Africa is the future and sits at the forefront of the entrepreneurship movement. This strategic placement also has incredible economic and cultural implications for the Mother Continent and the world.
EBONY sat down with South Africa-based entrepreneur and co-founder of Girlhype Women Who Code, Baratang Miya, to learn about her entrepreneurship journey, how she's combating the digital divide for women in her homeland, and her vision for the future of business and entrepreneurship in South Africa.
EBONY: What inspired your journey as an entrepreneur, and what led to you co-founding and launching Girlhype?
Baratang Miya: I have always loved selling things. I grew up in a family of businesswomen and for me, the skill was so ingrained that I knew I can sell and make money. So being an entrepreneur came automatic for me. Founding Girlhype was purely because the digital divide was huge in South Africa. Access to opportunities for boys and girls is totally different. For women and girls, it is difficult to access opportunities. Being a Black woman was very difficult for me, and I needed a platform that would close the gap and increase access for better opportunities. I knew technology was the easiest way to do it. I started working on girl hype 20 years ago before there was social media presence and platforms like Facebook. For me, it was more about making sure that women and girls have access to opportunities.
What is your vision for entrepreneurship in South Africa and Africa as a whole?
My vision for entrepreneurship in South Africa is for us to build our own funding pool, to make sure more people are encouraged to enter entrepreneurship as it increases job creation and competitiveness of the continent itself. Entrepreneurship is key to us solving problems that are facing our continent, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.
Why is Africa the "future of business" and why should more people and investors globally pay greater attention to what is happening in African entrepreneurship?
There are many reasons why Africa is the future of business. The top two reasons are first that 50-60 percent of the African population is youth, and second, Africa is leading the world in adapting and adopting new technologies. This young population is hungry for success and willing to take risks, which is what entrepreneurship is all about. Having a pool of risk-takers means they will take risks to create a better future.