FirstCheck is helping underrepresented African women in tech rise above stereotypes.
My colleague recently asked me why there are more men in tech than women. He claimed that women are incompetent and therefore could not handle “hard” tasks. I begged to differ and argued that women in general are not supported, some don’t even make it to higher level education for customary reasons.
However, women in tech are slowly rising yearly, as from 2020 the number significantly increased to 28.8% from 25.9% in 2018 and 26.2% in 2019. In Africa the African woman is even higher, a majority of women are still undervalued and many are not well educated. With all these challenges it would mean that in Africa it will take approximately 12 years for women to be equal to men in this industry.
The sector is predominantly male.
The fact the industry is still predominantly male means that the struggle for African woman in tech to rise is even a bigger challenge but not impossible.
With FirstCheck, Endeavor Nigeria MD, Eloho Omame and PiggyVest Co-founder/COO, Odunayo Eweniyi are creating a level playing field for women in tech.
Most importantly how does it work?
FirstCheck is a female-led, female-focused, angel fund and investor community to help women who have ideas for technology startups.
As the name suggests, the investor platform’s main objective is to give African women in tech their first check by investing up to $25,000 in each woman at the ideation stage and working to help her raise a significant pre-seed round within 12 months after being confirmed.
In Africa, when investors are approached by women entrepreneurs, there is an unconscious bias that they will not be as reliable an investment as their male counterparts.
Female-led teams find it difficult to raise funds.
This was the case of Damilola Olokesusi, CEO of Shuttlers whose story of gender bias in the workplace was during a board meeting she attended with her co-founders – an all-female team. A misogynistic statement made by a male attendee made it difficult for her and her team to be taken seriously throughout the meeting. Every woman who runs a business has her own story to tell.
On their site it’s clearly written that:
“Our mission is to advance equity, capital and leadership for a generation of women in Africa through technology & entrepreneurship.”
FirstCheck is building infrastructure around women in technology, believing it will generate a solid return on investment. FirstCheck can invest in a mixed gender company but it has to be clear that there’s no inequality.