I have 3 Passions Technology,Women Empowerment and Entrepreneurship and so it was no surprise that I started a women in tech group in Ghana West Africa and connected with a group of wonderful women running other women in tech groups in Africa for the 1st pan African women in tech virtual meet up .
3 weeks ago I was invited to write an opinion piece on CNN and since then I have received a large number of wonderful emails both encouraging me and asking for my advice on starting women in tech group in their own countries.
A few of the emails below “
Marlisse from Benin West Africa , wrote:
Naomi from Ghana, wrote
Naledi from Botswana, wrote
Sophie for Cameroun wrote,
So I thought it would be useful to share my experience in creating and running Women in tech group. 4 steps to creating and running and women in tech group
Is there any other group in your country or city,then please go and volunteer with them.Help plan a meeting,help support social media efforts,help get partners and sponsorships.Help strengthen the existing groups
If there are no existing groups then steps 2 to 3 might help you .
Step 2 – Decide Your Target Group
Decide your target group; women in tech generally, or developers or female university student studying technology courses and start working your networks, send an emails to all the women and men you know in the industry and tell them what you want to. Be persuasive .Tell them the value add of a women in tech group.
I started with a tweet to a number of influential women in tech on my ecosystem @enyok,@ragyare, @florencetoffa,@AmmaBaffoe. Persuading influential figures in you tech ecosystem to support you can help to get the word out and to bring in the numbers.
Step 3 –Plan an Inaugural Event
I recommend a 1 hour event, preferably on a wednesday or thursday night after work .I haven’t figured out why but events I run get in more people on these days .
A sample agenda for women in tech Ghana events
6:00pm – 6:30pm: Registration, Networking, Hors D’oeuvres, Drinks
6:30pm – 7:15pm : Presentation on business plan and best practices of pitch and ideas for creating attractive presentations
7:15pm – 7:45pm : Inaugurating the Women in Tech X
7:45pm – 8:30pm Networking and Close
Find a Venue
I recommend that you work your networks for a free venue, a conference room of a company willing to sponsor , or a co working space in you city . Ask for help ? Knock as many doors as you can .
Find a Speaker
This is the tricky part , I recommend dreaming big , try to connect to the most high profile Woman in Tech you know and sell them the concept . Remember they are probably really busy so be persuasive and interesting . Its best to have someone they know and trust do an introduction,don’t waste their time tell them exactly what you want them to speak about and the time commitments on their part.
when I did my first event I invited the Google Country Manager Estelle Akrofi to speak. Then at the event I realized the country director for Microsoft Ghana was in the room and I took the opportunity to invite both of them to become joint speakers .
Please speak to me,if you are having a hard time getting a speaker I can work my network to get you one .
However please please have a back up speaker!!!
Market your event
Use social media and email to get the message out there .
Write a compelling copy describing you event:
Please see a sample text below
Join iSpace and women in technology nights out on Thursday , February 6th at iSpace offices in Osu for a fun night of learning, networking, eating and drinking! You’ll walk away with more knowledge, new connections, and a full belly! Please note that this is a women-only event (men are allowed as long as they bring a female along) and we’ll be talking about all issues related to lady geekdom.Expect a fun time with like-minded ladies. We look forward to seeing you there!
My little shameless plug :) use https://egotickets.com ( I am board advisor)for ticketing for the events . it free as long as you’re not charging for the event . You can export the emails of the attendees and you can use their mobile app on the day of the event to check in your attendees
Sit back and enjoy listening to the great talk and encourage networking among the ladies , help to introduce people .
After the event , you have number of things: emails of the women who attended and momentum use that to reach and promote the group.
Based on the feedback from the night ,decide with the group of people who were most help( i.e. your first set of volunteers how your group will work ?
Decisions Decisions Decisions
what type of group will you be
Will you be an informal group that meets monthly, weekly, quarterly?
Will you be online discussion group?
Will you be an organization then charges membership fees ?
Will be a formally organized non profit ?
What value will be bringing to your members and the ecosystem
I propose a number of value additions.
- Training and Education
- Helping members to be the first to hear about job opportunities and getting them in front of hiring decision makers
- Becoming hub for connecting your members to great opportunities like speaking engagements, jobs and Board positions
- Encouraging Women in tech to join the industry or helping to women in the industry to be better or both
Let me know how these steps help you or any changes you had to make ,I am always happy to help .
There is a lot than can be done with good set of volunteers,persuasive narrative and reaching out to your networks. There is a lot of hard work involved but it’s very rewarding