Zeenat Zita D. Yirenkyi, better known as Zeenat Zita is an Entrepreneur who loves Marketing and is passionate about Technology. She is the CEO of Tec Konsult – a Technology and Entrepreneurship Consulting firm. She is a serial entrepreneur with businesses across Transport, Health and Non-Profits. She enjoys corporate life and was awarded an excellence award during her corporate carrier as staff. She was nominated and won Most Supportive Mum in Leadership award by the topmost women entrepreneurial group in Ghana called ‘All Mothers in Leadership’. She was featured in a book called ‘the Hustle is Real’ as part of the top twenty generational thinkers. She is a strong STEM advocate. She is the executive producers, host and director of ‘The Zeenat Zita TV’ talk show and ‘Vim Time on Radio show’. She is a, brand influencer and a philanthropist. The typical daddy’s girl is emotional about Northern Ghana, plus she is committed to women empowerment and resolute in tackling child injustice. She is a lady with daring dreams, top potential who isn’t afraid to walk in the purpose for which she was created. We caught up with her and started by asking…
…YOU’VE BEEN INTO TECH CONSULTING FOR A LONG TIME, HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE THRIVING IN A SOMEWHAT ‘MALE DOMINANCE’ ENVIRONMENT
It feels amazing to be able to prove to myself and to other women that business has no gender, regardless the industry, women can succeed if they put in the work as much as the men do. Business isn’t gender based so is making money.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN INTO THE TECH WORLD AND WHAT ARE THE UPS AND DOWNS OF BEING A LADY IN THAT FIELD
Over a decade, as long as 2006 when I was still a student, I worked with Tech Companies and Tech Teams. Then again regardless the gender, the Tech field can be very financially rewarding. Also Tech teams are usually deep thinkers and committed to results. They often stay connected for a longtime or for life whiles working on specific projects together. There is always this feeling of belonging and I’m glad to be part of that community. Unlike most fields, managing a Tech Team can be very draining. They don’t act like ‘normal’ Team members; they often defy the odds so they don’t really like being guided by so many rules because they need freedom to be so creative. Most of them aren’t so outspoken so it takes quite some time to know how to manage each member to get the best out of them. Also prior to getting financial rewards from this line of business, comes so much work, sleepless nights and frustration. Forgetting to eat well, sleep and connect socially can be a downside. The biggest downside is watching international Tech companies get Tech deals and contracts in our country and taking very huge sums of money for it when that code can be written better in Ghana by Ghanaians at a far cheaper price. There are great software written by Ghanaians that has being patronized and deployed by other countries and yet still not patronized and deployed in Ghana.
LET’S TALK ABOUT STEM ADVOCATE, WHAT’S THIS ALL ABOUT AND WHAT IMPACT IS THIS MAKING IN THE COMMUNITY
STEM means Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. Advocating it, means we are pushing it in our educational systems, communities and in our daily lives. And for the impact – we all know how far Tech has come and we all know Tech is the future. Tech will soon be almost limitless in solving problems of our lives, its set to improve life and lifestyle to humanly best ever. From social media to drones flying blood/medicines for patients to, household chores, to a surgeon teaching non surgeons to operate in surgery. Improving Agric, detecting cancer, I can go on and on about the potential of Tech and the fact that it has an exponential effect. We as Africans aren’t ready to be cut out of this juicy deal so we are also pushing hard and advocating for everyone especially kids and the youth to take STEM seriously and choose STEM courses and program. We refuse to be left behind.
IN GENERAL, HOW DID YOU GET INTO THE ENTREPRENEURSHIP LINE OF BUSINESS
Firstly, I come from an entrepreneurial family so it’s part of what I value in life, the legacy you get to build, the freedom to be creative and most importantly the jobs you create to help other people earn and cater for themselves and family makes entrepreneurship a yes for me. Unlike others I didn’t go straight to entrepreneurship after school. I wanted to first learn about running a business and how to manage the day-to-day activities of a business first before going solo. I needed the practical experience to help me make fewer mistakes. I wanted to learn to be a subordinate, to learn humbleness and the life of a subordinate and how to make it better to my future subordinates. I wanted to learn to manage a team, and decide on the type of leader I’ll want to be, Type X or Y. Then also I needed to raise capital for my entrepreneurship journey. This made me work in corporate for some time till I felt I was ready. I started with a Transport business with three cars and a van just to make sure I was still getting cash flow like how I had salary in corporate. I always say your monthly bills don’t know you are an entrepreneur they will still show up every month. So in other not to struggle with living and abandon my dream I started the transport business first 3 months so I can still maintain my normal lifestyle without an 8 to 5 job. I earned more money monthly in transport than I earned back then as salary as deputy head of department. After that I started serial entrepreneurship the fourth month which helped me raise more money. Then after I had enough in cash and cash flow to dive right into my Tech company – Tec Konsult with a full office setup, team and all other things I needed.
BEING A MOTHER, A WIFE AND A BUSINESS WOMAN, HOW DO YOU JOGGLE EVERYTHING, WITH AN EYE TO ACHIEVE EXCELLENCE IN ALL?
