By Amy Juelsgaard, Program Associate
This year, TechWomen has 44 Cultural Mentors throughout San Francisco and South Bay organizing numerous and diverse cultural activities for the Emerging Leaders (ELs) to experience the best of the Bay Area. So far, ELs and Cultural Mentors have gone on hikes in both Marin County and the Peninsula, enjoyed kayaking and pedal boat rides on Shoreline Lake, attended the iconic Beach Blanket Babylon show, tried several international cuisines from Mexican to Indian food, watched a San Francisco Giants game and participated in an intimate fireside chat with Meera Kaul, a global hi-tech investor and serial entrepreneur.
Emerging Leader wins local pitch event
On September 29, five ELs pitched to a panel of investors at the Female Founders Pitch Female Funders event in San Francisco. Thirteen women in total pitched their innovative products and services at the event hosted by The Expat Woman, a global community of female professionals aiming to inspire, educate, empower and connect. EL Eman Hylooz of Jordan won the pitch event for her startup, Abjjad, an online platform to connect Arabic readers, publishers, authors and books.
The other participating ELs were Maha Ech-Chefaa of Morocco, who developed Leeha, a startup that employs under-served women in Morocco to make ergonomic baby carriers; Cheryl Kerama-Likoko of Kenya, who launched Sola Sasa, an initiative that provides solar-powered lamps to children in rural areas; Munira Begmuratova of Uzbekistan, who created Soulklik, a personality compatibility app to connect people based on what they share online; and Aurel Edith Tayou of Cameroon, who pitched her idea to start a business accelerator in Yaoundé. In addition to the ELS who pitched, several other ELs attended the event to offer their support in an evening of camaraderie and networking.
Emerging Leaders give back to the local community
ELs had the opportunity to give back to the local community on Volunteer Day on Saturday, October 1. The ELs had an opportunity to choose from five different activities, including installing solar panels on a house in an under-served community with GRID Alternatives, pulling invasive weeds and planting native plants at Golden Gate National Park, building a historical ship with Educational Tall Ship, preparing and providing meals to the sick and elderly with Project Open Hand and teaching digital literacy skills at a senior center with the Community Technology Network.
Later this week, each country cohort will pitch an action plan to address a socioeconomic challenge in their home country at Oracle on October 7. The top action plan teams will receive a seed grant to help implement their project upon returning home. The winners will be announced at our Community Celebration at Automattic on October 10, open to the public. Be sure to RSVP to attend!