As with most things in life these days the first “person” I asked was Google. This is what came up:
Pages after pages of mostly white men. If we’re honest, for many of us, myself included – the image that would come to mind in response to this question would probably look similar to the results of my google search. And this is a problem. The fact that only 2.19% of global venture capital goes to women-led start-ups, and only 0.1% of that goes to start-ups led by black female founders, show how dire the situation in the global tech space is. Even Eyedea’s speakers, arguably a collection of the most accomplished women in the world still face challenges and many have spoken about those candidly during our evening dinners and have highlighted the importance of having role models.
The scandals at Uber, where CEO Travis Kalanick stepped down amid allegations of sexual harassment in his workforce where just the latest scandal in a series of high profile cases. Google released its fourth annual diversity report in the US in June 2017 and the results show that the tech giant is still largely employing white males. About a third of the staff is Asian, just two percent are African American and 31 percent are women.
We live in a world today where technology is an integral part of our daily lives and is disrupting how even the most basic services such as education and healthcare are delivered. Technology is providing a tool to solve everyday challenges. And the myriad of challenges that technology is being used to solve is as diverse as the people whose needs these solutions aim to address. You cannot solve a problem you do not understand.
If technology is to truly fulfil it’s potential as a catalyst, then women must be included at the forefront of developing the solutions. We therefore urgently need more diversity in tech and that can only come through a healthy pipeline. In the past years female enrolment into science classes at university has hardly changed and remains below 15%.
Eunice Baguma-Ball has set out to do something about this. As a tech founder herself, she has experienced many of the institutional barriers that female entrepreneurs face around the world. She previously founded a tech start-up in Uganda and now runs the Africa Technology Business Network, a London-based social enterprise working to develop the tech ecosystem in Africa by providing a link to investment, skills and opportunities in the UK. Her latest project is the Founding Women project, a book that interviews female trailblazers such as Hilda Moraa – Founder & CEO of Pezesha, who previously founded Weza Tele, the first African tech start-up to successfully exit when it was acquired by Jumo.World in 2015.
She got the idea when she launched #HerFutureAfrica earlier this year. #HerFutureAfrica is an entrepreneurship skills accelerator for African female entrepreneurs in Accra, Ghana. She describes the moment like this: “Towards the end, as I stood in front of the group of passionate and driven young women with brilliant ideas, I remember thinking that if they could only take one thing away from the programme, I hoped it would be the confidence to achieve the success they aspire to. The knowledge that they have what it takes to build world class technology businesses. This led me to think about the importance of role models – seeing people like me achieve things I myself aspired to has spurred me on many times on my entrepreneurship journey. It’s difficult to aspire to what you cannot see.”
Eunice is interviewing inspirational founders such as Rebecca Enonchong, CEO of AppsTech (Forbes 10 Female Tech Founders To Watch In Africa) as well as other established and upcoming founders working in energy, health, software and fintech.
She is inviting all Eyedea members to join her mission to equip and inspire the next generation of innovators. You can get in touch a number of ways:
- Attend our crowdfund launch event in London on Wednesday 26th July
- Sign up to support our crowdfund when it goes live.
- Share this and help us spread the word!