Impact Stories from Economic Impact Policy Area
Fellow featured in interview about STEM entrepreneurship
Fellow(s): Zeenat Anjum
This week, 2019 fellow Zeenat Anjum was interviewed on The Aijaz Qureshi Show, a program that features emerging women leaders and promotes women empowerment in Pakistan. The program was streamed live on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, and encouraged its viewers to comment with questions about Zeenat, her work and the TechWomen program.
During the interview, Zeenat spoke about entrepreneurship within STEM, reflecting on her TechWomen experience and encouraging women to pursue exchange program opportunities. She highlighted her own startup, Digiwrite, an online platform that connects students and teachers through virtual classrooms and onsite workshops. She also had the opportunity to share updates about Bacha-O, Team Pakistan’s seed-grant winning initiative that aims to reduce childhood sexual abuse.
Report Date...: 12/9/19
Fellows named Next Einstein Forum Ambassadors
Fellow(s): Chioma Ezedi, Sebay Momoh
Country: Nigeria, Sierra Leone
Cohort: 2013, 2018
This week, it was announced that 2016 fellow of Nigeria Chioma Ezedi and 2018 fellow of Sierra Leone Sebay Momoh were named to the 2019-2021 class of Next Einstein Forum Ambassadors. The NEF Ambassador program selects young technology and science champions from each African country to lead public engagement activities and partner with established mentors and researchers to advance their own careers in STEM.
Chioma, a software programmer and founder of STEMteers, is hoping to accelerate collaboration with other STEM advocacy groups, using the local dialect for outreach in order to make NEF’s Africa Science Week successful in every part of Nigeria. She is also eager to localize science advocacy in her community: “Nothing thrives if only a small percentage of the population understands it,” she says.
Sebay is a petroleum engineer and the program coordinator for STEM Women SL, an NGO that aims to improve science education in Sierra Leone. As a NEF ambassador, she will continue to advocate for quality science education in Sierra Leone. “I am passionate about creating the right ecosystem to nurture brilliant and innovative ideas of young scientists in Sierra Leone,” says Sebay. “I want to shine a light on young creative minds, source funding to help them improve on their ideas and also inspire others. The more people are exposed to opportunities of this nature, the more hands and minds we have to work together. There is power in collaboration.”
Report Date...: 12/2/19
Fellow shares five entrepreneurship lessons in TEDx talk
Fellow(s): Ameni Mansouri
2018 fellow Ameni Mansouri was a featured speaker at the inaugural TEDx Sidi Bou Said, held this week in Carthage. With a theme of “Brighten your Future,” the speaker series invited nine entrepreneurs, CEOs and artists to speak about imagination and inspiration.
Ameni is the co-founder and CEO of Dabchy.com, an online fashion marketplace with 450,000 users across Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria. In her talk, she presented five ingredients for starting a successful business from scratch. Through the lessons, she shared her takeaways from her entrepreneurship journey with Dabchy.com, including quitting her stable job in Paris to launch her business. “People are always asking me, ‘How did you get the courage to leave a stable job? How do you work in something you did not study?’” says Ameni, who has a background in pharmaceutical and biomedical engineering. “I tried to answer all these questions during my talk by explaining how important it is to take risks, how to choose the right partners, how to set the culture and the importance of the networking.”
Report Date...: 12/2/19
Fellow interviewed about TechWomen experience
Fellow(s): Aigerim Kunadilova
This month, 2019 fellow Aigerim Kunadilova was interviewed for a feature in Tengri News, an English language news outlet in Kazakhstan. In the article, Aigerim spoke about her TechWomen experience and her work as a woman in tech.
Aigerim is the founder of Top Generation Group, an online education company that offers international English exam preparation courses such as TOEFL and IELTS. With no formal background in tech, Aigerim shared her journey building an international online Edtech business and growing it into a flourishing company. She also speaks about her TechWomen mentorship at Twitter, where she gained new skills, tools and contacts: “I met and talked to managers of the company, where I got valuable tips on improving my online school and choosing programmers for my team,” she said.
Report Date...: 11/25/19
Fellow hosts hackathon for justice at World Bank Group in DC
Fellow(s): Lindiwe Matlali
Country: South Africa, United States
This month, 2017 fellow of South Africa Lindiwe Matlali’s initiative Africa Teen Geeks collaborated with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the World Bank Group to hold a global #Hackathon4Justice in Washington, D.C. Hosted at the World Bank Headquarters, the three-day hackathon brought 25 students ages 13-18 from Bulgaria, India, Mexico, Tunisia and South Africa together to develop solutions to combat exploitation and promote peace in their home countries and beyond. TechWomen director Katie Zee, Professional Mentor Eileen Brewer, and three 2019 TechWomen fellows attended the event; Eileen provided coaching and mentorship to the country teams, guiding them in crystallizing their ideas and presenting their pitches.
Over the three days, the five student teams learned from World Bank and UNODC leaders as they developed innovative solutions that promoted inclusive societies and access to justice for all. A panel of judges, which included Amy Christianson from the Department of State, named Mexico the winner at the end of the hackathon: the team’s interactive game for young children will be able to send red flag warnings to teachers about potential domestic violence situations. As a prize, the team will travel to the UN’s 14th Crime Congress in Kyoto in April 2020 to present their app. At the conclusion of the event, Lindiwe addressed all teams, saying “I have been so inspired to hear all your ideas. When you go home, do the same and inspire your peers to make a difference.”
