By: Awa Conteh
In this edition of our special column recognizing women in STEM, we are thrilled to go on a journey of empowerment, inspiration, and advancement. We introduce the remarkable Kumbale Goode, an inspiring trailblazer who breaks barriers and shatters stereotypes in her field.
Kumbale Goode, the CEO of TAYBULL SOFT, is a force to be reckoned with in the world of STEM. Armed with passion, dedication, and a brilliant mind, she has been making significant strides and carving her path in a domain historically dominated by men.
Kumbale’s fascinating passion for STEM led her to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from The University of The Gambia and a Master’s degree in International Technology Management from The University of Warwick.
In a society where students, particularly women, and girls, are often pushed towards traditional career streams such as Nursing, Banking, or Law, the decision to pursue Computer Science was life-changing for Ms. Goode. With the rapid advancement of technology, Kumbale’s decision to further specialize in International Technology Management aligned perfectly with her strengths in the field.
Taybull Soft is committed to bridging the gap between local and Diaspora communities by providing secure, affordable, and reliable financial solutions fostering a cashless society. The company recently saved the day for many Gambians when cash power was unavailable on almost all mobile apps. This incident served as a testament to the company’s strong work ethic and desire to be a disruptive force in Gambia’s financial landscape, proving its focus on the larger societal impact to contribute significantly to the empowerment and advancement of the community.
A FinTech product of Taybull Soft that Kumbale oversees, Taybull Soft recently earned a well-deserved nomination by the Global Start-up Awards – the most significant independent start-up ecosystem competition with a global presence extending across more than 120 countries – and emerged victorious at the Western Africa Start-up Awards, triumphing in the Commerce Tech category.
Notably, Taybull Soft is the sole representative from The Gambia among the list of 71 winners, all vying for a place among esteemed GSA Africa Winners – a top 15 selection.
Beyond her academic and professional pursuits, Kumbale is committed to establishing an open and supportive environment for the next generation of women in STEM through her experiences and advocacy for women’s career advancement. She is actively involved in organizations where she volunteers to build learning and knowledge-sharing environments. She is dedicated to creating a friendly and inclusive setting at Taybull Soft where women are appreciated, respected, and given equal opportunities to thrive. She is careful not to advocate for hiring women exclusively based on gender. Instead, she prioritizes competence and abilities, ensuring that her assistance promotes growth and development.
Kumbale believes that there is no “One” space for women.
“As the tech industry and FinTech space continue to evolve, numerous thrilling opportunities for growth and innovation are available to women: The tech industry is increasingly acknowledging the value of diversity and inclusion. Within FinTech companies, efforts are underway to bridge the gender gap and promote diversity, which opens doors for women to assume leadership roles and contribute to ground-breaking solutions”, she said.
Moreover, Kumbale and Taybull Soft recognize that a segment of women, especially women-owned small businesses, have faced challenges with access to finance. Through solutions such as Taybull Pay, women are provided with various payment services for their micro-businesses, enabling them to expand their customer base beyond their immediate community or even beyond the borders of The Gambia. As a woman in the tech and FinTech industries, Kumbale believes that women have the opportunity to break barriers, drive change, and leave a lasting impact on the financial landscape for the betterment of all.
On women’s representation in STEM sectors, especially in The Gambia, Kumbale identifies that in recent times, there has been a noticeable trend propelling women in The Gambia in the field of STEM. While Gambian women have been actively involved in STEM worldwide and locally, they were only sometimes at the forefront of discussions. However, there has been a positive change in this regard. One encouraging aspect is the growing number of younger ladies seizing opportunities available in STEM. This is evident in the slight increase in enrolment at tertiary and higher education institutions in STEM-related programs. Despite these advancements, she believes there is still much work to be done, particularly in introducing primary and high school STEM education.
Despite the challenges, there have been notable improvements, and with continued efforts, we can foster an even more inclusive and diverse STEM community in The Gambia.
Throughout history, women in STEM have faced numerous obstacles, ranging from societal biases to systemic barriers, but Kumbale Goode is a clear manifestation that women have the power to create inclusive financial products and services that cater to the specific needs of women and underserved communities.
By leveraging technology, solutions can be designed to empower women economically and enable them to access financial services that were previously limited or unavailable. By extension, women have the power to register ground-breaking successes in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
As we celebrate women like her, we also acknowledge the importance of creating more inclusive environments within STEM disciplines. Women have risen above adversity, breaking glass ceilings and forging paths for future generations. By sharing their experiences, we can inspire the next generation of young minds to pursue their passions, regardless of gender.