Seat of Power is a Periscope series where experts share their insight on the news of the world. Follow along: #SeatofPower.
There's something that drives serial entrepreneurs, an innate source of perseverance that keeps them going, venture after venture. For Roya Mahboob, it's a quiet determination, driven from the hardships she's overcome since becoming a female founder in Afghanistan at a young age. Working with her younger sister, Mahboob's first venture was the first tech company in the country to employ women that had graduated with computer science degrees. The challenges were prevalent, not just because of her young age or gender. "Being a tech CEO anywhere in the world introduces some obstacles," she says, but they were escalated in Afghanistan, a place where woman are not supposed to work in a certain capacity. Mahboob's personal and private lives were investigated, and she struggled to get clients who would pay what they owed.
The struggle to be paid on time and accurately was a turning point for Mahboob's entrepreneurship. As many people in Afghanistan did not have bank accounts, she was driven to switch from cash to mobile money, yet was deterred by technological challenges. When a former business partner showered her an article about bitcoin, Mahboob took on the challenge of explaining the concept to users. Using an 8th century system of payments that 17% of Afghans still use, Mahboob successfully shifted her business into the most modern of 21st century payment types. "I think that they feel more empowered when they feel that they are in control [of] their finance."
Years later, Mahboob is now training new generations of entrepreneurs to understand and use blockchain technology. Her work with empowering women starts with financial literacy: teaching women how to manage their money both in the home and as entrepreneurs. Up next: an online marketplace for women to sell and buy goods while learning about the markets.
Watch the full interview below:
Share your feedback and suggestions for future guests using #SeatofPower.