Impact Stories from Entrepreneurship Policy Area
Fellows host second annual TechWomen Nigeria Conference
Fellow(s): Hannah Kabir, Busayo Durojaiye, Joy Agene, Ogechi Onuoha, Ogo Maduewesi, Azizat Gbadegesin, Oluremi Hamid, Carolyn Seaman, Hannatu Onogu
Cohort: 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018
Last week, TechWomen fellows from multiple cohorts came together to host the second annual TechWomen Nigeria Conference, convening women in technology throughout Nigeria for a one-day virtual event. Fellows Hannah Kabir (2013), Busayo Durojaiye (2014), Joy Agene (2014), Ogechi Onuoha (2014), Ogo Maduewesi (2014), Azizat Gbadegesin (2016), Oluremi Hamid (2016), Carolyn Seaman (2017) and Hannatu Onogu (2018) collaborated to deliver this year’s event themed on technology for economic and emotional well-being. TechWomen Director Katie Zee delivered opening remarks, highlighting the impact Nigerian fellows have created in their communities and beyond.
“We have selected this theme in sensitivity to the events of the year 2020, to be able to engage on key topics such as Artificial Intelligence, healthcare, automation, education and more,” said Busayo. The conference was co-sponsored by Global Tea Party, the event series founded by TechWomen mentor Dr. Jeannice Samani, who also delivered the opening keynote, “The Next Big Wave: Transformation of the Tech Economy.” Jeannice served as a Facilitator for the TechWomen 2020-2021 Professional Interest Groups, and invited Emerging Leader Flora Asibe to participate; Flora, an agricultural researcher, moderated a breakout room that discussed using technology for food security and wellness. After a series of opening talks, attendees were split into breakout sessions moderated by fellows and local tech leaders to discuss new tech trends, Artificial Intelligence and how to boost well-being in a remote work environment.
Report Date...: 12/21/20
Fellows featured in female role model campaign
Fellow(s): Shatha Jayyousi, Afnan Saqr, Rania Bader, Diana Nassar
Cohort: 2013, 2015, 2016
Fellows of Jordan Shatha Jayyousi (2013), Afnan Saqr (2015), Rania Bader (2016) and Diana Nassar (2016) were featured in a social media campaign that amplified 17 leading women in IT who serve as role models and inspire future generations of women in technology. The campaign, SHETECHS Role Models, was created by Intaj, the Information and Communications Technology Association of Jordan.
The new SHETECHS platform hopes to encourage dialogue about women’s contributions to IT, as well as provide a space for women in IT to network and share ideas. With 20 years of experience, Shatha was highlighted for her extensive experience empowering women in tech. Afnan, who recently completed a Chevening Scholarship in the UK, was featured for her commitment to social entrepreneurship and achievements in product management. Rania was amplified for her career at Orange Jordan as well as her passion for combining well-being and mental health issues with technology. Diana, who recently completed her MBA at Stanford University, was featured for her work in product management and her advocacy for women in technology.
Report Date...: 12/21/20
Fellow wins UNCTAD Women in Business Award
Fellow(s): Afnan Ali
2011 fellow Afnan Ali was named the winner of the 7th United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Empretec Women in Business Awards, recognized for her leadership and commitment to educating Jordan’s youth. Afnan is the founder of Eureka Tech Academy, a STEM education company that creates comprehensive programming and workshops for children in engineering, technology and innovation. Through its programs, Eureka offers children ages six to 16 training in robotics, pneumatics, renewable energy, mobile apps, entrepreneurship and more.
Afnan was one of ten finalists for the award, which is issued every two years for women who have participated in the UNCTAD Empretec program. “I started with a dream to help children become inventors because that’s what I wanted to be when I was a child,” said Afnan. “Having an unshakable belief of the ‘why’ behind this project is a must.” As the Women in Business Award winner, Afnan was awarded a fellowship for the Executive Education Program at IMD Business School in Switzerland.
