We had the chance to talk to Victoria Adetuyi, who participated in Technovation in 2011, and is currently the Program Development Fellow at Empower Generation, an intern at the Tory Burch Foundation and working towards her Masters of Science in Sustainability Management at Columbia University. Victoria took time from her very busy schedule to answer some of our questions and share her insight with the Technovation community.
Tell us about yourself!
Currently, I am interning at the Tory Burch Foundation, the mission of the foundation is to provide women with access to tools and resources that allow them to thrive in the business world. The foundation understands that when women have access to capital, education, and resources they are more equipped to succeed. We have a variety of partnerships that provide women with the tools that improve their business acumen. In parallel I am also the Program Development Fellow of a social enterprise called Empower Generation. Empower Generation works primarily in Nepal to support women micro-entrepreneurs who distribute solar technology in the region. This not only gives the community access to energy but it also empowers women as they drive their own businesses.
These two internships and fellowships have been great as I work on a masters of science in the area of Sustainability Management at Columbia University. An interest area of mine has always been women’s empowerment and ways to create more opportunities for women in a changing global environment. Being a California native, I have found that New York has provided the right atmosphere for me to jump outside of my comfort zone and learn at a new pace about an area I am really passionate about.
What’s your favorite part of being an entrepreneur?
Although I am not an entrepreneur, my previous role was a Program Assistant for the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship based in Silicon Valley. At the Miller Center, our flagship program is the GSBI Accelerator Program. This accelerator program brings in mezzanine cohorts of entrepreneurs and pairs them with Silicon Valley mentors who aid them in improving their businesses through capacity building. Not too different from Technovation, after 8 months of program development and training these social entrepreneurs pitch their businesses in search for investment, additional funding, or partnerships. My favorite part of being a part of the Miller Center was engaging with passionate, driven, talented entrepreneurs whose technology and creations are changing the world. These social enterprises are working with the base of the pyramid, changing lives through their work. Our mission at the Center is to impact 1 billion lives by 2020, and to me that is such a remarkable goal that no matter where you land you never fall short.
Who or what inspired you to become an entrepreneur? Who is your role model?
My inspirations to one day become an entrepreneur stem from our planetary status. The global environmental problems that exist today should inspire us to choose a new framework of action and an alternative paradigm. With climate change increasing, food shortages, and the overall changes we are and will be experiencing we need new technology, innovative minds, and forward thinking individuals to make these changes happen faster. My role model and sources of inspiration I would say are women in various parts of the world who are thriving despite difficulties and adversities they face on a daily basis. Despite the difficulties in accessing education or the threats to their homes and environment, the women that still push forward to achieve their hopes and dreams serve as my inspiration.
What advice would you give to young women interested in going into technology or entrepreneurship?
My advice would be to never give up. Although you will face challenges and maybe the idea you start off with isn’t what you end with, but at the end of the day fail, but then get up, and try again. A remarkable part of entrepreneurship is the ability to start from scratch and to persevere.
Creation and innovation will always present challenges but an important part of the journey is how you cope and your attitude through it all. Also, utilize the resources around you, from programs like Technovation to people around you, who are more willing to help than we think. At the end of the day as long as you stay true to yourself and are willing to work hard you would be surprised at how great the outcomes turn out to be!
Has Technovation shaped your career in any way?
Through Technovation, my eyes were opened to the vast amount of opportunities that exist for women in the tech world. In a traditional high school academic route we focus on “basic” subjects which are extremely useful but we often are not exposed to the world of tech. Technovation provided me with skills that I have used in my most recent work experiences. Understanding business plans, pitching, marketing research, target market, product development, competition, are all topics that were covered in Technovation and are all items that I encounter on a daily basis in my professional career. Technovation provides women with a leg-up in the industry and helps to illuminate what is out there, opening new doors for the career paths of women and girls.