Impact Stories from Economic Impact Policy Area
Fellow shares hiring expertise with local tech companies
Fellow(s): Sarah Abdallah
Recently, 2016 fellow Sarah Abdallah shared her expertise on tech hiring at an event organized by Lebanese IT Syndicate, a group that represents the Lebanese IT community and ICT sector. Sarah is the CEO of LIBRO, a company that addresses youth unemployment challenges in the MENA region by providing training, consulting and recruitment services for universities and companies in STEM fields.
At her talk, Sarah shared hiring tools companies can use to fulfill their open positions and reduce the unemployment rate of people with technical backgrounds. Part of the issue, Sarah explained, is that companies don’t always know how to draft proper job descriptions for their open positions. She showed how companies can be specific by listing particular programming languages and educational backgrounds necessary for the jobs they need to fulfill. Sarah also encouraged the group to form committees to support tech companies in drafting job descriptions: “This would both ease recruitment and retain talent,” she said.
Report Date...: 7/29/19
Fellow launches coworking space for female founders
Fellow(s): Baratang Miya, Zimkhita Buwa
Country: South Africa
Cohort: 2013, 2015
This month, 2015 fellow of South Africa Baratang Miya launched Uhuru Spaces, a coworking space designed to bring together and support female founders. The space will provide women access to workshops, networking opportunities and special events with investors and entrepreneurs.
Baratang, the founder of Girlhype, conceived of Uhuru Spaces with the help of 2013 fellow Zimkhita Buwa. “After TechWomen, I resigned from my full-time job but felt coworking spaces were a waste of my time,” says Baratang. “After explaining to her why I think they don’t work especially for us women, she looked at me and said, ‘then let’s start our own.’”
Uhuru Spaces officially opened with an event and panel that featured mentor Eileen Brewer, who shared her advice on angel investing and pitching. In the next 10 years, Baratang hopes to provide 10,000 women access to new business opportunities. “This has been a lifelong dream, and the biggest mission so far,” she says.
Report Date...: 7/22/19
Fellows provide training and jobs for underserved women
Fellow(s): Afnan Saqer, Sondos Samara
Cohort: 2015, 2018
This month, TechWomen fellows Sondos Samara (2018) and Afnan Saqer (2015) collaborated to provide job training to 1,200 women in the Jordan Valley, an agricultural region of the country. Sondos, a quality manager at Jordan’s first food analysis laboratory, partnered with the international development agency MEDA to bring the one-day training that focused on building business and entrepreneurial skills. Sondos enlisted the help of Afnan, who works as a project manager and trainer. At her session, Afnan led a training on Business Model Canvas, a strategic template for startups and entrepreneurs.
Soon, Sondos and her team will select 300 women to work in three kitchens based in the Jordan Valley. Once hired, the women will produce and sell food products such as dried fruit to both generate revenue and help them develop their business skills.
Report Date...: 7/22/19
Fellows travel to South Africa as Obama Foundation leaders
Fellow(s): Mpara Faith, Grace Pirisai
Country: Cameroon, Zimbabwe
This week, two TechWomen fellows traveled to Johannesburg as 2019 Obama Foundation Leaders to represent their countries and brainstorm innovative solutions to socioeconomic issues. Mpara Faith, 2017 fellow of Cameroon and Grace Pisirai, 2017 fellow of Zimbabwe, were chosen as emerging leaders for Leaders: Africa, a program of the Obama Foundation that supports changemakers from the African continent through a one-year leadership development and civic engagement program.
Joining 200 fellow impact leaders from 45 countries, Mpara and Grace participated in skill-building workshops, leadership development training and service projects. Throughout the week, participants were challenged with finding creative approaches to problem-solving and establishing individual action plans that address leading issues in their communities.
Mpara is the founder of ICT4KIDS, a training program that educates and empowers children in Cameroon through hands-on STEM activities. Grace is co-founder of Purple Future Trust, a startup founded to educate underserved women and girls in science, engineering and mathematics through interactive technology. During the program year, Mpara and Grace will engage in online programming activities, including interactive webinars, discussions on ethical leadership and peer reviews for their action plans.
Report Date...: 7/15/19
Mentor collaborates with fellows in Jordan and the West Bank
Fellow(s): Erin Keeley, Nour Altobasi, Shatha Jayyousi, Nadiah Saba’neh, Alaa’ Fatayer
Country: Jordan, Palestinian Territories, United States
Cohort: 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017
This month, longtime TechWomen mentor Erin Keeley traveled to Jordan and the West Bank, meeting with fellows and giving presentations to women entrepreneurs and leaders.
In Jordan, Erin visited 2017 fellow Nour Altobasi at her company, Mawdoo3, giving a presentation on leadership to their new technical and program managers. She also visited Code on the Road, the AEIF-winning initiative of 2013 fellow Shatha Jayyousi, to present on entrepreneurship and mentorship. In the West Bank, Erin coordinated with 2015 fellow Nadiah Saba’neh to organize a session for entrepreneurs at Nadiah’s employer, Rawabi Tech Hub. Erin also presented on design thinking at a session attended by multiple TechWomen fellows at Fikra Paltel Group, an innovation hub managed by 2014 fellow Alaa’ Fatayer. “What was so amazing was the accomplishments of the fellows,” said Erin. “They have new jobs, new promotions and are giving back to their communities.”
