Impact Stories from Entrepreneurship Policy Area
Mentor(s): Eileen Brewer, Rekha Pai-Kamath, Chepkemoi Magdaline
Mentor Type: Impact
TechWomen Impact Coaches Eileen Brewer and Rekha Pai-Kamath, as well as TechWomen 2019 Emerging Leader Chepkemoi Magdaline, were featured speakers at this month’s 2019 Grace Hopper Celebration. The annual event is the world’s largest gathering of women technologists and brings comprehensive programming featuring global women leaders.
Eileen’s session, “Pitch Perfect,” offered 10 elements for creating an impactful pitch deck. Rekha was a featured panelist in “Creating Meaningful Impact through Tech Non-profits,” sharing her expertise on how tech can offer sustainable solutions to leading issues. Chepkemoi, who attended the event after week one of TechWomen 2019, was a winner of the AnitaB.org Pass It On program, which offers grants to women whose projects support women in computing. Alongside TechWomen alumnae, Chepkemoi is a part of North-Rift Women in STEM Inclusion Project, an initiative that organizes three-day boot camps women in rural regions of Kenya. At GHC, Chepkemoi led a session and participated in a panel speaking about her work supporting and empowering women and girls.
Report Date...: 10/7/19
Fellow recognized for work in digital inclusion
Fellow(s): Sophie Ngassa
This month, 2013 fellow Sophie Ngassa was highlighted as a woman who is playing an integral role in shaping the future of the internet in Africa. She was featured by the African School on Internet Governance, an annual five-day residential course that brings together Africans from diverse backgrounds to speak about global internet governance and work to shape the future of the internet landscape.
Sophie is a civil engineer, STEM advocate and founder of the Center for Youth Education and Economic Development, a digital empowerment training center for youth in Cameroon. Sophie is an advocate for an open internet – “an internet without borders,” she says – and works to empower civilians and policymakers to ensure that the internet is both safe and accessible to everyone, regardless of location, gender and economic background.
Report Date...: 10/7/19
2019 Emerging Leaders share perspectives on TechWomen blog
Fellow(s): Sitora Salaeva, Zani Gichuki, Esra’a Alsanie
Country: Jordan, Kenya, Uzbekistan
Recently, three 2019 Emerging Leaders wrote guest blogs in our returning blog series, Emerging Leader Voices. In their posts, Sitora Salaeva of Uzbekistan, Zani Gichuki of Kenya and Esra’a Alsanie of Jordan shared their perspectives on being women in STEM fields. In Arriving at my dream, Sitora – who applied to TechWomen four times before being accepted – spoke about often being the only woman on her team or in her department, prompting her to become an advocate for gender equality in the workplace.
At the age of 14, Zani was asked whether she’d rather be the wife of a doctor or an engineer. Now a civil engineer herself, Zani shares her perspective in Defying expectations: my journey in STEM. In our final guest blog post, Esra’a offers insight on how to accept and overcome obstacles. As founder and CEO of an edtech startup, Esra’a credits remaining flexible as a crucial factor to her success. Read her key takeaways in You can only connect the dots looking backward.
Report Date...: 9/30/19
Fellow and Emerging Leader meet with Duchess of Sussex
Fellow(s): Baratang Miya, Nobukhosi Dlamini
Country: South Africa
Cohort: 2015, 2019
This month, 2015 fellow Baratang Miya and 2019 Emerging Leader Nobukhosi Dlamini met with the Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, during her recent tour of South Africa. The Cape Town event, Ladies who Launch, was hosted by the UK-SA Tech Hub, a virtual hub and training center for entrepreneurs and founders with a focus on women in tech. Baratang and Nobukhosi were among a group of 13 women selected as leaders who drive positive change and serve as role models for women in their communities.
At a roundtable, Baratang and Nobukhosi were invited to share their professional journeys and their efforts to address gender equality within their fields. They spoke about what drives and motivates them, and were invited to share in what ways tenacity has allowed them to achieve their career goals.
Report Date...: 9/30/19
Fellows come together for women empowerment bootcamp
Fellow(s): Nassima Berrayah, Amel Chenouf, Essema Redouane-Salah, Nacira Boussoualim
Cohort: 2012, 2013, 2018
This week, 2013 fellow Nassima Berrayah organized a training bootcamp and competition for women in Algeria, inviting 2012 fellows Amel Chenouf and Essma Redouane-Salah and 2018 fellow Nacira Boussoualim to participate as mentors and coaches. Nassima is the founder of WeAccelerator, a program that supports women founders and entrepreneurs. She organized the event in partnership with the Netherlands Embassy and Global Startup Weekend, a yearly event connects startup communities around the world.
The week brought 44 participants from 11 startup teams from backgrounds such as computer science, biology, medicine, chemistry and finance together for training sessions, workshops and discussions. The sessions focused on communications, new technologies, pitching and entrepreneurship. At the end of the bootcamp, a winning startup team was chosen to represent Algeria in the Global Startup Weekend Finals, held in Singapore in 2020. “By the end of the event, I was very amazed seeing how in just three days, the participants arrived to present a great project and new ideas,” said Nacira. “Most of them were young and had a willingness to make a change.”