Report Date...: 12/14/20
Fellows and mentor speak at UN event on education
Fellow(s): Janet Fofang, Reema Diab, and Eileen Brewer (mentor)
Country: Cameroon, Jordan, United States
Cohort: 2013, 2019
2013 fellow of Cameroon Janet Fofang, 2019 fellow of Jordan Reema Diab and mentor Eileen Brewer were featured speakers at this week’s Education for Justice Global Dialogue Series, a four-day event that fostered discussions on education for the rule of law, the UN SDGs and how the international education community can respond to the growing challenges in education. The series, “Reimagining education for a more just world: Inspire, change, together,” was held by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
Janet is an electrical engineering educator and advocate for girls in STEM, and Reema is the founder of Galaxy Organization, an IT non-profit that hosts programs for youth and women in artificial intelligence, coding and more. Their panel, moderated by global coordinators from the UNODC Education for Justice (E4J) initiative, featured leaders in education who shared how innovative educational tools and technologies can foster global citizenship education and improve learning outcomes.
Eileen was a featured panelist on a discussion about how youth-driven technology and entrepreneurship can accelerate progress of the SDGs. Eileen is currently the director Takween Accelerator, the first startup accelerator in Iraq.
Report Date...: 12/7/20
Fellows serve as judges for Hult Prize finals
Fellow(s): Asna Javed and Ayesha Mumtaz Khan
This week, 2019 fellows Asna Javed and Ayesha Mumtaz Khan served as judges for the Hult Prize final event at Lahore Garrison University in Lahore, Pakistan. With programs in six continents, the Hult Prize is a startup accelerator that empowers social entrepreneurs at colleges and universities to solve the world’s most pressing issues. Each year the Hult Prize awards the final winning student team with one million dollars in seed capital.
Ayesha also served as a mentor at the semi-final round of the competition. For this week’s final regional round, Asna and Ayesha, alongside another female judge, heard five student teams present their ideas on this year’s theme, Food for Good. The pitches included solutions that address food waste, recycling, empowering local vendors and more. “I focused on wow factor, sustainability and diversity of teams,” says Asna. “The TechWomen program taught me how to think logically and critically. My learning helped me a lot in yesterday’s judging.”
Report Date...: 12/7/20
Fellow wins silver at international education awards
Fellow(s): Chao Mbogo
KamiLimu, the mentorship non-profit founded by 2017 fellow Chao Mbogo, was named a Silver Winner for the Nurturing Employability Award at the 2020 Reimagine Education Awards and Conference. Known as the “Oscars for education,” the yearly awards recognize and reward innovative initiatives that enhance student education and employability. This year, over 2,000 people attended the virtual awards ceremony.
KamiLimu is a free eight-month structured mentorship program for computer science college students in Kenya. Now on their fifth cohort, KamiLimu has worked with 170 students from 19 universities and multiple community partners that enhance the students’ learning experience. The program also ensures that each cohort has 50% female students. “My heart is full,” said Chao after the win. “Today goes down in history as one of the most important days in mine and KamiLimu’s life.”
Report Date...: 12/7/20
Fellows and mentors team up for women in tech panel
Fellow(s): Chepkemoi Magdaline, Josephine Ndambuki, Ruth Kaveke, Maya Bisineer (mentor) and Jennifer Martin (mentor)
Country: Kenya, United States
Cohort: 2013, 2017, 2019
2019 fellow of Kenya Chepkemoi Magdaline recently convened a group of TechWomen mentors and fellows for a discussion on the future of work and how women can advance in the tech industry. Chepkemoi, the moderator, was joined by fellows of Kenya Josephine Ndambuki (2013) and Ruth Kaveke (2017) as well as mentors Maya Bisineer of GoDaddy and Jennifer Martin of Verizon. The panel was hosted by EldoHub, Chepkemoi’s Ed-Tech platform, and the Countrywide Innovations Hub as part of Lake Basin Innovation and Investment Week, an annual gathering for innovators and entrepreneurs in Kenya.
