Can Networking Encourage More Young Women to Become Tech Entrepreneurs in Africa?

Adanna
Posted February 6, 2020 from Nigeria
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In 2019, I was selected as a Venture Capital for Africa (VC4A) mentor. VC4A is a Netherlands-based organization that connects startups to opportunities. During the programme, I noticed that majority of the men who were selected (mentors and mentees) were very outspoken, and had no problems connecting or networking with other men. However, I also observed that many of the women who were selected (mentors and mentees) were walking up to the men (than the women) and having a conversation. At first glance, this may not be seen as a problem and there were no rules on "who to connect with" but it got me a bit worried because it was an opportunity for the women to get to know each other, network and possibly build new friendships but it looked like majority of them were waiting for "who will be the first to talk to each other." Now, the main reason this caught my attention was because I have also been at gatherings and conferences where the same "scenario" played out. 

Studies have shown that networking is important to help women navigate their career paths and it is not just for personal or professional growth but also when one might be about to commit a "career suicide."

In Africa there are a lot of cultural barriers and women are mostly seen as child-bearers and home managers. For example, some families in the South-East region in Nigeria tend to value their male child over their female child and often advise their female children to be “submissive and humble” so as to attract “a good man” for marriage. According to a 2016 study by Venture Capital for Africa, only 9% of startups in Africa have women leaders and in 2015, CNN reported that in the technology industry, few women attempt startups. 

Networking skills are not just important as we climb the ladder of success but I also think it is something that can be learned, and practiced. Some women feel uncomfortable with networking — putting themselves out there or promoting themselves but I have also learned that networking can help you step out of your comfort zone and propel you to do great things.

 

This story was submitted in response to World Pulse Digital Ambassadors.

Comments 20

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maeann
Feb 06
Feb 06

Networking with other people is also great way to do business and learn new things. Thank you for sharing this timely thoughts of observation Adanna :) :)

Adanna
Feb 06
Feb 06

Indeed, it is Maeann. :)

Love,
Adanna

binimereena
Feb 06
Feb 06

We are interested to Cooperate for DEVELOPING -ORGANIC SANITARY PADS- for safe and effective Menstural Period.

Can we work on this and develop for the women
bini

Adanna
Feb 06
Feb 06

Dear Bini,
Kindly check your inbox.

Love,
Adanna

Jill Langhus
Feb 07
Feb 07

Hello Adanna,

How are you doing, dear? Oh, this seems like a problem to me. Do you think it's just the older generation, or do you see it in the youth, too? Is this what you are helping the women that you are mentoring? How else to you think this problem can be mitigated?

Hope you're doing well, dear!?

XX

Adanna
Feb 07
Feb 07

Hi Jill,
I'm doing great dear. Well, I think the youths are gradually learning, relearning and dropping some of the old habits mainly associated with the older generation.

Yes, it is part of what I am helping girls and women that I'm mentoring and I also speak about it when I'm invited to speak at tech events.
I feel like more women need to make conscious effort in networking because it helps a lot both personally and professionally. It is not always easy and can be quite uncomfortable sometimes but if one really wants to grow, then one has to network.

XX

Jill Langhus
Feb 07
Feb 07

Hello Dear:-)

Fabulous to hear!

Oh, that's good news.

Yeah, I don't like networking that much... well, to clarify, I like LinkedIn. I've gotten used to that, but in person, ah, no. But I wouldn't dream of just going directly to a man. Eeek. I'm glad you're addressing this habit/trend. Good for you to notice and act on changing it!

Adanna
Feb 07
Feb 07

Thank you dear.

Wukwen Destiny
Feb 07
Feb 07

Hi Adanna thanks for she this beautiful story . I believe the ability to network strategically stand out as one of the most important and when women do network, they do so mostly with other women rather than men. I see this as a significant cause for concern for women as individuals and power players within their companies and industries. Women actually network less thanks men . Let's be willing to get a little uncomfortable.

Adanna
Feb 07
Feb 07

Dear Wuken,
Thank you for your kind words. I appreciate sis.
I like your closing statement, "Let's be willing to get a little uncomfortable."

Love,
Adanna

Anita Shrestha
Feb 08
Feb 08

Dear Sis
Yes for successful, team work, net work and hard work is necessary. Therefore, please keep it continue your work.

Adanna
Feb 10
Feb 10

Thank you for your kind words sis.

lizzymark
Feb 08
Feb 08

Hi Adanna,its true women hardly connect with women there is always the who goes first,but I think it could help if we learn to see each other as sisters and learn to connect. Thanks for shearing.

Adanna
Feb 10
Feb 10

Dear Lizzy,

Yes, it will definitely help if we see each other as sisters, learn and connect.

Love,
Adanna

otahelp
Mar 01
Mar 01

Adanna you are right in your thinking about networking but women still needs to be thought to fraternize with other women. It is only more natural according to some school of thoughts for women to tilt towards men than other women. We must continue to enlighten women on the need to keep tabs with other women. thank you i have learnt something from you

Adanna
Mar 04
Mar 04

Thank you sis. I'm glad you learnt something.

Indeed, we have to continue to enlighten more women and girls.

Love,
Adanna

Kika Katchunga
Mar 02
Mar 02

Hello ADANNA
Excellent work and courage for this fight for change; good luck

Adanna
Mar 04
Mar 04

Thank you for your kind words Kika.

Love,
Adanna

Chidimma
Mar 23
Mar 23

Dear Adanna. As if you were referring to me. I have had that fear of networking more so if it relates to business because I have a problem begging people to buy or do something for me. Not until I started Volunteering for different organization I had a different mindset about networking. (Just sharing my thoughts)
Now I preach networking for women.
Thanks for sharing
Much Love.

Adanna
Mar 24
Mar 24

Hi Sis,
I'm glad you were able to overcome the 'fear' of networking.
Volunteering is a good way to network and build one's confidence too :)

Hugs and love,
Adanna

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