News & Insights

Meet Our Founders: Abi Olukeye

Smart Girls HQ

SMART GIRLS HQ- MICRO Fall 2019, SEED Spring 2021, NC BEC Growth Grants Fall 2021

 

Published March 9, 2022

Today, we introduce Abi Olukeye, founder of Smart Girls HQ in Charlotte, NC. Smart Girls HQ is a sharing economy platform providing device charging on the go that enables business intelligence tools for partnering locations. 

Q: Abi, what problem are you trying to solve and what influenced you to start your company?

A: My daughters started expressing gendered preferences for toys and activities around age 3. I wanted to counter these messages by offering them plenty of exposure to STEM through informal means like activities, events, toys, etc. I became obsessed with reading all the existing research about girls, STEM, and the drop-off at age 12. It soon became clear to me that one big root cause is the lack of parent education and support, and I became passionate about developing a solution. As I began working with parents, I learned that they needed engaging products to explore with their daughters.

I started Smart Girls HQ to fill up the universe of learning with content that truly ignites the curiosity of young female learners; and that inspires them to persist in STEM career pathways that in the future will put them in the room where innovative products that impact all of our lives are being created.

Q: What are you most excited about right now? What keeps you up at night?

A: I am so excited that our work and products have been resonating with caregivers, educators and partners across the nation. We have a series of launches this year that will help us level up our offerings and help us expand our reach nationally. When I think about what our impact could be in 5 to 10 years, I am so energized to keep building. We are truly only just getting started!

Q: What have you enjoyed most about starting your own company?

A: I have really enjoyed seeing my own growth. I am growing in areas I didn’t even plan to stretch myself in when i started this journey. I find that I have less time or the luxury to negotiate myself out of my fears and that forces me to just act and grow past my perceived gaps. And even though I am working harder than I ever have, I love the flexibility of vision, thought and time being an entrepreneur affords me.

Q: What is one thing you wish you understood about entrepreneurship before you ever got started?

A: The fact that entrepreneurs wear 100 hats is a cliche you know by heart before you take the leap. However, I had imagined it mean’t i would have to do a little bit of everything. I couldn’t be more mistaken. It really means you have to do A LOT of everything and that can get incredibly overwhelming. To be honest, I am glad I didn’t fully comprehend that because I may never have had the courage to take the leap!

While visiting Charlotte, Abi recommends:

    • One of my her favorites, representing her heritage, is LAGZ Restaurant. They serve amazing Nigerian food and host several nights a week where you can enjoy Afrobeats music. It’s a great vibe! 

 

Support Abi and Smart Girls HQ by:

  • Invite your friends and families to join their newsletter at Raisingsmartgirls.com and buy a kit or tee or both from their website or Amazon.