“Work hard, think big and never give up. When you do experience success, stay humble. Success is not linear; you will experience ups and downs. Humility helps keep it all in perspective.”
Rebecca Enonchong is a tech entrepreneur and the Founder of AppsTech, a global provider of enterprise application solutions serving clients in more than 50 countries.
Thanks to her work championing and promoting technology entrepreneurship in Africa, she has received widespread recognition, including being named a Global Leader for Tomorrow (GLT) by the World Economic Forum and one of the top female tech founders to watch in Africa by Forbes.
In an interview with Eunice Baguma Ball, she shared her experience as a leading lady in the tech space and the challenges she’s had to overcome. Here are some excerpts from the interview;
“When I started my company, I knew the types of customers I needed were very large companies and I quickly realised that many of them were not going to give such a bog contract to this Black, African woman. So in the beginning I hid behind a corporate structure.
For instance, my business cards didn’t have a title. I simply worked for AppsTech. I would walk into a meeting and be a salesperson, engineer or whatever I needed to be at that moment in front of that particular customer. I didn’t lie. I didn’t have to because no one ever thought that it could be my company anyway. Even years later when I started using the title of CEO, most people believed I was just a front for somebody or some other entity.
I remember one particular incident where we had a customer service issue with a very important client and I had to get involved. I made a call to the client and my Vice President of Technology Services, who is a white male, was with me. As soon as I started the call the client asked to speak directly with the Vice President. So I let my Vice President lead the call and towards the end he told the client he would need to run what they had discussed by me for approval. It took a bit of back and forth before it sunk in that I was the boss. The client later called me and apologised profusely. I think that’s the only time I’ve ever gotten an apology in these situations.
But at the end of the day what matters is your ability to deliver. One of the reasons I love technology is that it is a great equaliser. As long as your solution works and you are able to consistently deliver value to your customers, you will succeed. But it can be tough in the beginning when you are trying to get your foot in the door. So unfortunately, sometimes you may have to fake it till you make it.”