Though I always knew I wanted to start a project to get more African girls and women to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), I was not clear on how to go about everything. On the first day of Her Future Africa Innovation Boot Camp in Accra, things begun to look clearer to me. Not only was I able to articulate my problem statement and vision, I was able to come up with innovative ideas regarding my solution to the problem of under representation of African women in STEM fields.
The facilitators took us through human centered design, lean startup, communicating ideas with impact, collecting feedback and many others. Till date, Her Future Africa has been one of the most interactive entrepreneurship training I have ever participated in. The sessions were always lively and hands-on. My colleague entrepreneurs were always very helpful; giving valuable feedback and insight. The mentorship sessions with industry experts were also awesome. I am still in touch with some of the mentors; who have been of great help to me.
After the boot camp, we were given a number of assignments to submit by 24th February. Though I was still in school by then, I did my best to complete all assignments and submit on time. My phenomenal mentor, Huw Thomas from UK had sessions with me every week to give feedback on my assignments. Though the competition is over, I still have weekly sessions with Huw to catch up with my work regarding my social enterprise.
On International Women’s Day, I pitched Developers In Vogue <div/> to the panel of judges and audience. I was very excited when it was announced that I was the first runner up for the pitch event. Aside cash, the prizes included business support and mentorship, corporate branding, book keeping services, co-working space, social media marketing amongst others. I found myself participating in the Ghana Youth Social Entrepreneurship Competition on 19th March and came out as the overall winner with a cash prize of $1,000 to test the idea and a trip to Rwanda. On 25th March, I participated in the #eSkills4Girls competition organized by the German Federal Ministry For Economic Cooperation and Development, Google and Impact Hub where I was selected to represent Ghana at the prestigious Women20 Summit in Germany.
[Update May 2017: Ivy went on to be selected as the global winner of the #eSkills4Girls competion out of 8 startups from 4 countries. She won the overall prize of 15,000 EUR and mentorship from Google]
It is particularly very exciting what I have been able to achieve in just about a month. Aside the fact that I met my amazing co-founder, Maxwell at Her Future Africa Boot Camp, I have been able to expand my professional networks. I now have close relations with the CEO of iSpace, who was one of the partners for Her Future Africa. On a daily basis, I keep meeting people who are very excited about Developers In Vogue and want to support various ways.
We are currently planning a coding boot camp this summer to teach young African women how to build web applications. We would also be assigning dedicated mentors to support them in their further education and career choices. After training the ladies, our aim is to get them real-time projects and jobs they can work on to apply their skills and earn an income.
[Update June 2017: Ivy has now successfully launched her programme that is now teaching 20 young women to code and connecting them to career opportunities in tech]
Now when I wake up, it dawns on me much more than ever that every action I take will have an impact on the life of an African girl somewhere. I am very happy to be part of the generation of visionary Africans who will revolutionize our continent in a big way! Yes, we are females from Africa and yes, we love to take selfies. However, this is the best time to prove to the world that aside our great selfies, we know how to make world-class apps too!
Help develop the next generation of young female tech leaders & change-makers in Africa:
Support our crowdfunding campaign which is raising funds to provide training and mentorship to more high potential young women like Ivy. As a thank you, you will receive a copy of our booking Founding Women, which is challenging the stereotypes around tech entrepreneurship by sharing the inspiring stories of leading African female founders in tech.
Pledge today: igg.me/at/foundingwomen
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