Women in tech: Cashew's Ibtissam Ouassif
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Women in tech: Cashew’s Ibtissam Ouassif

Women in tech: Cashew’s Ibtissam Ouassif

Opportunity and recognition are probably the most powerful tools to attract more women into the tech industry, says Ibtissam Ouassif, co-founder, cashew


The isolation of society during the peak of Covid-19 has definitely fast-tracked AR and VR; where digital social interactions and screen time experiences can be drastically improved through the latest of these technologies – we are seeing many of the Fortune 500 companies pivot or gain exposure to the Metaverse, which I think will be a big theme in the next decade. There is so much exciting technology coming to life in these years, and we are seeing that both on a global and local scale. Now more than ever before, the local industry is quick to welcome these new technologies – and we are seeing that with the plethora of incubators and investments coming out of this region into local startups and companies. It is definitely an exciting time to be building for the future.

Banking and payments is one of those areas that stands to be heavily disrupted. It is one of few industries that has clung to its old ways of running despite all the tech advancements over the years, especially in this region. With the repercussions of cash flow since Covid-19, and the continual growth of shopping online, consumers are welcoming that disruption more than ever before. We are excited to be right in the middle of this, innovating and changing the way people think about their finances, and how payments can put less stress and burden on them.

Besides the growth of fintech, we are at the intersection of some of the greatest tech innovations since web and social – where we are seeing technologies such as AR, VR, and e-vehicles disrupt so many industries.

As a woman leader, I actually believe that women have been getting a lot more recognition as leaders in business, and that has been a wonderful thing to see over the years. My struggle probably came at the intersection of not only being a female leader, but also being in the banking industry, one that is generally dominated by men. The biggest difference maker for me is that I fight my battles with delivery. I believe that delivering a great product or service overcomes whatever stereotype or obstacle a person may face. So for me personally, I just focus my energy on trying to build a great product and business. 

Opportunity and recognition are probably the most powerful tools to attract more women into the tech industry. I do believe opportunity has significantly improved over the years and will continue to do so. I do think some improvements or initiatives for investments in women-founded business can help elevate that further. Secondly, proper recognition of success stories would encourage other female leaders to follow the path and innovate more. It would be nice to have networking events of similar minds to share experiences and help answer questions from females that have yet to take the first step.

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