1200. Simi Awokoya
Simi Awokoya, from London, is the founder of ‘Witty Careers’, an organisation on a mission to make the UK Tech industry more diverse and inclusive.
Only 14 per cent of the UK STEM workforce is made up by women, and this percentage is much lower for women from black and ethnic minority backgrounds. Inspired by her own experience, Simi set up ‘Witty Careers’ to equip women from minority backgrounds with the necessary skills to build a successful career in tech. Run by a team of women that work in the Technology industry, Witty Careers provides free resources and practical events that provide its 400 members with the skills to enter the sector. Under Simi’s leadership, the organisation has partnered with companies, entrepreneur hubs and a school to run Technology Workshops which provide training, mentoring and career opportunities. Simi has become a leading advocate for women starting careers in tech, featuring in Forbes 30 under 30 Europe 2019.
Simi’s award coincides with London Tech Week and a celebration of the tech industry held at an official reception at Downing Street, where she was presented with her award by the Minister for Digital and Creative Industries, Margot James MP (pictured below).
In a personal letter to Simi, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“Through ‘Witty Careers’, you are breaking down barriers and achieving greater inclusion in the tech industry. Your advocacy for women in tech is helping to change perceptions, inspiring the next generation of women in the industry.”
“I am delighted and proud to receive this Points of Light award and for the work of Witty Careers to be recognised in this way. I needed an organisation like Witty Careers when I first started my career in Technology and because I did not have access to one, I decided to build it for the next generation of women in Tech.
“It is so humbling to see the impact it has created so far and I hope it continues to fulfil it’s purpose. The success of Witty Careers comes down to our incredible volunteer team of women with full time jobs in the Technology sector. Our team spends their free time paying it forward by equipping women from black and ethnic minority backgrounds with the skills to start a Technology Career.
“You can’t be who you can’t see”, representation is very important and our goal is to make the Technology industry in the UK more inclusive for women to thrive in. It feels great having the Prime Minister recognise Witty Careers’ passion to make a difference.”