Investing in Women: Focus on Africa

This guest post was written by Women Effect beta community member Almaz Negash of the Africa Diaspora Network. In June 2016, the Africa Diaspora Network co-hosted an event about women entrepreneurs, technology and Africa in the run-up to GES2016 at Stanford University.

'Women in Technology: Focus on Africa' highlighted key resources and platforms that empower women in technology worldwide and showcased the successes of African women to encourage cross pollination with the Silicon Valley Women-in- Tech Community. The event also served as precursor to the GES+ Youth and Women Summit that pairs leading industry experts and investors with the most dynamic global women and youth entrepreneurs whose businesses have the potential to catalyze change.

The opening welcome by Tarisai of African Technology Foundation, myself, and Maya Horgan Famodu of Ingressive set the stage for the night, noting the impressive amount contributed to the continent through investors and entrepreneurs – $30 billion – that’s 3X the amount of development aid that Africa receives each year. Connie Tzioumis, Director of the Secretary’s Office of Global Partnerships, US Department of State, also spoke of the importance of entrepreneurship to promote peace and prosperity for all.

Notable speakers at the event include two entrepreneurship spotlights:

  • Kelechi, Found and CEO of Zuvaa, created an online boutique for African-inspired fashion. Kelechi is a member of the Nigerian diaspora and grew up loving fashion and designs from the Continent, but realized these weren’t accessible to Western markets. She started a business to change that. “Zuvaa” means sunshine and represents, pride, community, and inner beauty. Kelechi has been featured in Forbes and The New York Times and is a Lions@frica entrepreneur. She is interested in women supporting women and supporting African designers.
  • Nosarieme Garrick is the Director of My Africa Is and the Nigerian edition of the documentary. Nosa moved to DC from Nigeria when she was 14 and realized people’s perceptions of the Continent did not reflect her memories. Ten years later, she moved back to work on the elections. My Africa Is updated the African narrative and has been picked up by PBS.

We thank the more than 200 attendees who came for an energizing evening of learning, sharing, and relationship-building, a testament to how women leaders and women in technology are thriving and are changing our communities.

Women in Technology: Focus on Africa will be one of the major themes of the upcoming African Diaspora Investment Symposium 2017 (ADIS2017). We look forward to having you at ADIS2017, held in Silicon Valley from January 27-28, 2017. Stay tuned for more details!