During their group discussion, the mentors and fellows discussed the global gender gap in technology as well as the challenges they’ve faced as women in their industries. “Every time I meet women from across the world, we have such unique stories,” said Maya. “What brings us together is a fascination for technology and the perseverance to keep going and find people who are going through something similar.” The mentors and fellows also discussed how they often had no blueprint in their career journeys, and were instead tasked with paving the way themselves. Josephine, who manages economic development and partnerships for Konza Technolopolis as well as Ruth, the founder and executive director of Pwani Teknowgalz, spoke about their TechWomen experience and how their mentors played prominent role in shaping their careers and supporting them in scaling their businesses. At the conclusion of the event, Ruth gave advice to the young women watching: “Reach out, ask for help and find the right people that will always support you,” she said.
Report Date...: 11/30/20
Fellow shares career in IT to inspire women and girls
Fellow(s): Ainura Sagyn
This week, 2017 fellow of Kyrgyzstan Ainura Sagyn participated in a panel discussion on the prospects and challenges for women in IT. The online event included alumni of the Chevening Scholarship and was hosted by UK Alumni Kyrgyzstan alongside the British Embassy Bishkek.
During the discussion, Ainura spoke about her career in IT, including her experience last month at the Apple Entrepreneur Camp. There, she further developed Tazar, her startup and waste management mobile application that reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills. Recently updated with new features, the app includes maps with collection points for recyclable materials, a platform that offers education on sorting recyclables and a platform for citizens and collectors to connect for more efficient collections.
Ainura also spoke about the next step in her professional development, a joint master’s degree in computer vision and image processing at the Universidad Autónoma in Madrid.
Report Date...: 11/30/20
Fellows featured in panel on smart cities and Industry 4.0
Fellow(s): Maysoun Ibrahim and Ameni Channoufi
Country: Palestinian Territories, Tunisia
Cohort: 2011, 2014
2011 fellow of the Palestinian Territories Dr. Maysoun Ibrahim and 2014 fellow of Tunisia Ameni Channoufi were featured panelists at the 2020 Startup Gate Virtual Summit, an event for young entrepreneurs and innovators to engage with the tech community. Ameni is a public key infrastructure and IT security consultant for Thales Group, and Maysoun is an Industry 4.0 and smart sustainable cities specialist.
In the webinar, “Smart Cities: Shaping the Society of 2030” Maysoun delivered a presentation on the Fourth Industrial Revolution and smart cities in the time of COVID-19. Maysoun emphasized that, although the pandemic has negatively affected much of the world, it has accelerated and strengthened innovation within the Fourth Industrial Revolution. More than ever, she said, smart cities are using diverse technologies to stop the spread, monitor patients and develop vaccines. In her presentation, Ameni spoke about the four security objectives for smart city solutions: availability, integrity, confidentiality and accountability.
Report Date...: 11/30/20
Fellow authors article on racial equity in technology
Fellow(s): Sylvia Mukasa
2014 fellow Sylvia Mukasa wrote an article on racial equality for TwentyThirty, an online magazine that features stories on social, political and environmental challenges in relation to the UN 2030 SDG agenda. Her piece was part of TwentyThirty’s (Un)learning Journey series.
In her article, Sylvia writes about the tech industry’s role in creating and sustaining racial inequality, and the importance of eliminating unconscious bias and intolerance that has become pervasive in the industry. She explains that while technology has created good, tools like facial recognition technology have created harmful racial and gender bias. She emphasizes that without acknowledging the problem, companies cannot move towards a solution: “…it is important to remember that if racism is not challenged – and if you or your organization are not actively anti-racist – then your unconscious or conscious racial biases will be coded and baked right into it,” she writes. Sylvia argues that through education, investing in black and minority-owned businesses and the promotion of responsible leadership, the industry can begin to move forward. “Working to undo years and years of systemic oppression can seem daunting, but we must continue this fight and work together,” she writes.
Report Date...: 11/23/20