding, there are also diverse roles needed in the tech space. Technology companies need people with a wide variety of skills to succeed as a company.
The Women in Tech event
Paystack, a platform that helps businesses get paid, in collaboration with TechCabal, a tech-focused publication, put together this panel discussion. The event, which took place at the Paystack office in Ikeja GRA, had four leading women in tech on the panel. In attendance were leading women in the Lagos tech space learning, sharing and networking.
The event took place on Thursday, 21st March at 4 pm. Product Partnership Lead at Paystack, Khadija Abu; Media Manager at Paystack, Mohini Ufeli; Cofounder and COO at Piggyvest (formerly Piggybank), Odunayo Eweniyi; and Head of Startups at LSETF (Lagos State Employment Trust Fund), Tosin Faniro-Dada made up the panel.
These women had one thing in common: they were not computer gurus or coding experts at the time they were going to embark on their careers in the tech space. They had vast experience in other fields and were very educated in the roles that they took. But being in the tech space was a different territory for them.
Tosin Faniro-Dada explained that she started out at the bank. Odunayo Eweniyi, who currently runs a Fintech company, said there were times she felt like she had no idea what she was doing. Mohini Ufeli, who studied Communication, has now carved a niche as a media person in tech. And Khadija Abu spent ten years at Interswitch before taking a detour into tech as a product and partnership team lead.
These women shared the struggles they had, the issues they have had to face and in turn motivated other women who were looking to explore the tech space. Faniro-Dada, head of startups at LSETF, started the Lagos Innovate Initiative. It empowers startups and helps them get funding for office spaces and the likes. She explained that the shift in careers was born out of a desire to change lives. “Nothing is rocket science. You always have a manual. Make sure you are following the manual,” she said.
Succeeding in Tech
Eweniyi explained how she had failed at a few business ideas and everything she learned had helped in the success Piggyvest. She said “Today, I am running a Fintech company with zero backgrounds in finance. There will be days you will doubt yourself. There is no solution to getting rid of fear. You can only turn it to motivation,” she added.
Abu emphasised that one needs to have a strong support system, a cohort of sisters you can fall back on when things go south. She explains that she gets motivated by the successes and journeys of others. She added, “I love listening to stories that people tell about the work that they are doing, and it reinforces in me that nobody has it figured out. I draw inspiration from everybody’s experience,” she said. She recommended some books that had helped her. They are The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz, Zero to One by Blake Masters and Peter Thiel, and Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore.
Ufeli, on the other hand, wanted to help people tell stories, and her journey so far has been born out of this.