9th July 2021 marked the end of the Women In Digital Skills (WIDS) Cohort 13.0. The final day of the class kicked off with a zoom meeting with a resource person, Mrs Jacqueline Hanson-Kotei. The second session saw presentations from the participants and finally awarding of Certificates to the participants.
The first part of the day started with a talk from Mrs. Jacqueline Hanson-Kotei, who is the Senior Manager for Enterprise Information Security & Governance and Lead Information Security Officer at MTN Ghana as well as a Board Member for ISACA Ghana. The discussion was moderated by the Career Development Adviser of Soronko Academy, Ms. Josephine Offei. Mrs. Hanson-Kotei commended the ladies on their graduation and encouraged them to use the skills they have learnt to improve and give back to their communities. She discussed with the ladies how to build a business. She gave them a few pointers for running successful businesses. She further implored the ladies to cultivate a growth mindset, be opened to receive feedback and to be curious and learn more about new things.
Mrs. Hanson-Kotei further spoke about how the internet is an effective tool to manage one’s business. She gave some statistics on how much time is spent on social media and how many people use social media. For instance, 73% of marketers believe that social media is a great place for marketing. She encouraged the ladies to put their great ideas on social media to enhance their businesses after doing research and learning about it to get the best out of the platform for their businesses.
She further spoke about how online payment solutions are seamless and easy to use, mentioning how she was introduced to the Glovo app and thought it made life easy for customers. If businesses use such solutions, it makes it easier for clients. The resource person recommended productivity tools to the ladies, acknowledging the fact that they make your work effective and allow you to get more done within a short period; multitasking to manage time and track progress. She said, “Calendar is a must-have as it helps you stay organized and plan properly.” She recommended the Microsoft suite and a plethora of phone apps.
The last tip she gave was for the participants to focus on easier bookkeeping when running a small business. She said it is meant a tool to have to track transactions, level of business strategies, and effectiveness while tracking the number of customers and transactions. “You need the proper bookkeeping tools to help get accurate data from your business”, she said.
In rounding up, she left some parting words with the ladies. She encouraged them to first lead themselves before they could be leaders, to write their goals and plans down in a book, to also have a growth mindset while improving themselves and stepping out of their comfort zones. And finally, to network more and find a coach or mentor. Teiko, one of the participants, asked Madam Jacqueline if her organization was open to taking on interns. The response given was, “not at the moment” and that it would be communicated when something comes up. Another lady, Sannah wanted to know what to do to overcome shyness when approaching people for networking, to which Mrs. Hanson-Kotei responded that one had to build up courage and make a move, but should not be deterred when ignored a number of times and keep pushing. Finally, Ms. Josehphine thanked the resource person for her time and ended the first session.
For the second part of the day, the ladies divided themselves into groups of two classes for their presentations. The first class, which was handled by Trainer Moses, had six groups, with each group containing between three to five ladies. Each group took turns presenting on the websites they developed together. They spoke about the services their businesses provided and how to contact the organization. They told the class what features made their website special. This ran through almost all the presentations as most groups displayed beautifully designed websites and all the amazing features that made them unique. The groups presented on websites designed for businesses centred on beauty and skincare, bakery, restaurants, clothing, health, and fashion. A few students took it a step further to present on websites they had created for their personal businesses. Some commendable ones are Fashion Hub by Emma, Golden sparks events by Esther, Crotchet by GG, and Samuel-Louis Communications by Teiko.
The second class was overseen by Trainer Jerry. There were four groups in total for this class and each group was also made up of three to five participants. All groups displayed their beautifully developed website designs before the class and spoke about the features that made these sites unique. They also focused on businesses such as restaurants, sale of beauty products and accessories. It was also important to note a student who took the extra step to develop websites for their personal businesses. Baaba presented on a website for ProEats Foods, which is her healthy breakfast business.
The final activity of the day was the presentation of certificates. Before the students were called out, one of the trainers, Mr Jerry Aidoo, congratulated the ladies on their completion of the six-week course and urged them to continue practising the skills they learnt during that period. He also mentioned that they could always reach out to Soronko Academy if they needed any assistance or had any concerns. The students were called to receive their certificates of participation and these certificates were presented to the ladies by Ms Harriet Bampoe and Ms Josephine Offei. After all the presentations, the ladies were asked to step out for a group photo, after which they all networked and dispersed.
There were some internet and technical challenges at the beginning of today’s session, especially during the zoom meeting with the resource person. And also last-minute corrections on the website as the ladies had some server challenges. The trainers admitted to having mutual respectful relationships with the ladies as most of them were also very open to learning. Trainer Moses complained about the carefree attitude and lack of passion of a few students he actually thought had so much potential. He recommended that a longer duration of study would yield better results and also paid to host for the ladies would help curb the challenge of having to start websites from scratch.