Impact Stories from Economic Impact Policy Area
Mentor leads POWER sessions with U.S. State Department
Fellow(s): Lucie Newcomb
Long-time TechWomen mentor Lucie Newcomb, CEO of NewComm Global Group, collaborated with diplomatic partners to host a series of webinars for Providing Opportunities for Women’s Economic Rise (POWER), an initiative of the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs.
Topics of the webinar series focused on value proposition and product market fit, business planning, funding sources and pitching. Lucie co-designed and co-facilitated these sessions with stakeholders from the U.S. Embassies in Tokyo and Seoul.
POWER was launched in 2019 to leverage diplomatic relationships and resources to promote women’s economic empowerment worldwide. It connects the U.S. private sector with U.S. missions abroad to encourage opportunities, partnership and strategy among women-led enterprises in emerging markets.
Lucie has worked as a Speaker Program Trainer and Curriculum Developer for the U.S. State Department for more than 8 years. She actively attended last month’s SelectUSA Summit hosted by the U.S. Department of Commerce and has recently been named one of the 150 Great Leaders of 2022 by the Global Council for the Promotion of International Trade.
Report Date...: 7/11/2022
Fellow subject of short film on pioneering satellite build
Fellow(s): Kyzzhibek Batyrkanova
Kyrgyz fellow Kyzzhibek Batyrkanova (2019) recently starred as the lead subject of a 7-minute documentary on the Kyrgyz Space Program produced by the Eastern Standard Times (EST). Kyzzhibek is the 27-year-old director of the Kyrgyz Space Program and leads an all-girls team on a mission to build and launch their country’s first ever satellite. The Kyrgyz Space Program was founded in 2018 to advance science, education and gender equality in the country and Central Asian region. With no national space infrastructure to lean on, Kyzzhibek and her team have started from scratch, first building a lightweight 10cm x 10cm x 10cm educational model of a CubeSat, a miniature satellite which can collect and analyze simple data from space before moving on to draft and flight models. In the short film, Kyzzhibek explains, “Our project [is] not only aiming to launch the satellite, but also to educate girls and women. More than 100 women [have] graduated our course and they [have] started [sic] how to solder, how to create 3d models, how to code, and [how to] work with Arduino microcontrollers and their sensors.” She continues, “after completing our courses, some of the girls wanted to study programming and become software developers and some [went on] to universities with technical majors.”
Despite the simplicity of the satellite model, the project has already lasted four years and is estimated to cost more than 100,000 USD. The Kyrgyz Space Program raises funds in part through a Patreon page. There, they honor important women from international space history with various donation brackets named after the famous figures, including Shiaki Mukai, the first female Asian astronaut, Anousheh Ansari, the first Muslim female astronaut and Anna Lee Fisher, the first mother to journey to space. The history-making satellite has been named after Burulai Turdaaly Kyzy, a 20-year-old Kyrgyz medical student who was murdered by her abductor in a police station while trying to report her own bride kidnapping.
“We really want girls in our country, our region and globally to understand that they are capable of doing anything,” Kyzzhibek declares. “The world is such a big place, and the universe is enormous. No matter what other people tell you, always believe in yourself.”
Report Date...: 7/4/2022
Fellow helps host virtual career fair to promote global hiring
Fellow(s): Hiba Ghannam
Country: Palestinian Territories
Fellow Hiba Ghannam (Palestinian Territories, 2019) took part in producing the first MENA-wide Virtual Career Fair 2022 to be hosted by Washington D.C. based startup Localized, where she works as a Senior Quality Assurance Engineer. Localized hosted over 60 companies from numerous nations and industries, with sponsors and guests including Google, Nestle and U.S. News and World Report. The company’s platform is designed to connect businesses seeking to build diverse, high-achieving teams with a global talent pool. Hiba held virtual sessions for recent STEM-major graduates, advising them on finding “international opportunities and remote work from [their] region.” Hiba is an example of this ethos as a remote employee for the American startup working from her home in the Palestinian Territories. Hiba completed her master’s thesis in software engineering from Birzeit University and is a co-founder of Palestine Tech Meetups.Read More »
Report Date...: 7/4/2022
Fellow makes history with first prize win for biomedical innovation
Fellow(s): Norah Magero
2022 Fellow Norah Magero recently made history as the first Kenyan and second woman to win first place in the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation. Beating out three other finalists, Norah’s presentation before judges and a live audience on June 15, 2022 won the first prize of £25,000 for her innovation Vaccibox, a portable and solar-powered vaccine refrigerator that safely stores and transports temperature-sensitive medications. Vaccibox serves an especially critical need as the world navigates the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, throughout which global supply chain breakdowns have threatened the delivery of temperature-dependent medicine, especially to rural and field healthcare locations. Norah’s winning innovation is a 40-liter box that can be wheeled with a telescopic handle or mounted on all manner of vehicles, including motorcycles and boats. Vaccibox also features a built-in thermostat, solar panel connectivity and other stabilizing features to ensure reliable temperature control throughout use. “VacciBox was designed with our local challenges in mind. It’s versatile, reliable and localised. We’re ensuring that it works the way healthcare workers need it to work for the conditions they face each day,” Norah said.
