Being a woman entrepreneur in Northern Nigeria is hard @StartupKano wants to change that Click To Tweet

I started my journey six years ago, I was 17 and it was hard because I just graduated from college. Every girl’s dream at that age is totally different, but nobody understood what I wanted to do. Yet I knew what I wanted and I have never given up.

As years passed, things became even more complicated than I would have imagined, and the challenges came too. One thing that helped me was that I’m a business oriented person so I easily became a serial entrepreneur, diversifying my skills and business ventures. With the little resources I received, I made sure to give back and have helped countless women. From donations to little startup capitals, I’ve worked for free at women-focused NGOs, I have mentored girls, I did community work, and many other things that I can’t even recall because I wasn’t keeping records.

Finding my team

In 2015, I decided to start blogging and took my project to social media because I wanted reach more people. I wrote articles to encourage and motivate women, I gave out business ideas, free consultations, online mentoring, and more. That same year I finally met my team. We founded StartUp Kano, an organization aimed towards creating an ecosystem for creative and innovative entrepreneurs.

Ahmad Bature and Abdulbasid Kabir are Google Developers. Ahmad Idris is the founder of Code Pyramid and thenortherner; Maryam Gwadabe is founder of Blue Hub, Blue Sapphire E-Solutions ICT and Business School. Then Maimuna Abubakar Anka, C.E.O Malaabis by Maimz is a fashion designer.

They were tech people and entrepreneurs and I was an entrepreneur, now running my advertising company! Yet, we had the same mindset, mission, and dedication. We decided to create a special avenue for women under StartUp Kano. That was how we came up with the Women Founder’s Group, a platform for creative and innovative tech and non-tech women entrepreneurs.

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Launching the Women Founders Conference

The Women Founders Conference is an annual event organized by The Women Founders Group for women in business, budding entrepreneurs, and start-ups. We choose this name because we needed “founders”, successful women from different fields, to come together to help raise and mentor younger women.

@StartupKano needed successful women to come together to help mentor younger women Click To Tweet

We wanted to make these women a family, we wanted them to feel included, and speak up, we wanted them to connect and network. Most importantly, we wanted them to support and stand by each other while we help them with the necessary resources and guides.

The conference is a gathering exclusively attended and curated by women with the aim to bring together bright minds to deliver talks that are idea motivated and on a wide range of subjects, to foster learning, inspiration and to provoke conversations that matter among women entrepreneurs in our ecosystem. This is an opportunity for them to be among top business women, customers and decisions makers. We brought women whose efforts and impact through their brands and services over the years demonstrated business excellence and the highest standards of ethical conduct, integrity, civic and social responsibility.

The first of its kind in Northern Nigeria

The conference is the first event we hosted and it took us 6 months of planning and hard work being the first of its kind in the North.

Northern Nigeria has been left behind in different aspects of contemporary developments and women in this respect suffer the most. My team and I realized that out of ten women in the North, eight are entrepreneurs and most of them are at the grassroots level. Looking at the international standard and practices we decided to start something that will give these women the necessary tools to compete with their counterparts worldwide.

@StartupKano found that 8 out of 10 women in Northern Nigeria are entrepreneurs Click To Tweet

We brought together bright minds in education, industries and corporate organizations who gave expert talks. We had counselling sessions with budding and aspiring entrepreneurs so as to help them harness their skills and talents and also to equip them with necessary tools to maximize their potentials.

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The Women Founders Conference 2016 was lit!

During the maiden Women Founders Conference in 2016 we had the likes of Engr. Hauwa Muhammad Sadique, the first Northern president of The Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria as the key-note speaker. Maryam Lawan Gwadabe, an Msc holder in Network Management from Middlesex University Dubai made a presentation and demonstrated on digital skills. Hajiya (Dr) Hadiza Nuhu Yusuf talked on leadership skills with the aim to encourage women’s participation in leadership. We also had Hajia Aisha Maijamaa who is a politician among others.

We hosted over 200 women, both entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs. Being a woman founder in the North is very hard. The challenges and risks, the culture and society are all factors that only a dedicated and brave woman can scale through. This is why we decided to bring older, established women to sit with the younger ones and inspire them.

We believe that they have been through it all, they know the risks and challenges so they are the right people to advice other women. We also believe that if we continue with this project, we would be able to bring together women, make a great impact and give them room and opportunity to achieve their dreams.


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