The tech industry in Nigeria is rising at a head-snapping speed, with a loch of talent that includes some of the country's brightest avant-gardists, movers, and shakers. However, despite being one of the most intriguing and progressive fields, it is still far behind when it comes to the inclusion of women. Although women make up a remarkable portion of the tech-consumer market, it is an open secret that women are outsiders when it comes to tech entrepreneurship. A basic argument to explain this disconnect in the professional spectrum, is that women are not interested in technology.
This is not the necessarily the truth. Studies suggest that a number of women do opt for tech degrees, but many drop out before completion due to a sense of isolation and antipathy from their surroundings. As some start-ups insist that most companies really aren't trying to purposefully discriminate against female applicants, there are plenty of women who are not just doing a standout jobs, but are working hard to change the status quo within the tech community. www.jovago.com, Africa's no. 1 online hotel booking portal, has rounded up a 3 tips to guide these women who are ready to defy the statistics and the odds, and follow their dreams of launching tech companies of their own.
Embrace being a 'minority'
Women have been minority in a lot of things in the past, and have outgrown the 'minority' status overtime. It will be same with the tech industry. While this might not be immediate and women might remain a minority in tech entrepreneurship circles for at least for the next decade, there is a need to look beyond it. Do not be discouraged by the jarring difference in number between the female and male workforce in the tech industry. Over-analyzing the minority status only acts as a distraction from the real task at hand: building a cutting-edge product or service. Being a woman is not a disadvantage - the sooner you embrace that, the sooner investors will see that as well.
Build your network
The best thing you can do as a female entrepreneur at any stage of your start-up is to make as much relevant contact as you can. Lack of socializing does not just fly in the start-up world. Nigerian women tend to shy away from stepping out to others, whether to clarify an idea, get feedback, improve the business model, scope out potential hires, or get new customers. Understand that networking has virtually no downside. Don't be afraid to initiate communication. It is not a dating game, it is business. Build relationships and nurture them. If you have a bit of difficulty socializing, utilize mentors and support networks. Mentors and support networks offer best help with many obstacles, as they can help provide outside ideas, advice and guidance on overcoming challenges, as well as help build confidence as you move forward. Ensure you build the right connections and make an effort to nurture them as best you can.
Stay on the hustle
You need to stay optimistic and confident. Find smarter, novel, unconventional ways to solve problems. Learn from mistakes and move on. Also, be strategic about how you spend your time. Try to engage in activities that truly add value to the business. Don't be afraid of hard work, especially when you are first starting out. If you are a team, the more valuable you are, the more responsibility you will be asked to take on. Keep at it and give your best at all times.
Tech entrepreneurship is anything but easy and being a woman makes it even more challenging, especially here in Nigeria. One of the most important things to remember as a woman entrepreneur in tech is that opportunity as in the sky, is the limit for the talented woman who has a great idea and a solid business plan to back it.