For International Women’s Day, we interviewed Jessica Poku, country manager for Uber Ghana, and asked her questions about her inspirations and how Uber is helping to create opportunities for female entrepreneurs.
Tech Nove (TN): How is Uber using its platform to create opportunities for female entrepreneurs in Ghana?
Jessica Poku: At Uber, we aim to create an inclusive environment where everyone in the Uber community can be their true self, and we help women develop personally and professionally. At Uber, we champion equality, through community outreach, we aim to create an inclusive environment where everyone in the Uber community can be their true self and we help women develop personally and professionally. We are committed to working toward equal opportunity and inclusion and we are proud to offer equal to females in Ghana to flourish as entrepreneurs. To ensure this we have previously partnered with Old Mutual to offer a free money management course to our driver-partners where they were empowered with the skills to manage their finances in order to grow their income and save for the future.
TN: What skills do you think are necessary for women to thrive as entrepreneurs in Ghana?
Jessica Poku: Every entrepreneur needs soft and technical skills. It will still be necessary for those with less technical skills to get an overview and learn the basics of their operations.
TN: Who’s are some of your female inspirations in the field of technology?
Jessica Poku: Indra Nooyi, Bozoma St. John and Estelle Akofio-Sowah. These women are incredibly talented and inspiring leaders. More importantly, they show us all that it’s possible to be a corporate leader with a human face. That you can have multifaceted interests and still be a high achiever who is equally invested in uplifting the community around them. It’s important to me to connect with people and build relationships, and never to constrain myself to some predetermined construct of what a ‘Female Leader’ must look like. Bring your unique perspective and personality into everything you do, and accomplish it in your own signature way.
TN: What has been your biggest challenge as a female entrepreneur in Ghana?
Jessica Poku: Although I am not an entrepreneur, I have come across many female entrepreneurs, and the most significant challenge always seems to be the lack of funding opportunities available for women. Such challenges show that there is a greater need for innovative financial solutions that offer women access to markets which will ultimately lead to more opportunities.
TN: What three pieces of advice would you give female entrepreneurs in the tech space to succeed?
Jessica Poku: Collaborate and network with other women business owners, you will find that there are many like-minded women building businesses and groups focused on women entrepreneurs. Participate in those groups and create your network of other women entrepreneurs.
Be agile and open to learning. The tech space is continuously changing; therefore, you have to be willing to learn and be agile to innovate
Don’t be afraid of failure; remember, it’s okay to fail and get back up again as entrepreneurs and as an individual. Everyone has felt like a failure at some point in their life and if you read the world’s leading tech companies’ stories, you will see that they failed along the way but did not let that deter them.