EUNICE BAGUMA BALL
Africa Technology Business Network
THE BIG QUESTIONS
WHAT IS THE AFRICA TECHNOLOGY BUSINESS NETWORK (ATBN) ABOUT AND WHY DID YOU SET IT UP?
ATBN is a social enterprise focused on supporting start-ups & entrepreneurs particularly female entrepreneurs to build innovative solutions that make a positive impact in Africa. You can learn more about our work at www.africatbn.com
I believe that the only way forward for Africa is for Africans to be empowered to create their own solutions. Technology is a great problem-solving tool and entrepreneurs I believe will be the biggest drivers of change in Africa. I’m particularly passionate about female entrepreneurs because women are most affected by many of the challenges in Africa and therefore should be leading the way in developing the solutions.
WHAT DO YOU DO ON A DAY-TO-DAY BASIS?
Oversee delivery of our programmes and events, fundraise and promote our work online and at partner events. Our programmes include #HerFutureAfrica, an entrepreneurship accelerator for African female entrepreneurs which we launched in Ghana. We’re also working on a book called Founding Women which highlights role models to inspire young African women and girls to become tech entrepreneurs.
WHAT DID YOU WANT TO DO WHEN YOU WERE A CHILD AND WHAT CHANGED?
I always wanted to be an entrepreneur because I grew up helping my mum in her business. The desire always remained but I had to work in employment for the first 8 years of my career to gain experience but also because in Uganda where I grew up entrepreneurship was viewed as a last resort rather than a viable option if you had a university degree.
WHAT ACADEMIC QUALIFICATIONS DO YOU HAVE?
I have an Engineering degree & masters.
WHAT’S THE BEST CAREER ADVICE YOU’VE EVER BEEN GIVEN?
Find what makes you tick and unique. Rather than try to blend in, embrace what makes you different because it will make you stand out and progress in your career.
WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL AND WHY?
My mum. She built a successful business against so many odds and managed to raise a family of 6 kids while at it.
WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT YOUR CURRENT WORKING ENVIRONMENT?
Being able to do something I am really passionate about which is supporting start-ups & female entrepreneurs in Africa, and the freedom to do it on my own terms through an organisation I founded.
WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE ABOUT YOUR DAILY WORK ROUTINE IF YOU COULD?
I would make more time for reading and learning. At the moment as the organisation is still in the early stages I find it difficult to find time to invest in my own learning and development.
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF PROFESSIONALLY IN FIVE YEARS’ TIME?
I see myself having grown my organisation into an established one with a dedicated small team and having supported thousands of entrepreneurs and impacted millions of lives through our programmes.
DO YOU FEEL YOU CAN BE THE SAME PERSON AT WORK AND IN PRIVATE?
Now that I run my own business yes. When I worked in employment I never felt I could bring 100% of myself to my work.
WHERE AND IN WHAT ROLES ARE WOMEN IN THE LEADERSHIP STRUCTURE AT YOUR COMPANY?
Our management team, volunteers and board of advisors are 80% female. We are a women-led and women-focused organisation.
DOES DIVERSITY MATTER TO YOU?
As an African woman running a business in the UK, yes it does matter deeply and I am a big champion for racial and gender equality.
HOW GOOD IS YOUR WORK LIFE BALANCE?
I enjoy my work and I’m really passionate about it that there’s really a blurred line between my work and my life. I think there are times I need to be better at switching off but overall I’m quite happy with my work-life at the moment.
WHAT QUALITIES DOES BEING IN YOUR ROLE NECESSITATE?
Being a founder is really tough and 90% of the battle is in your mind. You have to build resilience to just keep going when it looks like everything is falling apart. You also have to have the ability to function amidst so much uncertainty and learn to keep putting one foot in front of the other even when it feels like you have no idea what you are doing!
ANY FINAL COMMENTS?
If you are some who is passionate women's empowerment, tech and entrepreneurship, then please do grab a copy of our Founding Women book! It's a book sharing the inspiring entrepreneurship journeys of African female entrepreneurs in tech and each book sold will help provide mentorship to enable a young African woman kick-start her business. Learn more here: http://www.herfutureafrica.org/founding-women