Norah is a Mechanical Engineer and renewable energy consultant. She is co-founder of both Cool Green Campaign, a renewable energy mentoring initiative for high school students, and Drop Access, a non-profit focused on rural energy access.
The Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation was founded by the UK’s Royal Academy of Engineering in 2014 and holds the distinction as Africa’s largest award of its kind.
Report Date...: 6/27/2022
Fellow and mentor join annual SelectUSA Investment Summit
Fellow(s): Ameni Mansouri, Jeannice Samani
Country: Tunisia, United States
Fellow Ameni Mansouri of Tunisia (2018) joined the first ever Tunisian Delegation to the 2022 SelectUSA Investment Summit in Washington DC. SelectUSA is a Department of Commerce program that facilitates and highlights the jobs-creating impact of direct foreign business investment into the United States by providing a platform for international marketing, encouraging localized networking and providing access to essential services and information. Ameni attended the event as CEO and Co-Founder of Dabchy.com, a fashion community that combines social networks with shopping markets to provide users a platform to “buy, sell or exchange new and used fashion items online,” while also interacting with the posts, images and articles of fellow members, or “Dabchouchas” as they call themselves. TechWomen mentor and Managing Director of Fairrer Samani Group, Dr. Jeannice Samani, also participated in the event as a judge of the Middle East & Africa Regional Pitching Session.
The 2022 Select USA Investment Summit was the largest to date with more than 3,600 attendees, panelists, sponsors, moderators, pitchers and exhibitors from over 70 international markets and 51 states and territories. The event included keynote remarks from President Joe Biden and speeches from several US governors and cabinet secretaries among other notable figures.
Report Date...: 6/27/2022
Fellows host roundtable discussion with Kyrgyz National Academy of Sciences
Fellow(s): Kanykei Alipova, Tursunai Bektemirova, Ainura Mitalipova, and Nargiza Abdubalieva
Country: Kyrgyzstan, Palestinian Territories
Cohort: 2014, 2022
In early June, 2022 fellow Tursunai Bektemirova, a chairwoman on the Council of Young Scientists in Kyrgyzstan, co-organized a roundtable discussion with the support and participation of fellows Kanykei Alipova 2022, Ainura Mitalipova 2022, and Nargiza Abdubalieva 2014. The event, “Women in Science and Education: Trends and Perspectives”, was hosted by the National Academy of Sciences of the Kyrgyz Republic (NAS KR) and served to highlight, elevate, and support the topic of women’s roles and contributions to science and educational development in the region.
Tursunai shares that she conceived of the idea, “after coming back home from the USA TechWomen program [in] 2022. Right away, I had an idea to organize a roundtable for women in STEM.” During the event, Kanykei supported the talk by spotlighting the team’s TechWomen action plan project Kamkor, an online platform devoted to supporting working mothers at each stage of child care, and Ainura joined remotely to present her own related project, Baby Comer. The event, sponsored by the Kumtor Gold Company JSC, was attended by President of the NAS KR, Murat Dzhumatayev, as well as other noteworthy academicians, entrepreneurs, scientists, leaders and humanitarians. Topics of discussion included the socio-economic opportunities of rural young women, quality and levels of education available for women, and socio-psychological portrayals of women in science.
Report Date...: 6/6/2022
Fellow selected as World Bank Youth Summit 2022 Finalist
Fellow(s): Arielle Kitio
The World Bank selected 2016 fellow Arielle Kitio as a finalist for its 2022 Youth Summit Competition, representing her organization TechWoman Factory, part of the Cameroon Youth School Tech Incubator (CAYSTI). Arielle was one of six finalists selected from a competitive pool of 1,031 applications representing 107 countries. The 2022 summit theme was “Unlocking the Power of Inclusion for Equitable Growth,” and all finalists were selected for projects that effectively and impactfully spoke to elements of social, environmental and economic inclusion.
