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REGINA AGYARE: AFRICA’S RISING TECHNOLOGY STAR

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“Coming from a technology background, I mostly worked behind the scenes or let the men take the lead. I had to learn to assert myself, communicate and be heard. I made sure that once I had my voice, I spoke for those who didn’t -- especially women”

-  Regina Agyare

Regina Agyare, the Ghanaian CEO of Soronko Solutions, is a young, dynamic, software developer and social entrepreneur, with a passion for finding new ways to harness technology to promote social change in West Africa. Agyare, who graduated from Ghana’s Ashesi University in 2005 as one of the top software developers in her class with a degree in Computer Science, was the only girl that wanted to study Computer Science, and that made her an outcast – as all her classmates wondered why. Upon graduation, without a female figure to look up to in the field in Ghana or anywhere else, Agyare decided to put a hold on her dream, and worked in various positions such as a Product Manager for Internet Applications at Rancard Solutions, Product Manager for Ebusiness Applications at Zenith Bank and Management and Information Systems Supervisor at Fidelity Bank – where she was the first and only woman in the IT department. Agyare 2 Agyare, whose first interaction with computers was at the age of 12 (when her father bought her first computer), became fascinated with computers after playing Pac-Man on it. After this encounter, she knew then that she wanted to work with computers, as she was fascinated by the mode of interaction between her and the machine, i.e. commands and responses. She made it known to her family that she wanted to study computers and they encouraged and supported her all through. Regina After six years in the banking/technology industry, upon much discouragement, Agyare decided to follow her passion and founded her own social start-up called Soronko Solutions in March 2012. Soronko Solutions is a social enterprise which creates and manages ventures that apply technology to promote social development, using basic mass technology to drive human potential. It also develops innovative technology solutions across different channels such as Web, Mobile, POS and ATM to solve problems. Through Soronko, Agyare has been working on how the disabled in Ghana can use technology to integrate better in their communities; and she has accomplished this by introducing deaf girls to technology at the State Deaf School, Ghana to apps that help promote communication in a society where use of sign language is limited. She is also equipping rural Ghanaian children with the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and critical thinking skills to solve the problems they live with every day and fight poverty. Ironically, despite being discouraged by her previous employers when she set out on her own, Soronko Solutions’ first client was the same bank! And she’s been able to work successfully off of referrals ever since. Soronko Solutions are also currently helping Small and medium Scale Enterprises in Ghana create visibility and grow their business with technology. Agyare has revealed an application, which she’s working on, for a location-based service for small businesses in Ghana that don’t have visibility and are losing businesses to big companies. This app will provide a location-based online directory on people’s mobile phones so they can find these smaller businesses. For example, if you search for ‘Shoes’ it will list small businesses, contact info, address, etc. Regina Agyare is an Aspen Institute New Voices Fellow and a GOOD fellow, passionate about getting more women to find their voice and pursue their dreams and create technology. She founded ‘Tech Needs Girls Ghana’ – a movement to get girls to code and create technology. She has represented Ghana on the Apprentice Africa program, and is a Global Shaper of the Accra hub of the World Economic Forum and a Change Leader with Tigo Reach For Change. Regina with Tech Needs Girls Ghana Agyare loves to mentor and has been invited to speak and mentor at technology fairs, Universities and events like Startup weekend Accra; she also mentors online with the Women’s Tech Connect Global Mentoring program. “I want to continue making and measuring the impact, building (code) things we can use around and get an investor who would be interested in helping us grow.” Follow her on twitter at @ragyare   Written By: Olusola Agbaje

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