By Amy Juelsgaard, Program Associate
Abiola Ilupeju, 2015 fellow of Nigeria, launched the Pink iT Women Empowerment Programme in October. Sponsored by the U.S. Consulate, the initiative provides a free, 16-week training on software development and entrepreneurship, followed by a six-week internship at a software development company. During the training, participants will attend workshops on Saturdays and complete hands-on practical assignments remotely or at a working space in the city of Opebi during the week. Volunteer software engineers, entrepreneurs, business development consultants and life coaches will conduct the trainings throughout the program. “It is our desire to bring about the next big thing in the Nigerian software industry by empowering our women to be the game changers,” PinkiT shares on its website.
To apply for the program, women must be unemployed female graduates of STEM, and finalists must be willing to commit six full months to the program. Ten women will be selected for the program’s first cohort in January 2017. Eileen Brewer, five-year Professional Mentor and Director of the Security Appliance Team at Symantec, will serve as one of the selection judges. She and Abiola met during the 2015 program when Eileen served as her mentor.
“I mentored Abiola at Symantec in 2015 and she proved to be a very focused and hardworking Emerging Leader (EL). We worked on her business plan and the PinkiT initiative during her mentoring time. I have watched her progress over the last 14 months and have been very impressed with her successes. Being a judge for Abiola’s programming boot camp increases my understanding of the local demographics, which helps me become a better mentor to women from this region. We don’t stop mentoring just because our ELs fly home; we continue the relationship as we would support a sister no matter where she is located,” Eileen said.
In addition to Eileen, four other individuals will serve on the selection committee, including Adejare Amoo, Managing Director at Corporate Minds Associates; Chioma Chima, Managing Director at Olivet Cloud Solutions; Olufunbi Falayi, Co-Founder of Passion Incubator; and Erica Nwankwo, Design Education Evangelist at Autodesk. With her initiative, Abiola hopes to incorporate more women into the software development industry and decrease the gender gap across the field.