International Women’s Day 2022 series #BreaktheBias

Interview with Oyinkansola Adebayo

Founder of Niyo Enterprise

Oyinkansola runs Niyo enterprise, a company that specializes in using technology to economically empower Black women. The organisation currently has two brands: Niyo Hair and Beauty and Niyo Network. Niyo Hair and Beauty is a technology driven mobile afro hair and beauty service that services 400 clients across the midlands whilst economically empowering hairstylists.

Niyo Network exists to empower Black women to pursue their business ideas and career aspirations through technology driven bootcamps.

Oyin holds a MSc in Development Economics and a BA in Business Management & Economics.

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Your work as Founder of Niyo Network provides a platform to economically empower Black women using technology. Why do you think it's still important to do this?

Over the years in this industry, I walked into many rooms and realised there weren’t many people that looked like me. There is massive underrepresentation of women, particularly black women working in technology, and even more so in the web 2.0 and 3.0 space in which I am exploring. Whilst I was conducting research as part of my MSc in Development Economics, I came across the BCS (British Computer Society) 2020 report, stated that Black women made up less than 1% in the tech industry. As a result, I knew I wanted to contribute towards changing those statistics for the better.  

A career in tech is a great pathway out of poverty for many women and a chance to build generational wealth, something that most women from ethnic minorities don’t have the privilege of.

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You are a multi-faceted woman working to build your network of brands, what barriers have you faced in your male dominated industry?

In my experience, I’ve noticed that as a woman, it often takes a lot more time and work to be taken seriously. In this industry you share your ideas and dreams and sometimes men demean them without realising. - this can create a barrier to finance and funding. I often tell my mentees to develop a thick skin and advise them on what to expect.

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The theme for this year’s IWD is #breakthebias – what advice would you give to young women wanting to follow in your path of entrepreneurship?

Be authentically you, stick to who you are and what your core values stand for.

If you don’t like what you see – challenge the status quo! You might not realise that so many people want to say the same thing but are afraid to do so.

Finally, take care of your mental health – being an entrepreneur can really take its toll. If you are well, your business will also be well.

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Who is your inspiration?

I’m lucky to be surrounded by many people that inspire me and have the same goals. I would really encourage young women to find a mentor.

One of those is my late dad – he built telecommunications masts in Nigeria to enable people to stay connected, paving the way for a better way of living. At the same time, he lifted so many people up emotionally and he did the same for our family.

I’d also like to give a special mention to the Co-Founder of Apple Bottom Jeans, George Hughes and my therapist, they help to keep me grounded and well rounded!

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What has been a career highlight for you?

I have a few. When we launched the Black Codher bootcamp in December 2019 we secured so much brilliant press coverage, which really helped to boost us in terms of number of enquiries and confidence in our mission. However, we also provide different bootcamps under Niyo Network such as Black Disruptor – Data Analytics and Project Management and Black Disruptor Founders.

Being able to support so many Black women to secure brilliant roles is a huge highlight for me. We land roles for 80% of the women we work with, at brands such as KPMG.

Another recent highlight was meeting the founder of Ethereum – what an inspiration!

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Finally, how do you think Greater Manchester has contributed to your success?

The talent base in Greater Manchester is fantastic to work with – we trained 90 women across the city-region in collaboration with Skillcity at HOST in Media City to do this.

Having the opportunity to train women in Greater Manchester to get into tech to become full stack developers, data analysts, technical architects and Unity Developers through the “Black Codher” Bootcamp was exciting and we’re looking forward to seeing the social impact of this, and how we can take it to the next level! how we can take this further!

Find out more about here: Links - Niyo Network

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