Who is Stephanie Itimi?
Nigerian-born Stephanie Itimi is the founder of Seidea, a social enterprise focused on closing the cybersecurity gender gap and upskilling girls and women from ethnic minority groups with digital skills needed to compete in the modern-day world. She has a track record of facilitating significant development initiatives and was part of the team that pioneered the world’s first public health information service inside the WhatsApp platform. Tackling the issue of fake news during the Ebola Crisis, it provided content in text, images and audio to over 16,000 users in West Africa from the BBC World Service.
Why do you do what you do?
Being both woman and black has allowed me to witness and be a participant to various types of oppression that comes with being in the minority. This is why I am so drawn to technology because it has allowed people to reform their sense of identity through information and mordern age personal branding. It has removed the barriers that once held women back from being economically active. Gone are the days you need a land or a shop to start a business, you can easily start an online shop through a website, social media platforms like instagram and even messaging platforms such as WhatsApp. This links into my first passion which is the informal economy, which is circumstances when one can start a business without the beaucracy of registering it or paying tax. While I am no advocate for tax avoidance, this structure works perfectly in developing nations which have high level of poverty and lower levels of education completion. Technology has created various avenues to reform social structures and reduce the inequalities that exist in society. This is what excites me and pushes me to do what I do, to reduce the barriers faced by women such as myself and to empower them economically by sharing my knowledge. Although I may not be able to save the world, I believe that by helping one woman or girl, I have allowed the world to take one step in becoming better.
What are you passionate about?
I am passionate about using technology and art as a medium to empower minority groups. I am particularly focused on Black, Asiana and Minority (BAME) women.
Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration from God, my mother and website templates. I often like to observe people and I take inspiration from that. This is especially the case of my visual art which is based on the realities of Nigerians in Nigeria and black people in the diaspora,
Tell me about the moment you started the project?
It was in 2012 when I was a model, sharing my photos and being proactive on creative job platforms like StartNow meant that I had to constantly put myself out to potential clients. The process was enlightening, it forced me to come out of my comfort zone and to be open with discussing myself. My current mantra based on personal branding is “If you don’t ask, you don’t get”. This is because by not putting yourself out there you are denying someone from inspiration and blocking your chances of opportunities