Impact Stories from Entrepreneurship Policy Area
In Medium piece fellow shares traits of trailblazers
Fellow(s): Haneen AbuFarha
Country: Palestinian Territories
In her latest piece on Medium, “Brainy is the new Trendy,” 2015 fellow Haneen AbuFarha shares the qualities of people who facilitate growth and challenge worldviews, listing the “brainy” people in her life who have changed her career perspective.
“They will listen, then listen more, and after that, they won’t give feedback immediately. They will first ask quick, sharp, consecutive two or three questions,” writes Haneen when describing the deep thinkers and entrepreneurs she’s met during her career. “Those questions will be so simple, yet so surprisingly not counted for before.” The first leader she lists is Mitchell Baker, CEO of the Mozilla Foundation, who she met during TechWomen. “Mitchell manifested how limitless a powerful woman can be. She would look you in the eye, read you in a glance, give quick two sentences, and wrap up with closing wisdom,” Haneen writes. She also shares her top lesson she learned from Mitchell: “Stop making baseless excuses that will stop you from reaching your fullest potential.”
Report Date...: 8/17/20
Fellow designs chatbot to support victims of GBV in Cameroon
Fellow(s): Cresence Elodie
2018 fellow Cresence Elodie, founder of WETECH, announced a new partnership that will support victims of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in rural areas of Cameroon.
WETECH’s programs work to support African girls and women in the fields of entrepreneurship and technology. Their new partnership with the Center for Advocacy, Gender Equality and Action for Development (CAGEAD) used WETECH’s technology to design and launch “Alert GBV,” a chatbot similar to Sandra, WETECH’s COVID-19 chatbot that shares information on symptoms and local initiatives that support Cameroonians. Alert GBV, now available on the CAGEAD website, allows victims of Gender-Based Violence in the Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon to maintain anonymity but access support from organizations and health professionals. Visitors to the CAGEAD site receive a pop up chat from Alert GBV that connects them to a virtual assistant prepared to answer their questions and address their needs.
Report Date...: 8/17/20
Fellow delivers keynote on design and innovation in Africa
Fellow(s): Maureen Macharia
2018 fellow Maureen Macharia presented on the role of design in a post-COVID-19 era at last month’s UX South Africa, a virtual conference focused on designing for today, tomorrow and beyond. Maureen is a designer and founder of Spindle Design, an agency that partners with companies and entrepreneurs to bring people-centered design across multiple sectors throughout Africa.
In her keynote, Maureen spoke about how design can shape the future of innovation in Africa, focusing specifically on designing in a crisis: “Does design fit into shaping a post-crisis world? The short answer, without a shadow of a doubt in my mind: yes,” she said. Maureen stressed the need for designers to be agile, adaptive and ready to “unlearn, learn and re-learn.” She also spoke about how the COVID-19 pandemic has opened opportunities for designers to create new solutions, new collaborations and new avenues for partnerships: “Opportunity is all around us – we need to be the one to adapt to it,” she said.
Despite global shifts in work and workplaces, Maureen reminded the audience that design will always be a team sport, and together designers must innovate for change. “Don’t waste the crisis. Don’t waste your skills. It’s an opportunity to tap into a number of the challenges we see,” she said.
Report Date...: 8/10/20
Mentor(s): Tanu Chellam (Mentor)
Mentor Type: Professional
TechWomen Professional Mentor Tanu Chellam was named a recipient of the YWCA Silicon Valley’s Tribute to Women Awards, an annual event that honors women executive leaders and emerging leaders throughout Silicon Valley. The awards’ sponsor, YWCA, is a local organization that works to eliminate racism and empower women in Silicon Valley through advocacy and programming. One of their initiatives, Curated Pathways to Innovation, supports women and underrepresented minorities in pursuing a career in STEM.
Each year the awards ceremony honors up to 50 women leaders and attracts over 800 attendees. Tanu, who worked as a product management lead at Autodesk, was selected for her achievements in her field and for expanding professional opportunities for other women. She has since relocated to London to serve as co-founder and head of product at a startup.
Report Date...: 8/10/20
In guest blog fellow reflects on creating the “Silicon Savannah”
Fellow(s): Josephine Ndambuki
In the latest post on the TechWomen blog, 2013 fellow Josephine Ndambuki reflects on her TechWomen experience and career trajectory that led her to helping create a groundbreaking project in Kenya.
Josephine is the manager for economic development, partnerships and resource mobilization for Konza Technolopolis Development Authority, a flagship project south of Nairobi that is part of Kenya’s Vision 2030 economic development portfolio. Konza Technopolis will be a world-class mixed-use walkable city and innovation hub with ICT, engineering and life sciences sectors. “My acceptance to the TechWomen program signified a new turn; it was the wind that propelled me in the direction of my passion,” Josephine writes. In the post, she recalls visiting an accelerator program in Silicon Valley and learning about tech founders at the forefront of innovation: “As I looked at the company logos in the ‘wall of fame’ I couldn’t help but wonder what it would take for Kenya to have the same thing.” Phase one construction has begun on the tech city, which is projected to create 17,000 direct jobs when it’s completed.
