We’re starting series of stories about girls who completed their training at SheInnovates Africa, learning the programming and entrepreneurial skills they needed to succeed. Each story is unique and portrays the challenges they faced on the way to success.
Today we’re telling the story of a girl from Nigeria, Joy Akor. She always had the passion to impact others and has found numerous ways to contribute to the growth of her community.
T: Joy, what was it like growing up in remote Africa?
Joy: Africa has its own challenges but growing up there was interesting. I did not really face any difficulties personally thanks to my parents . They gave all to send me and my siblings to school. Growing up was not an issue. Those days in Nigeria were better. I remember then, we knew that the moment you graduated a job would be waiting for you, our money had value, social amenities, electricity, etc., were all available. People venturing into business achieved success. I can't tell when things changed for worse but l know it took a gradual turn and by the time l was ready to face the world, nothing was available. We face corruption in Nigeria, like every other country, but all in all it has been really interesting growing up.
T: When did you realize that something has to change? What did you start with?
Joy: from an early age, I wanted to become an employer who respects labour rights. Due to the limited resources at my disposal, l had to start with the lowest aspect of my new passion, the "IT WORLD". (Computer services activities) and later applied the skills to my field of study - Data Analysis.
T: I know that you've assisted with statistical analysis to help the community. On which topics did you work?
Joy: I have worked on various topics like health, agriculture, economy and several other areas.
T: Catherine (SheInnovates) founder has mentioned that you heard the advertisement of SheInnovates project in the church. Was it right away that you understood this is a chance for you?
Joy: I wanted to add web design to my skills but have been limited by one or two factors. So when I heard the advert and I knew I would be free then, I took the opportunity.
T: How did you benefit from SheInnovates trainings? How did it help you in what you're doing now?
Joy: It made me understand that I can learn coding and that programming is actually quite easy. I want to use all these experiences for my good and the good of my community.
T: You've started a computer training school of your own. What challenges are you facing? How many students do you have as of now?
Joy: Basically, funding to purchase the necessary items, more computers, projectors and more classrooms. The number of students is growing every day.
T: You've also started a business rendering computer related services. How many employees do you have? How did you manage to get the funding? What plans do you have to expand your business?
Joy: Two employees for now, the business generates their salaries and mine. The initial capital is from my own savings. Hoping to get a grant or soft loan to expand.
T: What would your advice be to other African girls who are dreaming about a career in tech or starting their own business?
Joy: They should start no matter how small and forget about critics or people that would look down on them.