Report Date...: 7/15/19
Fellow shares journey to entrepreneurship
Fellow(s): Sabine El Kahi
This week, 2014 fellow Sabine El Kahi was featured in the “Women on Top” series for Berytech, an initiative that provides support to innovative and passionate entrepreneurs in Lebanon. In her interview, Sabine outlined her business and career strategies, sharing what drives her as an entrepreneur.
Sabine is the founder of Kids Genius, a STEM-based initiative that spreads maker culture to young students through hands-on activities and courses in their maker hubs. In her interview, she spoke about Kids Genius’s four makerspaces, three of which collaborate with local foundations and NGOs to serve underprivileged communities. “The main drive was my passion to have a meaningful and purposeful life,” she said. “I love and enjoy seeing the excitement on young people’s faces while working at The Makers Hub… Their eyes glow when they see the connection between what they study and how things are built and produced.”
Report Date...: 6/17/19
Fellow accepted into bioscience accelerator program
Fellow(s): Dr. Tiisetso Lephoto
Country: South Africa
This month, 2016 fellow of South Africa Dr. Tiisetso Lephoto was accepted into FemBioBiz, an accelerator program with a mission to support, connect and empower ambitious women entrepreneurs in agri-food, biowaste and health sectors.
Tiisetso, who has a PhD in microbiology and biotechnology, recently launched Nematech, a biotech startup that will supply farmers with biopesticides and other eco-friendly products to control problematic pests. She was one of 12 women selected for the program and will soon begin a bootcamp followed by a pitching competition to investors. Tiisetso has received multiple accolades and awards for her research, including the Excellence in Science Engagement award from the National Research Foundation.
Report Date...: 6/10/19
Fellows attend GES2019 in The Hague
Fellow(s): Aia Abdul-Haj, Majd Hemiemat, Lucy Wanjiku, Bisma Hayat
Country: Jordan, Kenya, Pakistan
Cohort: 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018
This week, TechWomen fellows from multiple countries and cohorts convened at the 2019 Global Entrepreneurship Summit held in The Hague. The annual summit, co-hosted in 2019 by the U.S. and Dutch governments, brought together global leaders, entrepreneurs and policymakers for three days of plenaries, forums and keynotes. With a theme of “The Future Now,” this year’s summit offered programming themed on health, water, food/agriculture, women’s empowerment, industries of the future and more.
Fellows of Jordan Aia Abul-Haj (2018) and Majd Hemiemat (2014), 2016 fellow of Kenya Lucy Wanjiku and 2017 fellow of Pakistan Bisma Hayat were part of a group of 2,000 individuals selected out of 5,500 applications to attend this year’s summit. Applicants were selected for presenting innovative and new solutions within their fields and for demonstrating a scalable business that is attractive to potential investors.
Aia received a fully funded invitation after applying on behalf of her startup, SOLVillion, a company that specializes in engineering solutions in construction, water, sanitation and renewable energy. The fellows – engineers, company founders, consultants and business development managers – had the opportunity to network, share industry best practices and learn about new technologies are shaping future advancement.
Report Date...: 6/3/19
Fellow organizes Nairobi’s first UxP conference
Fellow(s): Maureen Macharia
Last week, 2018 fellow Maureen Macharia hosted UxP Nairobi, the city’s first design and product conference. The inaugural event was conceived to bring together design leaders, creatives and entrepreneurs to learn about new tools and share best practices in innovation. Through breakout sessions on brand strategy, machine learning, fintech and more, attendees shared ideas and drew inspiration from across multiple industries.
Maureen is the founder of Spindle Design, a UX and product design studio that brings together cross-functional teams to design and develop technology products. “We had a great turnout, an engaged audience, and amazing speakers and sessions,” she said.
Report Date...: 6/3/19
Fellows featured as leading innovators in tech
Fellow(s): Sondos Samara, Afnan Ali
Cohort: 2011, 2018
2018 fellow Sondos Samara and 2011 fellow Afnan Ali were recently recognized as innovators in Jordan by Global Innovation Path, an initiative that educates, advises and amplifies leaders in emerging countries.
With a mission to raise awareness about diverse innovators piloting new technologies, Global Innovation Path selects leaders in the fields of tech, health and evolving education. Sondos is the founder of SanadyMe, an interactive online platform where medical patients can share their experiences, find support and learn about research and the latest medical technologies in a safe environment. In her video feature, Sondos explained the mission of SanadyMe, highlighting their goal of creating a database for medical providers and pharmaceutical companies that can improve drug development and better address patient needs in the MENA region.
Afnan is the founder of Eureka Tech Academy, a program that specializes in educating children on engineering, invention and transforming ideas into products and services. In her feature, she spoke about founding and scaling her initiative, stressing the importance of educating the next generation: “If we want to make a revolution in technology, we should start by educating kids,” she said.
Report Date...: 5/27/19