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In Creative Conversation with Bukky M. Babajide

Bukky is a UK-based Techpreneur with over 10 years of experience as a Program/Product Lead and Senior Business Analyst. We had the fortunate chance to speak with Bukky about her global community, Female Techpreneur, which helps to empower, innovate and ignite the female experience within tech.  

Female Techpreneur is currently offering free membership to anyone that wants to join, helping female tech founders  to network and meet other like minded individuals. They also host networking events for tech founders every third Friday of the month at 12pm where women in tech are able to share ideas and provide insight on our experience. 

Wishu: Your business seems to work on something very niche but that also covers a lot of ground. 

Bukky: We are the only female tech founder platform. There are others that focus on women but not tech and others that focus on tech but not women specifically. We are the first, as far as I know. TLA focuses on careers and black women but we focus mainly on founders and are open to anyone that identifies as female and run virtual programs to ensure we reach as wide an audience as possible. 

Wishu: When did you start? 

Bukky: We officially started on March 5th 2020 and within ten days the world went into lockdown. We had people coming in from New York at the beginning – it was an exciting time. Then as lockdown started it was quite gloomy and most of us, as we know, had never experienced anything like that. That’s when everything moved in. 

Wishu: What motivated you to provide a space focused on female led companies? What were you noticing about the female experience in tech as well as the female of colour experience?

Bukky: The necessary support for women in tech – which was my experience – just clearly didn’t exist. People kept talking about the gender gap, lack of funding and lack of representation but it didn’t seem that enough was done . Initially it started with colleagues and myself coming together with diverse skills to build a tech solution that could support women. I shared the idea with my friend Vicky and she showed so much enthusiasm to launch it. That’s how it evolved. Naturally I’m a very private person but I have started to accept that as the face of the brand people want to connect with me as a founder and a woman who has been through this collective journey. My question is how do we find funding and create more representation without complaining but rather taking action. 

Wishu: What are the main difficulties for women in tech that you have identified ? 

Bukky: The root we have identified is imposter syndrome. Tech is a male dominated industry and hats off to them for what they have achieved – learning how to code is not easy! But a lot of women enter these male dominated spaces and start to doubt whether or not they are competent enough to keep up. Am I qualified? Why should I be running this programme? What doesn’t help is people in your personal circle also questioning your career path. For this reason, we need to see people that look like us succeeding in the field and believe me they’re there! Success and failure is part of the journey  – it’s also about taking action. From my mentorship engagements some of my mentees  me they undermine themselves and even when they’re hustling  they succeed they feel lonely because they have to juggle family and professional responsibilities. These women need a community so that they can be supported by like minded people  who are on similar path

Another issue is with funding access because that’s also not readily available to female tech founders  . You can have a great idea and develop a great product but the issue bleeds into the funding realm. You can be talking about your idea and there have been cases where funding panels judge whether a woman can balance entrepreneurship  and other commitments  or they doubt whether her idea may be commercially viable etc. So despite all these hurdles, we require female to female support, working collaboratively against competition so we no longer have to work in isolation which takes forever to grow.

Wishu: Confidence – the tonic to imposter syndrome – also comes from having a good education. What is your opinion on the encouragement of females to study tech in school? 

Bukky: More needs to be done. Last year we had six interns from UK universities. Some of the research they helped us with found that many youngsters making career decisions haven’t been exposed to tech enough to even realise it’s an option. I’ve been asked to speak at an event and I was so surprised to see in this day and age that many people still believe that tech is for geeks and not for girls. There’s a lot to do in education and there are roles where code fluency isn’t even necessary. Although we tend to focus on age 18 and above, I’ve been invited to speak to sixth formers where I can enlighten them on the importance of tech within most industries. Even if you think it’s geeky you won’t be able to avoid it! Tech is infiltrating every industry. 

Wishu: Your online presence is so joyous and optimistic and its great to see a woman working for gender equality from an optimistic platform as it combats the very dated stereotype of a man-eating version of white feminism. How important is an optimistic outlook and showing that equal opportunities are about bringing joy and great work? 

Bukky: If we choose to be negative and moan – nothing will change. Change can only come from action.Supporting women isn’t about being anti-men, it’s about creating equal opportunity and helping the under-represented group it. I have two sons and a husband who I love – of course I’m not anti-men! Staying away from negativity and working with open-minded people who want to help change the issues is the best I can do.

Wishu: That’s refreshing to hear, especially in a social media era which tends to see in black and white. What is your relationship with mental health and time management? What is your routine and do you have any tips for other working mums?

Bukky:  I try to find balance even though that doesn’t exist – especially as a mum! But I do find time to exercise, zone out etc.Like I said, balance doesn’t exist, it’s an illusion. Of course I’ve felt like quitting, I’ve experienced burnout . Instead I prioritise what needs to be done now and today and everything else can wait. That’s the way I plan. Also don’t push back the things that are less fun to do, don’t prioritise the most enjoyable tasks but the most essential tasks. Recognising that you need help is also majorly important. Unfortunately burning the candle at both ends is necessary sometimes- especially in the beginning if bootstrapping 

Wishu: As someone that has worked in tech for over a decade, do you feel we are living in a very pivotal and exciting time for technology? How do you feel tech will change the way we communicate and become even more diverse via mediums such as TikTok? 

Bukky: Due to covid, so many things have moved to digital. We are never going back to the way we were. Employers are more flexible and we are all happy to embrace that. Not to mention that we can hire from anywhere. It’s opening up the world to so many opportunities. E-commerce demands are also changing. Some great inventions have been created and as women in tech we need to analyse the gaps and identify the problems – finding the solutions to them is where the great ideas will be born. 

Wishu: You have an amazing portfolio of clients – including BP, Nationwide, Lloyds Bank, Avon, and others, deploying digital transformation – how did you build such a repertoire and what advice would you give to young females coming up in the tech industry today? 

Bukky: A career in tech means commitment to long term continuous learning as the tech world changes rapidlyContinuous learning is also very important – don’t be stuck in any stone age. That’s literally our purpose as people is to always be learning! Interpersonal skills are just as important as technical skills too as we have to network. 

I would advise those coming up into tech to pick a niche and recognise their strengths and weaknesses, which field in tech suits them. What do they want to be known for? Also undertake an exploratory understanding of other tech discipline to give them a full understanding of the end to end world of work and  this will enable you to stand out from your peers. 

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