ENTREPRENEUR OF THE WEEK- OREOLUWA SOMOLU LESI
Oreoluwa Lesi is the Founder and Executive Director of the Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre (W.TEC).
W.TEC is a Nigerian nonprofit
organisation set-up in 2008 to encourage more girls to pursue technology careers
and support women (entrepreneurs and in civil society) to use technology
confidently to increase their economic power and ability to speak about issues
affecting their lives. W.TEC’s programmes include technology camps, afterschool
technology clubs, research and mentoring.
Through her work at W.TEC, she has designed high-quality programming for 23,000 girls and women across the 6 geo-political zones of Nigeria – including camps, afterschool clubs and workshops. The beneficiaries learnt to create technology – including applications, games, websites, short films and other digital content – and to use technology safely and productively.
PROFILE OF OREOLUWA SOMOLU LESI
- Oreoluwa Somolu Lesi’s early years were spent in Nigeria. With an electrical engineer father, she fell in love with technology from childhood which led to her developing a software application that was used to run her parent’s bookshop.
- She attended Queen’s College, Lagos for her secondary school education.
- Immediately after secondary school, she studied diploma course in computer programming.
- She proceeded to United Kingdom where she studied economics and graduated with bachelor’s degree in economics from University of Essex
- She obtained, master’s degree in analysis, design and management information from London School of Economics and Political Science.
- She studied Applied Sciences at Harvard University Extension School
- She also obtained a Certificate in Social Sector Management from Pan African University’s Enterprise Development Centre.
- Through the programmes at her NGO, close to 10,000 girls have learnt to create technology – including applications, games, websites, short films and other digital content.
- She has also designed and overseen programmes that support women in their use of technology for entrepreneurship, career development, learning and leadership activities.
- Her interests are the applications of technology in improving lifelong learning and also to raise the economic and social conditions of people (especially women and children) in the developing world.
- Oreoluwa’s work has also been showcased in the broadcast and print media, including EbonyLife TV, Channels TV, NTA 2, Channel 5, NTA Channel 10, LTV, Guardian, The Nation, Punch, Business Day, Champion, Daily Independent.
- Her Career: In the UK, she worked with Lonadek Oil and Gas Consultancy where she managed CSR Initiative-2020. She also worked with EDC in the United State on research project. She returned to Nigeria in the year 2005 She established W.TEC in the year 2008.
- He She is a Vital Voices Lead Fellow (awarded to emerging and established women leaders across the world), Ashoka fellow (a network of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs) and a recipient of the Anita Borg Change Agent Award (for her commitment to supporting women in computing in Nigeria).
- She has been recognized with the following awards: SME100’s 100 Most Innovative Female-Owned Businesses in Nigeria for 2017, one of YNaija!’s Top 100 Young People in Technology of 2016 and 2014, one of New African Woman Magazine’s Top African Women in Technology in 2014 and with a 2014 ‘Chosen Youth’ Leadership Award from LaRoche Foundation.
- She is married to Gboyega Lesi and resides in Lagos.