Odunayo Eweniyi Talks About Digital Identity and How Women Can Gain More Visibility in the Tech Space

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In a podcast by Seamfix titled Identity and Tech Talk, Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Piggyvest, Odunayo Eweniyi, discussed digital identity, financial inclusion, and how women can get more visibility in the tech space. Here are the major takeaways.

Digital identity accelerates business processes and growth

Digital identity refers to a set of attributes that are conected to only one person or organisation on a digital channel. The major contribution of digital identity to businesses is access.

Eweniyi explained that for businesses, having access to comprehensive details of current or prospective customers is a way to grow. It helps them improve targeting for services, and have holistic views of the customers they are trying to serve.

She explained that for most fintech, the goal is to onboard people who already have an accepted form of digital identity which is the Bank Verification Number (BVN).

In this regard, digital identity promotes financial inclusion because fintechs are looking to onboard customers who can be traced and whose activities they have reasonable control over. This is especially crucial because of the risk of fraudulent activities associated with financial transactions.

Focusing on the lockdown period, digital identity has not been particularly helpful to promote financial inclusion. This is because only people with existing digital identity can access financial services attached to it. People that did not previously have it cannot obtain it while the lockdown is still on.

What makes up a good digital identity?

Using America’s Social Security Number, Eweniyi was of the opinion that a good digital identity should capture information such as birth certificate, driver’s license, bank account details, address and such. It should make everything interconnected and trackable.

From where Nigeria is currently, collaboration between the Government and the private sector would be a good way to start to create a comprehensive digital identity system that provides a one-stop identity module or channel.

As the conversation rolled on, the focus shifted to the gender bias that women encounter in the workplace and in hiring situations.

How Odunayo Eweniyi has thrived despite prevalent gender imbalance

Speaking from her own background, Eweniyi mentioned how her parents raised her to be a fighter and to not take ‘no’ for an answer.

For every single piece of progress I have made, I fought for it, but the flip side to that is that I had incredible men in my life who are also fighting along with me

Odunayo Eweniyi

In her opinion, visibility is a combination of the men understanding that they need to make space for the women, and the women also fighting for what they want.

It is also important for women to surround themselves with the community that does what they are interested in doing, whether they are male or female.

https://technext.ng/2020/04/23/womenintech-how-a-5000-funding-spurred-oreoluwa-lesi-to-empower-more-than-10000-girls-with-digital-skills/

According to Eweniyi, being in male-dominated spaces had been the norm for her as she grew up, and she embraced the fact that no one is better because of their biological makeup. This remained the norm as she progressed to Covenant University to study Computer Engineering, and emerged top of her class.

As the focus shifted a bit to work ethics, Eweniyi mentioned the need for people to also define what they can and cannot do. “People need to be comfortable with saying I don’t know when they don’t know,” she said.

What can women do to improve technical and leadership skills in the workspace?

Speaking generally, because improving skills is something that both men and women need to do, her first nugget was to learn and upskill constantly. She emphasized that there are materials and resources on the internet that have a lot to offer in improving skills.

In addition to learning, there is a huge need for grit and determination.

As the chat moved to an end, she shared how Piggyvest was working on bridging the gender gap and getting more people to take up leadership roles in the organization.

https://technext.ng/2020/03/11/54gene-piggyvest-and-8-other-african-startups-make-fast-companys-list-of-most-innovative-companies/

According to her, appreciating people for their skills when they do well is a good way of bolstering confidence and helping them see their importance in the grand scheme of things.

Another thing she shared from Piggyvest’s culture is the approach to handling mistakes. According to her, sometimes when mistakes are made, it is not enough to correct the mistakes. One has to dig deep and find out what was responsible for the mistake.

Sharing the three values that are non-negotiable for her, Odunayo Eweniyi mentioned that the first is honesty. The second value is that any activity she engages in has to make an impact. And the third is that she gives 110% to whatever she does.

As each one strives to do their part and do it well, visibility is something that can be achieved for all in the tech space.


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