Farida Bedwei, Co-Founder, Logiciel – Ghana
Farida is the Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Logiciel, a Ghanaian software company that develops technology solutions which promote financial inclusion for the unbanked. Diagnosed with cerebral palsy at a young age, Farida is a well-known disability- rights advocate and has been featured widely in global media, including CNN African Voices. She has been recognised with a number of awards and was named one of the most influential women in business and finance in Ghana. In this interview she shares her inspiring story of overcoming disability to achieve success.
Excerpts below are from her interview with Eunice Baguma Ball, author of the book, Founding Women.
Nobody is perfect. We all have a part of us that doesn’t work well. Identify your disability and turn it into greatness.
How have you overcome the challenges of entrepreneurship and navigating the technology sector, particularly as a young woman with a disability?
I love the fact that in technology your work speaks for you. I could sit in the office and develop something good and nobody would know who was behind it. By the time they got to know who had developed that great product, I would have proven myself so they would not be able to discriminate against me. I think as a disabled person you build up a lot of resilience because you are constantly faced with challenges. Everyday things like figuring out how to get up a flight of stairs or navigating your way around can be a challenge, so you grow accustomed to finding other ways of doing things. I apply these same principles in my work and life when I am faced with challenges. I tell myself, “You can do this, you’ve done more difficult things and survived. And even if you don’t make this deal or you can’t do this task, life goes on”. My faith has also played an important role. I’m a Christian and believe in God so I pray and hand things over to Him. I always remind myself that it is God who has brought me this far and He will surely see me through the rest of my journey.
What is your proudest achievement on your entrepreneurship journey so far?
I am proud of many things. Number one is the fact that I have been able to get this far. Even for a man, running a technology company in this part of the world is not easy You have so many factors against you. For example, many people still don’t believe we can produce technology solutions locally, so they will go out and source from other parts of the world. Having to compete with some of these international companies is a big challenge for local technology companies in Africa. Another achievement I am proud of is the fact that I have developed systems over the years that are still being used today.The ground-breaking one was a micro-finance software I developed called gKudi, which is being used by almost 300 micro-finance companies in Ghana. I’m proud not just about the success of the platform but also the impact it is having. The fact that because of my solution, a micro-finance company in a remote part of the country can now issue a loan to someone who really needs it – this is what gives me the most satisfaction.