Excellence Anurika Joshua is a Founder, Digital Media Consultant, a Pan Africa social entrepreneur, and a blooming African development expert who has trained and created job opportunities for over 3000 young African Women in the Tech Space since 2019.
With her passion for young women, she founded Techy Train Incubator, a Nigerian-based onshore and offshore training and outsourcing organization that specializes in equipping African young women and female entrepreneurs with digital skills to empower them to get jobs in their countries and to also maximize remote job opportunities around the world, reducing the gender wage gap and to also support capacity-building among African companies and startups development worldwide.
She started an initiative in 2021 under the Techy Train incubator to train young ladies & women for Free, especially those with financial challenges and with no jobs to cater for themselves and their children. As there are so many opportunities in the Tech and online space that are yet to be tapped, she believes that with thorough guidance and training she can help women especially those who are suffering in abusive marriages become financially independent with just their phones and data helping them set up a thriving business online.
She then set up The Tech-Up Girls Initiative with her team to empower 5000 young women across Africa with basic digital skills before the end of 2022. So far, over 3330 have been empowered from across 19 countries in Africa and assisted over 400 women in being gainfully self-employed using digital skills.
In 2019, she became a World Bank Fellow, and won the AGS survivor-woman award; in 2020 she won the Wrapper Initiative award by Erelu Bisi Fayemi and became the winner, Mentoring Her Pitchaton as well as the 1st Runner-Up of The Youth Innovation Challenge by The Funding Space. In 2021, she emerged as one of the winners of the Startup Lab Pitch Competition of the Nigeria Tech Summit.
As a Business and Digital media consultant, she obtained certifications from the International Association of Professions Career College, the School of Marketing, and The Call Centre School. She also obtained a Mini Masters in Business Administration from the International Finance Corporation (a World Bank Group) as well as other certifications in business, finance, and marketing.
She is an alumna of the Enterprise Development Centre of Pan Atlantic University; an alumna of the Academy of Women Entrepreneurs and a member of the International Association of Professional Social Media Consultants (IAPO).
To widen her horizon of knowledge to better develop more sustainable solutions towards the socio-economic development of African women and the world at large, she applied and got admitted into a graduate degree program in Global Inclusion and Social Development at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, USA.
She is a trailblazer who is passionate about using technology to drive change across areas in women, health, and education. Excellence shares her inspiring story.
What does it take to be a digital media consultant?
To be a digital media consultant you must first learn and take a course with a reputable organization. There are some things you need to know. So, most times when people think about digital marketing or digital media, they think about social media but it is really beyond social media.
You must touch around social media, email marketing, basically the online media. Generally, it is just a lot; blogs, SEO and all of that. So, you need to know all of these and if you train with a reputable organization, sometimes you are given a certificate as a consultant.
But for you to actually consult well and deliver results, you need to practice and apply what it is you’ve learnt. Yes, that is basically what it is. For me, I first did a course at IAP Career College. I did another course with Google, School for Marketing, HubSpot and The Center school.
It takes a lot of learning and practice because when you get to the field, you might actually interact with different businesses and sectors and each one is unique. The way you promote a politician is different from the way you’d promote a business.
How has your work at Techy Train Incubator impacted your life?
So much. It has stretched me in ways that I didn’t think were possible. I didn’t think I was going to do business. I thought that I would be working in one lab, somewhere, finding the cure to some diseases and just publishing my report and presenting my findings to the world.
I didn’t know that someday I would be in business. It has made me meet amazing people. For me, it is more about the impact; the social impact is fantastic. It is literally mind-blowing the effect of the work we do and I am so grateful for the opportunity. It has stretched me. It has expanded my mind. I have learnt so much. I am grateful for how far we have come.
Your programmes are aimed at empowering women and the girl child, how much success have you recorded since you started?
We have recorded huge success. We have trained over 7000 people: women, girls and youths as well. And, we have helped thousands of them get jobs, become employable and earn good money of their own.
