According to the Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs, 21.9% of businesses in South Africa are owned/run by women, which is a statistic that is positively growing every year. The online industry is innovative and fast-paced with new technology, apps, and upgrades launched every day. Internationally, women and men are making considerable progress in the field.
We share some of the top businesswomen of the world to watch and highlight a couple of entrepreneurial tips that could help spark success.
Top women to watch in technology
1. Dr. Fei-Fei Li
Fei-Fei Li has made a name for herself in the field of artificial intelligence and computer vision. Some of her career highlights include her role in creating ImageNet, and directing the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, where she contributed to ground-breaking research in computer vision, machine learning, and cognitive neuroscience. She was also the Chief AI Officer at Google Cloud. She is currently the inaugural Sequoia Professor in the Computer Science Department at Stanford University.
2. Safra Catz
Safra Catz is an executive leader in the software industry with her prominent role as CEO of Oracle, an American multinational computer technology corporation. Under Catz’s leadership, Oracle underwent a significant transformation to embrace Cloud computing and related services, making the company a major player in the Cloud industry.
3. Sara Menker
Sara Menker is an entrepreneur known for her contributions to the technology industry, particularly in the field of agriculture and data analytics. She is the founder and CEO of Gro Intelligence, a technology company that leverages big data and artificial intelligence to provide agricultural insights and analytics. The platform helps to address food security challenges worldwide.
4. Susan Wojcicki
Ever wondered who led YouTube to stardom? Until recently it was Susan Wojcicki. Under her leadership, YouTube experienced substantial growth, expanded its content offerings, and implemented innovative features to enhance user experience. She was also an integral part of Google and worked on Google’s advertising and analytics products.
5. Diane Greene
Diane Greene is a technology entrepreneur with significant contributions in the field of Cloud computing and virtualisation. She co-founded VMware in 1998, a pioneering company in virtualisation technology. And interestingly, Diane also spent time at Google as head of Google Cloud. She serves as a board member of various companies including Stripe, A.P. Moller – Maersk, and Wix.com.
Tips to becoming a successful entrepreneur
Do you dream of starting a business and becoming your own boss? Entrepreneurship isn’t a magical shoe that fits everyone. It requires self-motivation, confidence, and the ability to inspire others with your idea. Added to this, not all ideas succeed. If this doesn’t scare or put you off, well done. You’ve passed the first test. Read on as we share tips that could help you in securing the success of your start-up.
What’s your BIG idea?
Whatever you want to sell needs to tick these three boxes:
- It must solve a problem.
- It must be something that interests you.
- And it must be of great quality.
- Whether it is a product or a service, make sure you’ve got your pitch down to a tee. If you don’t believe in what you sell, no one else will.
Do the groundwork and stay agile
Make sure you stay on top of what’s happening in the industry and what your competitors are doing. What are they getting right or wrong? The key to making it in business is to never stop researching and evolving your idea so you can futureproof it for tomorrow. Create a business plan and update it regularly.
Get a mentor
When it comes to business – some things change while other things stay (pretty much) the same. Therefore, it will serve you well to learn from other entrepreneurs and to take their good advice to heart. A mentor is first prize. Someone who can sit with you regularly, who can play ‘devil’s advocate’ and poke holes in your ideas that need better structuring and also help you overcome challenges.
Use free or affordable tools and AI
Thanks to technology and AI there are free apps you can download and cost-effective tools you can sign up for. Technology can help you improve certain tasks and do others for you.
For example, a website builder – to get your start-up online, or an app like ClickUp that can incorporate many other apps’ data onto one platform and can switch views from Board to List formats (their free version is considerably worthwhile for any start-up) and the perfect way to manage your employees’ productivity. Use technology to make your life easier.
Invest in the right people and infrastructure
While it is great to be super productive and organised, you can’t build your empire alone. When the time comes to hire people, focus on getting the skills that you lack, first. Get the basics right too. You will need a website, a great domain name, and monthly web hosting you can trust. You will also need a legal person and someone that’s great at doing the books.
Remember: Your lawyer, accountant, and designer do not need to be part of your in-house staff. You can outsource work to these types of businesses when you need it.
If the thought of large, busy conferences is making you feel uneasy, don’t worry! Networking can be lowkey too. Although it would be good to attend a formal networking event every now and again, most of your networking can take place online (via LinkedIn) or during one-on-ones, whatever you feel comfortable with. As an entrepreneur, it is important to meet new people, and form collaborations to get and share referrals.
Take care of yourself
You are the most important person in your business. The health of your business is therefore directly linked to your health. Prioritise your wellness. Exercise, follow a balanced diet, and get enough sleep. Also, there is value in taking some creative distance from your business every so often to think outside of the box and grow.