Report Date...: 11/18/19
Mentor(s): Shalaka Prabhune (mentor)
Mentor Type: Impact
This week, TechWomen Impact Coach Shalaka Prabhune was awarded the gold Stevie Award for Digital Transformer of the Year. The Stevie Awards for Women in Business shine a spotlight on leading women executives, entrepreneurs and women-run organizations, recognizing their contributions to their respective industries. The winners were announced at the 16th annual awards dinner in New
This year, more than 1,500 nominations from organizations and individuals around the world were submitted; more than 200 members of seven juries determined the finalists and winners. Shalaka, the head of corporate IT at TiVo, was recognized under the HCL Red Ladder Women in Technology category, which recognizes women leaders who have positively impacted their industries while serving as role models for other women.
This year, Shalaka was an Impact Coach for team Jordan, who who won a 2019 seed grant for their mental health outreach platform, Sanad.
Report Date...: 11/18/19
18 TechWomen alumnae attend Microsoft Ignite 2019
Fellow(s): 18 TechWomen Alumnae
Country: Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Nigeria, Tajikistan, United States, Uzbekistan
This month, 17 TechWomen fellows and Impact Coach Maryann Hrichak came together at Microsoft Ignite 2019 in Orlando for a week of skill-building and networking. Fellows from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Nigeria, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan spent the week exploring 1,000+ deep dive sessions and 200+ workshops spanning the field of IT. Fellows of Algeria Ouafa Benterki (2012) and Fatima Zohra Benhamida (2017) were included as featured speakers.
This is the second year that IIE has partnered with Microsoft, who this year provided full registration for fellows and mentors to attend the annual conference. After attending Ignite last year, Ouafa was named a Microsoft Regional Director, becoming the first Algerian and first African woman to occupy the role. At this year’s Ignite, she presented on her career in tech in her session “From CEO to Microsoft Regional Director: my journey as a woman in tech from Algeria.” Ouafa also participated in a panel discussing best practices on raising the next generation of diversity and inclusion tech leaders. Fatima led a session titled “How volunteering and mentorship pays more than your regular job.”
During the week, IIE organized TechWomen meetups during which alumnae came together to share professional updates, reflect on TechWomen memories and discuss their Ignite highlights.
Report Date...: 11/19/19
Fellow’s company joins UN group committed to gender equality
Fellow(s): Aina Dosmakhambet
This week, it was announced that 2019 fellow Aina Dosmakhambet’s coding education company was admitted as a member of Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEP), a joint initiative of the UN Global Compact and UN Women. Out of 2660 companies with WEP status, only 13 are from Kazakhstan.
Companies that are approved for WEP are committed to gender equality in the workplace, taking measurable strides to increasing equity and inclusion through their services. Aina is the CEO of Method Digital Education, an Almaty-based IT school that provides education for both children and adults in coding, web design, game development, data analysis and more. Their Girls Coding Class provides a space for young girls to develop both their technical and leadership skills, and includes leadership lessons from women entrepreneurs and excursions to local IT companies to meet successful women in tech.
Report Date...: 11/11/19
Three alumnae teams awarded 2019 AEIF grants
Fellow(s): Chepkemoi Magdalene, Nazira Sheraly, Aiturgan Zulpukarova, Elena Chigibaeva, Gulzire Minbaeva, Fatima Abdulaziz Sule, Olayinka Ayo, Safiya Aliyu, Pamela Chukwumeka, Ijeoma Ezika
Country: Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria
Cohort: 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
This week, it was announced that three TechWomen alumnae teams were awarded a U.S Department of State 2019 Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund (AEIF) grant. The alumnae projects, based out of Kenya, Kyrgyzstan and Nigeria, were selected out of more than 1,400 project submissions.
Kenya’s North-Rift Women in STEM Inclusion Project , co-led by 2019 fellow Chepkemoi Magdalene, will host bootcamps on coding and the digital economy for nearly 500 underserved women and girls in the North Rift region of the country. The team also plans to award 30 of the participants a year-long mentorship opportunity. Kyrgyzstan’s TechAim was created by 2016 fellow Nazira Sheraly, 2017 fellow Aiturgan Zulpukarova and 2018 fellows Elena Chigibaeva and Gulzire Minbaeva. The mentorship program supports women and girls, particularly those outside of the capital city, to grow and develop their STEM skills and expand their knowledge in business, leadership project management and more. MAAMI Nigeria, originally a TechWomen 2018 seed grant-winning initiative from fellows Fatima Abdulaziz Sule, Olayinka Ayo, Safiya Aliyu, Pamela Chukwumeka and Ijeoma Ezika, is a mobile health literacy program that aims to provide underserved mothers access to safe, relevant and customized pre- and post-natal health information.
Report Date...: 11/4/2019
Fellow named Top 40 Under 40 in Kenya
Fellow(s): Cheryl Kerama
Last month, 2016 fellow Cheryl Kerama was named to the Top 40 Under 40 list from Business Daily. The annual list features influential entrepreneurs, leaders and innovators who have changed the landscape of business in Kenya.
Cheryl, who holds a master’s in molecular cancer immunology and biotechnology, was most recently a regional trial manager at Johnson & Johnson. In her feature, Cheryl discussed her lifelong passion for science as well as her discovery of an altered gene that is currently being used as a platform for asthma research globally. She also spoke about the challenges of being a woman in science, recalling difficulties she faced when she was part of a team conducting Ebola vaccine clinical trials on children in Africa.
During TechWomen, Cheryl was mentored at Genentech and was part of the 2016 seed grant-winning initiative One Desk One Child.
Report Date...: 11/4/2019