Report Date...: 7/20/20
Fellows host live session for TechWomen seed grant project
Fellow(s): Asna Javed, Ayesha Mumtaz Kahn, Asmara Rahat, Farhat Yasmeen and Zeenat Anjum
Recently, the 2019 TechWomen seed grant-winning team who created Bachaoo held a live session on dealing with the trauma of child sexual abuse. Fellows Asna Javed, Ayesha Mumtaz Kahn, Asmara Rahat, Farhat Yasmeen and Zeenat Anjum founded Bachaoo in order to create awareness around child sexual abuse and advocate for children and victims in Pakistan.
Their Facebook Live session featured Ambreen Qureshi, an integrative therapist who spoke about the different types of trauma, shared how parents can identify signs of sexual abuse and gave tips on how to reach out to mental health professionals. Soon, the fellows will host another Facebook Live conversation with an educationist and therapist on children’s emotional health. “Overall, we are making great progress,” says Asna. “We have more than 2,000 followers now. People are reaching out to us and want to be a part of the cause.”
Report Date...: 7/20/20
TechWomen alumnae offer advice and inspiration for TechGirls
Fellow(s): Azhar Mambetova, Dalel Mansour, Faten Khalfallah, Ghada Ameen, Nisreen Deeb, Sara Dib
Country: Algeria, Egypt, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Tunisia
Cohort: 2013, 2015, 2018, 2019
Recently, TechGirls created a resource for TechGirls participants and girls interested in STEM fields to hear from TechWomen fellows, receive mentorship and learn about careers in STEM. Profiles of Women in STEM features TechWomen fellows from Algeria, Egypt, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon and Tunisia who created videos sharing their career journeys and the lessons they learned along the way.
Fellows Azhar Mambetova (Kyrgyzstan, 2019), Dalel Mansour (Tunisia, 2015), Faten Khalfallah (Tunisia, 2015) Ghada Ameen (Egypt, 2018), Nisreen Deeb (Lebanon, 2013) and Sara Dib (Algeria, 2019) participated in the initiative, highlighting their career wins and challenges, and offering advice for girls who are curious about STEM. “I chose to teach in technology because I wanted to inspire others…and you can inspire others too,” said Faten, who also gave advice for finding a career in STEM: “I advise all the TechGirls, all the girls, to discover many domains and many subjects. I advise them to choose the career that you love,” she said. Azhar chronicled her career in banking and fintech, speaking about what drives her to mentor others: “In my career, I hadn’t had a lot of role models…and at some point, I decided I can become one,” she said. Nisreen presented on her experience as a woman in tech, encouraging girls to raise their voice, ask for help and give back to their community. “I’m really proud to be a woman in tech,” she said. “Why? Because we can inspire, we can give back to our community and we can help other people.”
Report Date...: 7/13/20
Fellow named to Women in Africa 54 list
Fellow(s): Ameni Mansouri
Country: Kenya, Tunisia
2018 fellow Ameni Mansouri is one of 54 African women entrepreneurs awarded the WIA54, an initiative that recognizes start-up founders that are shaping the future of Africa. The project is part of Women in Africa, a platform that supports the economic development of leading and high potential African women. They also have an institute dedicated to sharing knowledge around gender-related issues and developing proposals for the inclusion of women in African economies.
WIA54 selects one woman entrepreneur from each African country, chosen for their innovation, ambition and success in the market. Ameni is the co-founder and CEO of Dabchy, the first fashion social network in Tunisia where users can buy and sell used clothing online. The 54 selected entrepreneurs will gain access to one year of mentorship from large companies, features on the WIA platform and networking opportunities with top leaders.
Report Date...: 7/13/20
Fellow shares advice to young entrepreneurs in webinar
Fellow(s): Salma Gherraby
This week, 2019 fellow Salma Gherraby delivered a webinar for young entrepreneurs in Morocco, sharing best practices on building a thriving business. The series, [email protected], is hosted by Ajtcd, a local NGO, with support from the U.S. Embassy Rabat.
Salma is the founder and CEO of Business Innovation, a tech consultancy and training firm. In her session, “10 Steps to Launch my Startup,” Salma presented on establishing a foundation for startups, developing an entrepreneurial mindset and understanding the entrepreneurial ecosystem within Morocco. She also shared her own journey in entrepreneurship and technology, demonstrating how she has built her own brand, developed a business model and learned how to effectively problem solve throughout her career. “45 people stayed and concentrated until the end, were interactive and even stayed after the session,” said Salma.
Report Date...: 6/29/20
Fellow represents Algeria on global smart cities panel
Fellow(s): Ouafa Benterki
This month, 2012 fellow Ouafa Benterki joined other senior executives on a panel at the G-20Y Summit, a gathering of international tech leaders and entrepreneurs. The live session brought together experts to talk about the Smart City concept and how to make smart cities inclusive, safe and scalable.
Ouafa is the CEO and founder of MTY Intelligent Software, a technology startup that provides data analytics and localization services. It’s also the first Algerian startup to focus on artificial intelligence. During the session, Ouafa and the other panelists spoke about the key technologies that enable smart cities including AI, IoT, drones and more. They also discussed the challenges that arise when governments and municipalities deploying smart city innovations, sharing their insights on issues of privacy, ethics and trust.
Report Date...: 6/22/20