TechWoman Factory’s inaugural cohort consists of 179 Cameroonian youth (including 134 women), who receive professional training in one of three fields (data science, web development and digital art) for six months in Yaoundé, followed by a three-month professional mentorship with a partner organization. Additionally, all participants receive a core education in entrepreneurship, financial education, cybersecurity and soft skills such as negotiation, leadership, effective communication and creativity.
Report Date...: 5/31/2022
Fellow awarded funding for assistive technology innovation
Fellow(s): Sylvia Nyaga
Syna Consultancy, founded and led by CEO, 2022 fellow from Kenya Sylvia Nyaga, recently won second place at the Assistive Technology Innovation Showcase in Kenya. Sylvia and her organization received $6,000 USD in funding to further their mission of providing equitable and inclusive water and sanitation services. Syna Consultancy’s “top priority is the achievement of access to safe and adequate all-inclusive water and sanitation paying special attention to the needs of marginalized groups” in rural and urban communities in Kenya. The showcase was hosted by Villgro Africa, a Nairobi-based impact investor and incubator whose focus is emerging healthcare businesses in Africa, in partnership with assistive technology accelerator Innovate Now and the Kenyan National Innovation Agency (KeNIA). Applicants were selected for their potential for impact and scalability, team and product strength and awareness of user needs. In addition to funding, Syna Consultancy and other winners gained access to investor networks from Villgro Africa, Innovate Now and KeNIA, as well as mentorship and training to solicit further funding and partnerships.Read More »
Report Date...: 5/23/2022
Fellows and Mentors present at LocWorldWide46 conference
Fellow(s): Barateng Miya, Binta Moustapha, Sylvia Mukasa, Chepkemoi Magdaline, Mpara Faith Muwar, Josephine Ndambuki, Ouafa Benterki, Mimi Hills, Jannice Campbell and Melissa Biggs
Country: Algeria, Cameroon, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, United States
Cohort: 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2019
At Localization World’s LocWorldWide46 conference, TechWomen fellows and mentors organized and delivered three sessions geared toward localization, translation, and global website management and business professionals. Mentor Mimi Hills moderated “Ensuring Your Investment in Africa Is Sustainable,” which went “beyond the cultural stereotypes to understand the current business economy, describe common pitfalls for first-time investors, and make recommendations for prioritizing localization investment.” Its panelists were 2015 fellow from South Africa Barateng Miya, 2014 fellow from Nigeria Binta Moustapha and 2014 fellow from Kenya Sylvia Mukasa. Mentor Janice Campbell moderated “The Path to Entrepreneurship for Women in Africa” in which 2019 fellow from Kenya Chepkemoi Magdaline, 2017 fellow from Cameroon Mpara Faith Muwar and 2013 fellow from Kenya Josephine Ndambuki discussed their own trajectories and successes in entrepreneurship. And finally, mentor Melissa Biggs and 2012 fellow from Algeria Ouafa Benterki collaborated on the session “Out of Africa: The North Africa Translation and Technology Hub Reveled,” which highlighted, “opportunities for enterprises and localizers to engage with a vibrant North African hub that provides both technologies as well as cultural and language support services that reach far beyond the North Africa region.”Read More »
Report Date...: 5/23/2022
Fellow initiatives named BOOST Women Innovators by UNDP
Fellow(s): Elena Chigibaeva, Elena Selezneva and Saida Yusupova
Country: Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan
Cohort: 2016, 2018
Social impact accelerator and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) initiative BOOST recently announced its list of champions selected for participation in the Women Innovators program. Among those selected are two initiatives led by TechWomen fellows: Weincrypto DAO, co-founded by Kyrgyz fellow Elena Chigibaeva (2018), and Tech4Impact, founded by 2016 Uzbek fellows Elena Selezneva and Saida Yusupova. BOOST: Women Innovators will support Tech4Impact and Weincrypto DAO in their work to bridge the gender digital divide alongside 42 other women-led organizations in Europe and Central Asia that work in the realms of data, digital access, digital economy & STEM and tech innovation among women and girls.
Weincrypto is a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) founded in 2022. It is dedicated to fostering a crypto community for women, NFT collections, online training modules and support for Web 3.0 startups, stating their mission is “to help women as newbies in crypto to explore and unleash the potential of cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies for financial growth and freedom.” Tech4Impact is an NGO founded in 2019 “to join efforts and carry on the activities in the field of development of innovations, information technologies, startups, human capital, green technologies, youth and women’s entrepreneurship in Uzbekistan and the Central Asian region.” Read More »
Report Date...: 5/16/2022