The journey into tech for women in Africa is an ongoing discussion largely influenced by cultural norms and societal expectations concerning gender. Bolt, an inclusive mobility company, recognises this and as part of efforts to drive participation and inclusion for women in technology, launched the #Drive4WITech (Drive for Women in Tech) initiative to support young women in Africa. The initiative is an immersive internship programme for young women to challenge the status quo and kickstart a career in the tech space. The goal for Bolt is to equip the interns with preliminary knowledge and hands-on tools required to expand their career paths into areas in technology.
From the vast number of applicants across Africa, nine interns were selected with three from Nigeria. Two of them – Onyekachukwu Orji and Oluwakorede Oseni spoke about their experience. The interns chosen are made up of undergraduate and post-graduates across different interests.
Q: Among the many applications received, you were selected to intern with Bolt in the #Drive4WITech initiative. How did you feel when you were selected?
Oluwakorede: I was excited when I was notified that I had been selected. I saw this as an opportunity to work with a global and inclusive brand that is committed to solving the mobility challenge in Africa. It is an opportunity I have been waiting.
Onyekachukwu: I felt elated to have been selected. I have always been curious about what it would feel like working at Bolt. I am happy and satisfied with the knowledge I have gained during my time as an intern.
Q: What area did you specialise in during the programme?
Oluwakorede: I supported the marketing team at Bolt Nigeria. This provided me with a basic understanding of the necessary skills needed to supervise teams, programmes, and strategically plan for maximum impact.
Onyekachukwu: I specialised in City Operations. I worked closely with Heads of Departments to build strategic solutions to issues as they arose, and it has helped me develop core competence in identifying and resolving issues.
Q: Tell us about the experience and the new skills you learnt during the programme?
Oluwakorede: I had a great experience working at Bolt. In the marketing department, I discovered that marketing plays in promoting business goals and driving sales of products or services. Some of the skills I learnt include creative writing and how to structure the language of blogs and messages, using Emails and push notifications to pass across a clear message. I also learnt how to research and identify the organisation’s target audience which helps in crafting content.
Onyekachukwu: My experience was very exciting. I learnt the importance of teamwork, communication, staying up to date on issues that concern the company, professionalism, time management and discipline. The most important thing I have learnt is the ownership mentality. I must act like I own the business, that way, I would be at my best to ensure that everything runs smoothly and the business stays functional. To observe and think of ways to improve the business, it is paramount to communicate doubts and concerns where necessary. In addition, ask for clarity when in doubt and always being courageous enough to say when or where I lack knowledge. I have also developed analytical skills.
Q: What impact has Drive4WITech had on you and how will it enhance your career?
Oluwakorede: The programme was very impactful. It exposed me to the importance of marketing and the role it plays in the business world. I am more confident, and I believe I more versatile and can provide useful insights. With all these learnings, I am positive of adding immense value in my future roles.
Onyekachukwu: The skills I learnt will play an instrumental role in helping me to build a successful career. I am more equipped to confidently make significant contributions to my future work team.
Q: How do you plan to use the knowledge gained to your advantage in the tech industry?
Oluwakorede: I aspire to own a tech company and to run the company successfully. I have learnt that it is important to manage the brand’s image and proper representation of the brand. I want to use the knowledge gained to build my brand having realised that there is a misconception by tech enthusiasts about other fields. So, the knowledge will be very instrumental to my success in the industry.
Onyekachukwu: I plan to pursue a career in data analytics. With the knowledge gained, I will be able to help businesses optimise their performances and make better consumer decisions, while leveraging on trends and insights for a better customer experience.
Q: Did you have any challenges interning at Bolt?
Oluwakorede: A major challenge was writing and developing content because I initially had little knowledge about how to structure and develop detailed content with accurate language to pass across the right message. However, with the support of my team members who constantly provided guidance, I was able to overcome the challenge and I can boldly say that I am better off than I joined.
Onyekachukwu: No, the company made my internship as accommodating as possible. Whenever I felt overwhelmed, I reached out to my team for support. This has also helped me develop strong organisational skills, where I am more focused on important things.
Q: The Drive4WITech initiative positions Bolt as an inclusive and diverse organization. How immersing was it for you?
Oluwakorede: It was very immersing and educating beyond a regular internship. The programme provided an effective vehicle for me to learn and grow. It also helped me develop strong work ethics that enhance productivity while building expertise working with a diverse team.
Onyekachukwu: It was very engaging. Every team did their best to take us through their task and how they work. The operations team taught us several new processes in data analytics. From what was taught, I now understand more about data, how it is stored, and how to use it better. I also learnt how data can be used to tell a story and find useful insights.
Q: Did the programme meet your expectations?
Oluwakorede: My experience during the programme exceeded my expectations as I did not expect to learn a lot from marketing. It was fun and challenging because there is always a new technique to learn, a case to study, and strategies to research which is very interesting.
Onyekachukwu: I came in with a curious mind and some expectation to learn and practice analytical skills. Even so, the internship curriculum covered more than I expected. It was highly satisfactory.
Q: What is that one thing you will miss about interning at Bolt?
Oluwakorede: I will miss the friendly environment and meetings where I am encouraged to share ideas and ask questions, motivating me.
Onyekachukwu: I will miss the work culture and healthy workspace that encourages growth, as well as my team; especially Onyinye, Bimbo and Miracle.