Being a woman you must work thrice as hard to be a good mother, wife and business woman. To be excellent in all I needed to create a structure that works for me, e.g. When it’s time for family I don’t bring work and vice versa. I have a support system I can rely on, the structure of the school I chose for my child works perfectly for my personal structure so are their values . At work it’s important to upgrade the capacity of the team so you can delegate and supervise. This way I get time to drive the main vision and work on the most important things.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR NEW TELEVISION SHOW AND WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO KICK START SUCH INITIATIVE
My show is called – The Zeenat Zita Show. It addresses thought provoking topics on social issues, economic issues and swing politics. I started the talk show because I trust its key to start having some very thought provoking discussions among ourselves to help push us forward. A lot happens that people aren’t aware off; people are in situations they don’t know the way out of and also to have very serious conversations. Initially I was reluctant because I felt a number of people were addressing some of the issues quite well but I also realized there is so much I would have added if I was the host and more importantly the more voices that speak up the better so I decided to join and help speak up through my talk show – The Zeenat Zita Show.
YOUR PASSION FOR RADIO IS TOP ON THE RADAR, WHAT CERTAINLY GIVES YOU BLISS ESPECIALLY WITH COMMUNICATION TO THOSE WHO ONLY HEAR YOUR VOICE AND TEND TO FALL IN LOVE WITH YOUR SHOW
It actually started out as an admiration I had for a female radio person; I requested to join the team but didn’t get a response. It happened that within that window a friend expressed his interest in owning a radio station so I said why not, let’s do it. We partnered to make it a reality, got the same person my admirer used to also setup up our radio station and out of that ‘Digi Radio’ was created under the flagship of Timeline Multimedia. I host my radio show called ‘VIM TIME’ on Fridays 1:00pm to 3:00pm. We talk on very daring topics so our listeners appreciate every bit. We give slots for people/students to train and practice with us and we are opened to adverts and strategic partnerships
PHILANTHROPY IN GHANA HAS SOMEWHAT TAKEN SOME CHANNELS WHICH CALLS FOR QUESTIONING – WHY DO YOU STILL LOVE THE PASSION AMIDST ALL
Well, I decided to choose a more different approach. There are a lot of charity works out there already. Clearly you can barely think of an area that currently has zero charity work. So instead of creating a totally new charity umbrella I rather created a charity initiative that support already existing charity organizations on their projects for free. Mine is like the NGO supporting NGO’s. I’m a firm believer of partnerships. Every year we handpick three charity organizations who have projects that ignites our interest, we partner those three charities for help push their project for that year. The following year new NGO’s are again handpicked. Last year our focus was Women empowerment, kids with special needs and Hepatitis. We assisted five women groups in different ways to help make their planned projects successful [Miss Ghana Mentoring session for delegates, aML–All Moms in Leadership event, Obaasima Conference, TellitMum Conference, Mums Day Out]. We were proud to fully run the family fun day project with our UK Partner – Jenny’ Foundation that was targeted at kids with special needs and their families. We were fully hands on with Hepatitis foundation of Ghana with it 2019 charity programs. This year we plan to assist only three charity organizations. Soon we will be hand picking our top three. Aside that I’m committed to seeking justice for kids in adult prisons for very minor crimes like stealing 10 cedis or being framed. Actually I don’t consider this charity I see it as my personal mission in life, those kids needs a voice and I’ll give them mine.
YOU HAVE A DEEP LOVE TO UNITE THE NORTHERN PEOPLE OF GHANA, SO HOW DID NORTHERN PEOPLE’S NETWORK BREW, WHERE ARE YOU CURRENTLY AND WHAT’S THE WAY FORWARD IN REGARDS TO THIS AMAZING IDEA
As you may know I’m a northern, a full Dagaati lady with both parents being Dagaati. So seeing my people move forward is a natural feeling/expectation considering the fact that I love my identity and roots. Aside that, just like how some non-Africans imagine Africa as a jungle instead of a normal country, some Ghanaians have very wrong perceptions of how the North is/looks like. We need to repackage/brand the North to Ghanaians correctly. Then also the North is far from the capital considering the fact that a lot of people can’t afford a plane ticket we need to consistently push for specific development else we might easily be left out in giant developmental plans compared to our counterparts within the golden triangle of Ghana. This can actually help reduce teen migration. My people are naturally loyal and content with their lives so it’s easy for politicians to walk over us with very minimal development, we the people will want to come to the table and renegotiate our developmental expectations and monitor it into action. We also want a fair share of the national cake on The Year of Return, most slaves came from the North, it just so happens they were kept in slave castles in other regions so we need our stories told, we need to pull them up North to experience Northerners so their experience in Ghana can be complete. The discussions and potential of this Network is endless. A new Northern wind is blowing, we are Northerners, we understand Northerners, we don’t intend to be spectators, and it is in our place to develop the North. This Network seeks to do four main things, act as a support system for Northerners in Ghana and around the world, honor and celebrate our dead heroes /heroines who laid their lives/ fought for/ led progressive discussions on our behalf, celebrate Northerners making significant strides, push for Northern development and set a new pace for our youth and generations to come. Currently we are putting together our top most executive leadership team, nominations and suggestions are welcome.