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Ethel Cofie, CEO, EDEL Technologies

April 16, 2016 • Female Leadership In Our Time, Women in Leadership

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Life is full of challenges, and one of the early lessons that I learnt, is the fact that life does not give you what you deserve, but what you negotiate and fight for.
Tech entrepreneur and CEO of EDEL Technologies, Ethel Cofie has been featured in BBC and CNN for work in technology and women leadership. A high caliber IT professional with a wealth of technical and commercial skills acquired over 12 years’ experience working in the UK, Ghana, Nigeria and Sierra Leone on projects for organizations like Bill and Melinda Gates Mobile Technology, the Ford Foundation and as Head of Commercial Solutions for Vodafone. She is the Founder of Women in Tech Ghana, initiator of the 1st Pan African woman in tech meetup and was shortlisted for the UN GEM Tech Award for work supporting women in ICT. She also sits on numerous boards including Egotickets (an Africa online ticketing platform) and Chillax (A Mobile App for providing tailored entertainment choices for professional Africans) and Social Media week Lagos.

 

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ON GENDER AND FUND RAISING

We have not raised finances yet. This is because the growth of EDEL Technology Consulting is organic based and over the years, EDEL’s growth has been based on sales, rather than raising capital. However, we have received Grants from the US Africa Development Funds to help pursue our goals as well as grow the tech industry in Africa.

In terms of the traditional gender bias against female entrepreneurship, I tried to play the game as needed but as I rose through the years, I realised that women have to be encouraged and given the opportunity to grow in technology and this is the main reason why Women in Tech Africa was founded; to encourage young African Girls into STEM (Science, Tecnology, Engineering, Mathematics) careers and empower Women with the technical skills, needed to develop by providing them with the opportunities they need to enter the tech field as coders, IT managers and to establish enterprises that increase women’s socio-economic well-being to support African development through technology.

 

ON THE ROAD TO SUCCESS

It has been an interesting journey and I must confess that my story was not always nice and glamorous. Life is full of challenges, and one of the early lessons that I learnt, is the fact that life does not give you what you deserve, but what you negotiate and fight for. I did a Degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Distributers System in the United Kingdom. I was headhunted, and so did not return to Ghana after my Masters Degree.

After a few years, I left my lucrative job and very comfortable life in London and returned to Ghana with the intention of starting a Software Business of my own (EDEL Technology Consulting). I told nobody about it. Not even my parents, because considering that they were the typical African parents, I knew they would object. They only got to know of my intentions after I had shipped all my belongings and arrived in Ghana. Everybody thought I was insane and guess what, there was yet a big blow for me. I failed completely. A lot of my working life was spent in the United Kingdom, where people understood technology. However, I painfully came to understand what it meant to build technology in Ghana, where at the time most people did not understand what it meant. The blow was overwhelming because I had spent my whole savings with little or nothing in my bank account. But I girded my loins, mastered courage and fought the challenges that life gave me. I took on a few jobs, did a lot of projects and started EDEL Technology consulting version two (2) and I am glad to report that the second version has grown to the point where we have clients not only in Ghana, but in the United Kingdom.

 

ON THE FEMALE LONGEVITY IN THE TECH INDUSTRY

I have three passions (Female Leadership, Technology and Entrepreneurship), and these passions are what have driven me to where I am today. Yes, I am aware there are four times more men than women working in the Tech industry and that was my main reason of founding Women in Tech Africa, to help bridge the gap by encouraging Female Entrepreneurship, creating opportunities for women to expand their businesses through technology, organizing routine events such as technical conferences, meet ups and hackathons in order to help women and young African girls identify and learn from other Women in Technology Organizations. As an example, Women in Tech Africa spearheaded and ran the 1st Pan African Women in Tech Virtual meet up which brought together over 150 Women in Technology across Africa to share knowledge about open web technologies. In a nutshell, the zeal to highlight Women in Technology to the World is what has kept me going.

 

ON THE FUTURE OF FEMALE REPRESENTATION IN THE TECH INDUSTRY

Over the years, many Organizations have organised events and conferences that create opportunities for women to develop their businesses and ideas through the use of Technology. With many women now entering the tech field as coders and IT managers, I think women are in the right position and stand a good chance to participate in the largest economic and social shift of this century. Women need to contribute more, their ideas, skills and technical experiences to the growing economy. To increase women’s participation in Technology, I think more young girls should be encouraged into the STEM fields. Organizations and women movements must step up their goal to support, encourage and empower women and young girls with the technical skills needed to develop so as to increase women’s socio-economic well-being and to support development through technology.

 

ON CAREER AND PASSION

My interests lie in my passions (Female Leadership, Technology and Entrepreneurship) and I am interested in seeing women in the lead in Technology. I am driven to help African development through technology and to help bridge the gap and create opportunities for women to overcome the traditional gender bias against female entrepreneurs. This excites me!  

 

ON FUTURE CHALLENGES

Yes I have goals and dreams and they are still in the making; to grow EDEL Technology Consulting into one of the best Software Developing companies around the world and to step up the Women in Technology Africa group into creating more opportunities for women and young African Girls. I also hope to help celebrate Women around the globe. In five to eight years time, I can only see myself at the top.

 

ON WORK-LIFE BALANCE

I must confess that keeping up with all the work and activities has not been easy but with proper planning, I am able to apportion time for work and pleasure. I usually have the weekends to myself.

 

Click here to download your free copy of the Female Leadership in Our Time

 

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