Years in Tech
Managing Director, Sure Group
Business Development, General Management, Product & Project Management, People Management, Strategy & Growth Hacking, FinTech Expert, E-Commerce, Marketing & Partnerships
14th December, 2018
Omolara Awoyemi is a technology professional with years of experience in the e-commerce and fintech sectors. She currently serves as the Managing Director of SureGroup, a group of leading global platforms for non-cash value transfer. SureGroup has 3 business in its portfolio – SureGifts, SureRemit and SureCredit. SureGifts is the leading provider of retail and corporate gift cards in Nigeria and Kenya with clientele such as Airtel, Oando, Dangote, Diamond Bank and others. SureRemit is a blockchain enabled global remittance platform that allows people buy vouchers for their relatives in more than 23 countries – the company became the first Nigerian company to float an ICO raising $7m in the process. SureCredit is a corporate short term loan solution being used by corporates in Nigeria.
She previously served as Country Manager of JumiaPay – Jumia’s payments, financial services and financial inclusion company, and the Head of Partnerships for the Jumua Group.
Lara serves on the advisory board of Nigerian Women Techsters and is an associate member of Women in Management, Business and Public Service (WIMBIZ) and Women-In-Tech Africa. She is an Obama Foundation African Leader (the inaugural class of 2018).
She is very passionate about building tech for women and supporting women in tech and as a result founded Girls In Technology, an initiative where girls are funded to get trained in web design and software engineering. Fund sources include personal funds, friends, and corporate organizations who desire to support females in tech as part of their CSR. After training, they are mentored and placed in supporting organizations for hands-on experience.
Omolara has a BSc. degree in Computer Science from the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria, a Harvard Business School Online Certificate in Business Readiness and attended executive education for CIOs at UC Berkeley, California, USA.
Prior to SureGroup and Jumia, Omolara worked at leading African technology companies such as Iroko TV and MTech Communications.
She is married with two children.
What experiences led you to technology and how did you develop the skills to compete in the industry?
I had the opportunity of interning at MTech Communications, one of the earliest VAS companies and was exposed to the many possibilities that the intersection of mobile devices and internet afforded. From that point, I only sought out work in companies that were consumer tech-enabled, with a clear mission on learning and working in cross-functional roles as much as possible. My early work experience in two startups at the start of the decade (Iroko and Jumia) also taught me a lot I know across digital media and ecommerce.
How has your background helped/differentiated you in the tech industry?
Working in tech startups has given me the opportunity to learn in a few years what would have taken 2-3x more years in traditional companies. Everyone is a manager of some sort, where you are saddled with making key decisions from your first month on the job. At Jumia in particular, I led several projects that impacted millions of users which really helped me grow and understand how to create real value using tech. Learning opportunities like this are scarce – I’ve been lucky in that regard.
What advice would you give to women considering a career in technology? What do you wish you had known?
Stay focused and prove your worth. Devote yourself to being knowledgeable, especially on trends and new disruptions.
Find your passion. You will be successful in your field as long as you have a real passion for it.
Be open – open to new ideas and open to change.
Plan and always be available. You want to have a career plan but sometimes an opportunity will arise that you didn’t expect and hadn’t considered. When that opportunity comes, grab it!
Also, get mentors! It’s a blessing to have people you can look up to, and also shape your career after. You can learn from their own past struggles and mistakes, and equally, take great advise that will stir you in the right directions.