Few people would name Benin as being synonymous with tech innovation, but hub EtriLabs are trying to change a few minds and mindsets. We’re delighted to be supporting them with a grant of $22,500 towards their core costs and WHISPA (Women High Impact Startup Preparation Academy) programme, which aims to support female tech entrepreneurs. As in other parts of the world, women are underrepresented in the technology sector in Benin. There are varied and complex reasons as to why the tech sector fails to recruit women and why women and girls do not see careers in technology as viable, desirable or even accessible. Etrilabs’ WHISPA programme is trying to change that by providing a supportive environment for women interested in starting up their own tech businesses through a combination of training, mentorship and access to technology. Over the course of the next five years, Etrilabs hope to train up to 125 women in different aspects of technology and provide a platform from which women in Benin can gain knowledge and access to careers in IT.
Battling preconceptions and entrenched ideas about jobs and gender is a problem for every country. Around the world there are countless examples of industries and sectors suffering from a gender imbalance and pay gaps. While EtriLabs can’t tackle Benin’s tech problem alone, it’s really exciting to see an organisation accept the challenge and we look forward to following their progress.