Tech is a world where new things are always happening! It’s a place full of smart ideas and cool gadgets. And guess what? Women are making big waves in this world too. Both African women and in the global space. They are coming up with great ideas and building successful companies. They’re showing that they can achieve big things and make a lot of money in tech, just like men.
We are going to talk about some of these super-smart women from Africa and all over the world. In this article, we’ll talk about the important work they are doing and how they are changing the tech game, let’s dive in.
Meg Whitman is a big name in the tech world and holds the 1067th spot on Forbes’ list of the world’s wealthiest people. At 62 years old, she comes from the United States. She made a lot of her money when she was the boss of eBay for 10 years until 2008. Under her lead, eBay started earning $8 billion a year, a big jump from just a few million! She also was the boss of Hewlett Packard Enterprise and short-video startup Quibi. Meg even helps run an esports organization, Immortals, by being on its board. She is worth $2.9 billion.
Judy Faulkner, aged 80, ranks 325 on Forbes’ list of the world’s wealthiest people, calling the United States home. She’s the brain behind Epic Systems, a giant in the software world focusing on electronic medical records. Started in a basement in 1979, Epic now holds the health details of over 250 million people, with top clinics like Johns Hopkins and Mayo Clinic using it! Judy, still CEO, owns 47% of this $4.6 billion company. Impressively, the company builds all its software in-house and never needed outside money or to buy other companies. A generous soul, Judy has promised to give away 99% of her riches to charity, having signed the Giving Pledge in 2015.
Zhou Qunfei, hailing from Hong Kong, holds the 418th spot on the list of the world’s wealthiest. She is the powerhouse behind Lens Technology, a company known for making protective glass for touchscreens. Big names like Samsung, LG, Microsoft, Apple, and Huawei are her customers, and even electric vehicle giants like Tesla and BYD. Zhou, once a migrant factory worker, has become one of the world’s wealthiest self-made women. Her company, founded 22 years before going public in 2015, started its journey in an apartment in Shenzhen in 1993, where Zhou and her relatives initially set up a watch parts company. She’s renowned for creating her fortune from scratch and is considered an inspiring entrepreneur in the tech world with a networth of $4.9 billion.
Dagmar Dolby, from the United States, is ranked 552 on the Forbes’ list of the world’s wealthiest people. At 82, she is the main shareholder of Dolby Laboratories, a company famous for making surround-sound systems and noise-reducing technologies. The company was founded by her late husband in 1965, and she now owns about 38% of it.
The company’s innovations are used in films, products, video games, and mobile devices. A generous giver, Dagmar has donated over $160 million to the University of Cambridge and $20 million to UC San Francisco. She also backed the construction of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles. With her net worth standing at $5 billion, she and her two sons, David and Tom, continue to uphold the legacy of her husband, Ray Dolby.
Ma Dongmin, a woman tech leader from China, holds the 1434th spot on Forbes’ list of the world’s wealthiest people. Ma is closely associated with Baidu, a Chinese search engine giant, being the wife of its co-founder and CEO, Robin Li. She had a stint with the company until 2007, before rejoining a decade later as a special assistant to the chairman, focusing on areas like investments.
Ma’s influence extends to the educational sphere as well, with the Robin Li and Melissa Ma Science Library inaugurated at Stanford University in 2017. Her journey in the tech world and her endeavors in it mark her as one of the influential figures in the sector, with a net worth standing at $2.1 billion.
Funke Opeke, a woman in tech with a robust background in U.S. telecoms, chose to return to her native Nigeria after 20 years to address the nation’s connectivity issues. With experience as a former Verizon executive, she initially joined NITEL, a public telecoms company in Nigeria. Recognizing satellites as part of the connectivity problem, in 2008, she orchestrated a monumental project, raising $240 million in funding to lay 4,400 miles of fibre optic cable connecting Nigeria to Portugal.
This initiative catalyzed significant advancements in online services, bolstering Africa’s largest economy and transforming Nigeria’s Internet presence from being synonymous with scams to being a hub for growing international business opportunities. Funke’s revolutionary contribution to tech in Nigeria has earned her recognition, notably, a spot on Forbes’ list of The World’s Top 50 Women in Tech in 2018.
Odunayo Eweniyi, a remarkable African tech woman, is a pillar of entrepreneurial innovation, particularly in the financial technology sector of West Africa. She co-founded Piggyvest, the first-ever online personal savings and investment app in the region, serving as its COO. This platform is part of her broader vision to empower people with the tools to manage and save their money efficiently. Additionally, she has played a pivotal role in launching other successful startups like PushCV and Firstcheck.
Jihan Abass, a visionary African tech woman, is the Founder and CEO of LamiInsurtech, a groundbreaking enterprise she initiated in 2018. Her mission with LamiInsurtech is to democratize and digitize insurance products, starting in Kenya with aspirations to expand across Africa. The startup developed an innovative API insurance service platform designed to digitize the entire insurance process, showcasing a transformative approach to insurance accessibility. In May 2021, Jihan’s groundbreaking endeavor garnered recognition and support, with the startup raising $1.8 million in seed capital.
Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu
Ethiopian entrepreneur Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, a transformative woman in tech from Africa, turned her observation of unexploited artisan skills in her community in Ethiopia into a revolutionary enterprise, SoleRebels. Founded in 2004, SoleRebels utilizes local artisan skills and indigenous materials, combining traditional Ethiopian culture with modern design to produce eco-sensitive footwear. By integrating ancient recycling traditions with modern, eco-friendly practices, Bethlehem has propelled SoleRebels to international acclaim, selling in over 30 countries and generating substantial annual revenues, marking it as a sustainable, world-class enterprise.
Rebecca Enonchong, a distinguished African woman in tech, stands as the Founder and CEO of Appstech, a pioneering global enterprise software solutions provider initiated in 1999. Additionally, her innovative spirit led her to co-found I/O Spaces, ABAN, and the Cameroon Angels Network, marking her presence significantly in the tech domain. Her remarkable contributions to technology and innovations have been widely recognized, earning her prestigious awards and accolades such as being listed among the 100 Most Influential Africans in Science, Tech & Innovations by the New African and Jeune Afrique’s 50 Most Influential Africans.
Furthermore, Rebecca’s influence and leadership have been acknowledged by prominent global entities like the World Bank and the World Economic Forum, solidifying her status as a trailblazer and influencer in the tech industry.
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