Nature Publishing Group’s sister company Digital Science, alongside Ogunte CIC, the organisation for Women Social Entrepreneurs, are hosting a new Impact Women event, to be held in London on October 13th.
The event will be a healthy, fast-paced mix of peer mentoring, coaching, keynote tips, and of course drinks and nibbles! It’s an opportunity to make women who navigate in this space more visible – but the invite is open to all interested in this arena.
To whet your appetite for this event, to be held in our London office, we thought we would host a Q&A with Ogunte CIC’s founder, Servane Mouazan.
1. Hi Servane, tell us about Ogunte and the type of community you are building.
I believe in impact made by women. I founded Ogunte CIC, [ www.ogunte.com] a pioneering organisation that contributes to “building a better world powered by women”. We have helped thousands of women social entrepreneurs, but also their ecosystem of support providers (incubators, finance providers, media) – to make a positive impact of people and planet, by enabling them to learn, lead, and connect.
Our aim is to make women changemakers genuine household brands in the world and create a ripple effect for good. We created Make a Wave, the first UK incubator for women social entrepreneurs, developed the International Women’s Social Leadership Awards, focusing on the achievements of women-led good businesses. We offer a gender lens on ways to change people’s world.
When I am not running Ogunte, I advise and coach people on Conscious Innovation, helping people to prototype love (yes, love!) through amazing learning experiences.
2. What myths do women need to break to feel they ought to access the tech / digital science community
I think any entrepreneur who succeeds is someone who focuses on a bold vision, on and what’s possible, what is needed to fulfil someone’s needs. Of course, there’s always a moment when you realise you can’t code, or you can’t do proper financial forecasts or you haven’t cracked that latest genetic riddle. We ought to think like artistic scientists, assume that there is enough around us to make something happen and get busy, get creative, get productive. I am very fond of bio-mimicry and I believe in modelling nature to find simple solutions, including the way we behave. Tech/ digital science is key to solve our simple day-to-day problems. It is part of our environment. So when women ask bold questions and avoid restrictive boundaries from the outset, they are creating huge waves.
I also want to kill the myth that women are not as “confident” as men… I prefer talking about comfort zones.
Expanding my comfort zone, doesn’t mean that I need to be skilled in everything, or event feel “confident”, it’s more about learning to trust my vision, articulate what I want, engage with the right people, and make my vision alive, attractive, something that people want more than anything.
3. We are celebrating Ada Lovelace. What kind of pioneering Ada Lovelace do we need today?
We need more women with bold AND SIMPLE visions like Elizabeth Holmes of Theranos . Elizabeth created a way to run 30 lab tests on only one drop of blood.
We need more women producing hybrid services that have a clear impact on people and planet. I am also thinking of the artist Bjork and her educational project Biophilia, where she produced digital apps that help you understand how sound works in nature. You turn into a human sequencer, you “see” science as a beautiful tool, rather than a dusty book. You give space to your creative side and understand the world better.
4. We notice that women investors are also under represented in the tech community. What difference would it make if there were more women sitting on investment panels?
Well, both men and women read business plans and financial information the same way, according to recent studies. What makes the whole experience different is the understanding of what women need, how they make decisions, how they buy a product, how they talk about it, how they attract people to work with them, so a woman investor will certainly contribute to the decision-making process by adding a way to see the world that men wouldn’t have on their own. Also, if more women are on these panels, this will attract more women to pitch. Studies among women entrepreneurs show they don’t feel as comfortable speaking to a man-only panel, about their products/services that solves issues traditionally close to them, or to their close community. They in fact desist before even contemplating pitching. We have to change this if we want innovation to grow. We have to change this if we want the world at large to be more balanced.