Ethel Cofie is an entrepreneurial powerhouse in the highly competitive and traditionally male dominated tech industry on the African continent. Through her own business building efforts, and as a successful network builder for pan-African women in tech, she is helping to change the face of the industry, breaking down barriers to entry along the way. Today, she works tirelessly to promote entrepreneurship as a viable career proposition for young women interested in the world of IT and technology, and to promote the power of networking for women in tech.
Ethel Cofie is a woman with a genuine passion for technology and is a real advocate for women’s entrepreneurship in the sector. Today, her company Edel Consultancy, which she founded in 2013, is the primary vehicle for driving her technology passion. At the same time, it provides a platform from which to run powerful women in technology networking groups and alliances, focused on education and enhancing women’s careers in the sector. In the preceeding decade, she gained invaluable global industry experience working with a wide range of innovative and transformational tech systems and products in different capacities including Product/Solutions Management, Business Analysis, Software Development, Service Management, Strategy Development and Implementation. Her career path took her to the UK between 2006 and 2009 where she undertook her MSc in Distributed Systems at Brighton University, followed by a corporate position as a Business and Systems Analyst with RDF Solutions. Both proved to be invaluable experiences that were to help shape her next career moves.
“I have 3 passions: Technology, Female Leadership and Empowerment, and Entrepreneurship”
She is also a woman entrepreneur that believes in making a positive contribution to society through her knowledge, expertise and innovative ideas. In 2010, she worked on a number of game changing social projects in Africa, such as the Ford Foundation funded election-monitoring project for Nigerian Elections, and also the Bill and Melinda Gates Funded Mobile Technology for Health. For that project, the focus was on building mobile applications to help the Ghana Health Service to store pregnant mother data and help pregnant mothers with relevant information to avoid child mortality. The project was so successful that it has been implemented in Ghana, Uganda, Tanzania and India, proving that technology can indeed save lives. She was also the Technology Consultant for Dream Perfect in Sierra Leone, working on new Mobile Technology Solutions in the country.
“Technology is extremely important to this continent. For the entrepreneur, it is the way forward if Africa wants live up to its full potential.
Having made a considerable contribution to the success of these social development projects in Africa, she returned to the corporate world, taking up the position of Head of Commercial Solutions at Vodafone in Ghana, responsible for managing a team of technical and business analysts. This new role gave her a different outlet with which to fulfill her passion of supporting businesses in their efforts to provide customers with great services and products, to provide excellent customer service, and make profits by providing excellent and appropriate technology solutions. After resigning from her role at Vodafone in 2013 following a successful career with the company, she launched Edel Consultancy as the new vehicle for driving her passion.
“I failed a lot along the way but learned many lessons, which made it easier to get back up and try again. So persistence was key in my development as a professional and a businesswoman.”
In 2014, Ethel was chosen as one of the prestigious Washington Fellowship Fellows, a new flagship programme of US President Barack Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). This programme brought over 500 young leaders to the United States for leadership training, academic coursework, and mentoring, creating unique opportunities in Africa to put those new skills to practical use. As part of the Fellowship, Ethel interacted with President Obama and other Fellows at a Presidential Summit in Washington DC, participated in an intensive academic and leadership programme at YALE University, and met with U.S. government, civic, and business leaders. Following her completion of the Washington Fellowship, Ethel plans to launch a social media project to help boost and increase tourism to Ghana and create an accelerator venture capital fund to help develop entrepreneurship in Africa. 2014 also saw Ethel acknowledged for her work at the highly prestigious United Nations (UN) and International Telecommunications Union (ITU) GEM Tech Awards, where she was 1 of 5 shortlisted from over 360 nominations under the Category: Promoting Women in ICT Sector.
Today, Ethel contributes significantly to helping other women entrepreneurs in the tech sector in Africa, running the Women in Tech group in Ghana, founding the Women in Tech Africa Alliance, and supporting a large number of tech startups with mentorship and advice, and as a board member.
Why LoA loves it….
Ethel Cofie is a real inspiration, not just to women entrepreneurs in Africa’s tech sector, but to all those women who would like to build a career or a successful business in this highly competitive and male dominated industry. She is living proof that with enough tenacity, self-belief, and a vision to be an industry game changer for the benefit of others, you can achieve incredible results. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and editor-in-chief