Most have used what we taught them to start their own businesses and have actually trained others. It has just been so much. We have recorded impact across 25 countries globally with specifically 21 from within Africa. So, yes, I’d say we have not done badly.
In your opinion, do you think we need to create awareness about the tech sector?
Yes, we need to because the world is currently driven by technology. Technology connects the world and how the world currently works is powered by tech. So, I believe that technology skills are not just skills for the future anymore, they are ‘now’ skills. They are skills that you need now.
They are survival skills that you need now. Irrespective of whatever sector you are in, literally almost every sector is leveraging tech to build and grow. So, I feel that it is important for people to understand digital skills. In creating awareness about digital skills, it is important that the right awareness is what is created.
Most people think tech skills are all about coding or developing big machines but there is so much to tech beyond that. They need to understand basic things like how to use their phones effectively and maximally, or should I say, optimally. Tech skills are supposed to be learnt in continuum, from basic to advanced.
Coding, knowledge of artificial intelligence, machine learning, mobile application development, etc are the most advanced skills. So, I think creating not just awareness, but the right awareness about the tech sector is very important to compete favourably with our counterparts across the world.
You are on a mission to empower 5000 young women across Africa with basic digital skills before the end of 2022, how is that going?
I set up The Tech-Up Girls Initiative bootcamp with my team to empower 5000 young women across Africa with basic digital skills within 3years starting in June 2021. However, this goal was achieved within a year.
So far, over 3330 have been empowered from across 19 countries in Africa and assisted over 400 women in being gainfully self-employed using digital skills. The final cohort where over 1700 young girls are enrolled will be completed by June 24th, 2022.
In January 2022, she set-up the Tech-Up Ladies to teach young Nigerian female graduates how to code and become Software Developers. 9 young ladies were trained within 10 weeks for FREE and completed their training in March 2022
What are some of the challenges you experience in your line of work?
Some of the challenges I have experienced in my line of work include; inconsistent power supply. You don’t have power, you don’t even have fuel to power the generator, it can be a lot of work.
Another thing I have experienced is being able to balance work and family, it can be a whole lot especially parenting my son alone. There are sacrifices and things I have to give up to actually make some things work.
Thirdly, it is not easy to build a business with a good structure in Nigeria. Many things, many people want to relate with you one on one so it was very difficult transitioning that we have a team and this is how things will work.
If not tech, what other dream would you have pursued?
I would have been a researcher and consultant in the health sector with a focus on Haematology. So, I would have loved to do some research work, studying blood diseases specifically Haemoglobinopathy.
Things like anaemia and sickle cell disease trying to find cures or explore possible management for them. So, I would have continued with what I studied and pursued a career in health.
Are there women in the tech sector you look up to for inspiration?
Yes. There are quite a number, especially people like Toyosi Akerele-Ogunsiji who is doing a lot in terms of policy, I really admire her. I really admire her work, resilience, and courage.
I admire Ms Jane Egerton-Idehen of Meta. I also admire Dr. Lola Adeyemi of MentoringHer so so much, Mrs. Mariam Adeyemi of Techavilly, Ifeoma Uddoh of Shecluded and Ifedayo Durosinmi-Etti.
What drives Excellence?
What drives me is the fact that I want to live a life where I have options. I feel like I am living life again. This is another chance at life, and I want to have options. I want to be able to make choices.
You can’t make a choice if you do not have two things: money and value, very key. So, every day I am striving to ensure that I have enough of it so that I can make choices. But beyond it, I want to leave an impact.
I want to be able to help as many people as possible to rise from poverty. I want people to live better lives, especially girls because of me. An average African girl does not have so many options, so I really want them to have that. I didn’t have options and it wasn’t nice so I want people to have that.
Where do you see your brand in 5 years?
In the next 5 years, I see Techy Train Incubator as the poster child for girls and women in tech, not just in Nigeria but across Africa.
So that when people want to refer to a Women Enabled Tech Ecosystem. A Women Enabled Tech Company. I want Techy Train Incubator to be among the top on the list mentioned.