• Success Looks Like You

Success Looks Like You launches G.I.R.L in Tech Mentoring scheme at Google Academy

Updated: Aug 13, 2018

Last week we launched our much-anticipated GIRL in Tech initiative, to get more black and brown girls inspired about working in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) roles.

Almost 50 girls showed up at Google’s Digital Academy, ready to be mentored by our incredible panel of boss babes. From girls who had just completed their GCSE’s – some fresh from graduation ceremonies – to young career starters. The room was buzzing.

The launch event was kick started by our dynamic founder, Mwila Mulenshi. Mwila shared the statistics on black and ethnic minority (BME) employment rates and the stats that highlight the under representation of females in STEM roles.

Our nine incredible speakers did not fail to deliver; candid conversations on the reality of being a woman of colour, the struggles of being your own boss and how to navigate the corporate world.

We heard great business advice:

“Start with a business model canvas to get your basic business ideas down. Look at cost structures, your audience and then go get your idea validated. Ask family, ask friends, ask, ask, ask!” - Izzy Obeng

We learnt that businesses are often born out of a personal problem encountered i.e. struggling to find that leather pencil skirt in any of the shops on your high street. That was Ayo’s exact dilemma. As a response, she set out to build a platform that would show you all the shops that had the item you were looking for online. Although that business is no longer around she said:

“All failure is a chance to learn a lesson.”

She has used all the lessons from that business to set up women's empowerment social enterprise, WEMNE.

Urenna said she started Cashmere after going into a store and falling in love with a pair of shoes that were far too expensive. She wished for an account where she saved for guilty pleasures.

Got some advice for making career choices and navigating a career as a woman:

I had a great love for numbers. I first heard about my job at the age of 16 and I went and googled jobs I could do with Mathematics and found that Actuary was ranked number three in the world as the best jobs involving numbers. - Yemi Salami

“Women of colour tend to say, ‘I’m so lucky to be here, so fortunate to have this job’. Let’s stop saying that.” - Amina Ahmad

Regina shared some of the things she did while still at uni and we think they make great tips for students or anyone looking to stand out:

  1. Network “I went to a networking event every week at uni”

  2. Push yourself outside of your comfort zone “I learned three languages”

  3. Experience different cultures “I didn’t just hang out with people that looked like me”

We ended the night with some informal networking, selfies, boomerangs and pics-a-plenty.

Many thanks to Google and to our wonderful speakers, Elena Sokolova, Director and Founder of female-founded Tryatec; Urenna Okonkwo, Founder at Cashmere app; Kike Oniwinde, Founder at the BYP (Black Young Professionals) app; Yemi Salami, an Actuary Consultant specialising in pensions; Izzy Obeng, Founder at Foundervine; Regina Oladipo, Technology Advisor to the UK Cabinet Office; Ayo Elizabeth Jegede, Founder at WEMNE (Women’s Empowerment Network); Noreen Makosewe, Founder at Radical Leap and Amina Ahmad, FinTech Ecosystem at Blackbox Inc.

Applications for the mentoring scheme are now open. There are ten spaces up for grabs, apply here by Friday August 10th.

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