Report Date...: 9/30/19
Mentor(s): 2019 Emerging Leaders
On Sunday, IIE welcomed the arrival of the 2019 cohort of 108 Emerging Leaders from 21 countries. This year’s Emerging Leaders will join TechWomen’s network of over 300 Professional Mentors, Cultural Mentors and Impact Coaches – and an alumnae community of over 600 fellows and 700 mentors – as they embark on five weeks of mentorship and professional exchange.
This year’s 40 host company partners include Glassdoor, 23andMe and Salesforce; the program is also welcoming a group of new host companies, including Airbnb, SurveyMonkey, Okta and Zume. TechWomen’s first week of programming includes the Cultural Kickoff, where Emerging Leaders will showcase the rich culture of their home countries, as well as Action Plan Workshop 1, where country teams will establish the foundation of their action plans alongside their Impact Coaches.
Leading into the program, three 2019 Emerging Leaders wrote guest posts on the TechWomen blog in the series Emerging Leader Voices, sharing their perspectives as women in STEM and highlighting and their achievements, challenges and life lessons. Follow along as we provide #techwomen19 updates on Twitter, Instagram, and the TechWomen blog!
Report Date...: 9/23/19
2013 seed grant winners hold 6th annual STEM expo
Fellow(s): Sandra Tererai, Nomso Kana, Chioniso Dube-Hachigonta
Country: South Africa
This month, 2013 fellows of South Africa Sandra Tererai, Nomso Kana and Chioniso Dube-Hachigonta held a one-week STEM expo for 30 students representing South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Eswatini. Taungana, a TechWomen 2013 seed grant-winning initiative, holds the annual event to connect rural girls to women mentors, educational resources and leading professionals in STEM fields.
Throughout the week, the students (called Ambassadors) were immersed in multiple STEM industries, visiting local universities, science museums, tech companies and a local power utility. During their day trips, the students received hands-on lessons on nuclear fission, cryptocurrency, aviation, coding, health sciences and the electricity generation process. During a visit to Uber, the Ambassadors got a behind-the-scenes look at the local Greenlight Hub, followed by a session on design thinking. The week also included a pitch night where Ambassadors pitched 90-second scientific solutions to social challenges.
Report Date...: 9/23/19
Fellow featured as keynote speaker at energy conference
Fellow(s): Charity Wanjiku
2017 fellow of Kenya Charity Wanjiku was a featured keynote speaker and panelist at the Future Energy East Africa conference, held this week in Lagos, Nigeria. Charity is the co-founder and COO of Strauss Energy, a company that brings cost-effective and renewable energy to power off-grid areas in Kenya and beyond.
Charity, who Forbes named one of The World’s Top 50 Women in Tech 2018, shared her expertise on establishing and operating mini-grid systems in underserved communities. She spoke about achieving successful implementation through community participation, community ownership and community understanding. During her keynote at the Women in Power Luncheon, Charity spoke about women-owned businesses in the energy sector. She emphasized the importance of creating business opportunities for women, and explored issues of gender equality in the male-dominated clean energy sector.
Next month, Charity will be attending Women in Tech in Finland, speaking alongside former Yahoo CEO and president Marissa Mayer and other leading women in technology.
Report Date...: 9/16/19
Fellow completes 2019 STEM training for youth in Cameroon
Fellow(s): Mpara Faith
Recently, 2017 fellow Mpara Faith concluded the 2019 program for ICT4KIDS, her training initiative that educates and empowers youth in Cameroon. Launched in 2018, ICT4KIDS brings STEM education and community development skills to children ages five to 18.
This year, Mpara was able to expand the program and offer two five-week sessions for participants, each attended by students from different regions and schools throughout Cameroon. Through lessons and lectures, team building exercises and pitch training, the sessions explored game development, graphic design, leadership and critical thinking. In the first session, the students developed their own games using Scratch technology, culminating in a game development competition with prizes for winning teams.
The program’s second session invited participants from ICT4KIDS’ inaugural training in 2018, and included additional lessons on Python programming, electronics, pitching and project implementation. The students had an opportunity to meet with Buea’s local Facebook Developers Circle, asking engineers and programmers questions about their careers. The five weeks concluded with students pitching an impact project that addressed an issue in their community. In one presentation, a student presented on bribery, outlining its causes, effects and her solutions to address it through education and advocacy.
Report Date...: 9/9/19
Fellows establish Uzbekistan’s first green tech accelerator
Fellow(s): Saida Yusupova, Elena Selezneva
Recently, 2016 fellows Saida Yusupova and Elena Selezneva organized
Uzbekistan’s first green startup accelerator program. The accelerator,
Water Solutions Innovation Lab, was established for green business
startups that are working to advance green technologies and solve water
The accelerator was implemented by Saida’s company, Green Business
Innovation, and founded with a mission to create awareness about
environmental challenges and bring the latest innovative technologies to
the agricultural and environmental sectors within the country. Earlier this
year, the innovation lab accepted 12 startups into an intensive six month
program, and became the first Uzbek program to partner with
ClimateLaunchpad, the world’s largest green business ideas competition.
During the program, ClimateLaunchpad’s founder and lead trainer
traveled to Uzbekistan to conduct a two-day bootcamp for participating startups.
The program culminated with a Demo Day in August, held in partnership with ClimateLaunchpad, where the teams pitched a group of judges and local investors. The two winning startups were invited to the ClimateLaunchpad Grand Finale in Amsterdam, which will be held in November. VIOM, the team that won first place, consists of two women who are producing water-soluble and biodegradable products for agricultural applications.
Report Date...: 9/2/19