Impact Stories from Entrepreneurship Policy Area
Fellow shares hiring expertise with local tech companies
Fellow(s): Sarah Abdallah
Recently, 2016 fellow Sarah Abdallah shared her expertise on tech hiring at an event organized by Lebanese IT Syndicate, a group that represents the Lebanese IT community and ICT sector. Sarah is the CEO of LIBRO, a company that addresses youth unemployment challenges in the MENA region by providing training, consulting and recruitment services for universities and companies in STEM fields.
At her talk, Sarah shared hiring tools companies can use to fulfill their open positions and reduce the unemployment rate of people with technical backgrounds. Part of the issue, Sarah explained, is that companies don’t always know how to draft proper job descriptions for their open positions. She showed how companies can be specific by listing particular programming languages and educational backgrounds necessary for the jobs they need to fulfill. Sarah also encouraged the group to form committees to support tech companies in drafting job descriptions: “This would both ease recruitment and retain talent,” she said.
Report Date...: 7/29/19
Fellow launches initiative for women entrepreneurs
Fellow(s): Crescence Elodie
This month, 2018 fellow Crescence Elodie launched WETECH, an organization dedicated to supporting African girls and women in the fields of entrepreneurship and technology. Through leadership programs, digital entrepreneurship bootcamps and capacity-building trainings, Crescence hopes that WETECH will become the leading platform in West and Central Africa that empowers women in technology.
“I decided to launch this initiative with the aim of supporting women,” says Crescence. “We are passionate about giving them equal chances in leadership positions and economic inclusion.” Already, WETECH has hosted a networking event for women in technology, and co-organized a women’s workshop on Boost with Facebook, a training session that showed women how to optimize Facebook, WhatsApp Business and Instagram for their businesses.
Report Date...: 7/19/19
Fellow launches coworking space for female founders
Fellow(s): Baratang Miya, Zimkhita Buwa
Country: South Africa
Cohort: 2013, 2015
This month, 2015 fellow of South Africa Baratang Miya launched Uhuru Spaces, a coworking space designed to bring together and support female founders. The space will provide women access to workshops, networking opportunities and special events with investors and entrepreneurs.
Baratang, the founder of Girlhype, conceived of Uhuru Spaces with the help of 2013 fellow Zimkhita Buwa. “After TechWomen, I resigned from my full-time job but felt coworking spaces were a waste of my time,” says Baratang. “After explaining to her why I think they don’t work especially for us women, she looked at me and said, ‘then let’s start our own.’”
Uhuru Spaces officially opened with an event and panel that featured mentor Eileen Brewer, who shared her advice on angel investing and pitching. In the next 10 years, Baratang hopes to provide 10,000 women access to new business opportunities. “This has been a lifelong dream, and the biggest mission so far,” she says.
Report Date...: 7/22/19
Fellows provide training and jobs for underserved women
Fellow(s): Afnan Saqer, Sondos Samara
Cohort: 2015, 2018
This month, TechWomen fellows Sondos Samara (2018) and Afnan Saqer (2015) collaborated to provide job training to 1,200 women in the Jordan Valley, an agricultural region of the country. Sondos, a quality manager at Jordan’s first food analysis laboratory, partnered with the international development agency MEDA to bring the one-day training that focused on building business and entrepreneurial skills. Sondos enlisted the help of Afnan, who works as a project manager and trainer. At her session, Afnan led a training on Business Model Canvas, a strategic template for startups and entrepreneurs.
Soon, Sondos and her team will select 300 women to work in three kitchens based in the Jordan Valley. Once hired, the women will produce and sell food products such as dried fruit to both generate revenue and help them develop their business skills.
Report Date...: 7/22/19
Fellows travel to South Africa as Obama Foundation leaders
Fellow(s): Mpara Faith, Grace Pirisai
Country: Cameroon, Zimbabwe
This week, two TechWomen fellows traveled to Johannesburg as 2019 Obama Foundation Leaders to represent their countries and brainstorm innovative solutions to socioeconomic issues. Mpara Faith, 2017 fellow of Cameroon and Grace Pisirai, 2017 fellow of Zimbabwe, were chosen as emerging leaders for Leaders: Africa, a program of the Obama Foundation that supports changemakers from the African continent through a one-year leadership development and civic engagement program.
Joining 200 fellow impact leaders from 45 countries, Mpara and Grace participated in skill-building workshops, leadership development training and service projects. Throughout the week, participants were challenged with finding creative approaches to problem-solving and establishing individual action plans that address leading issues in their communities.
Mpara is the founder of ICT4KIDS, a training program that educates and empowers children in Cameroon through hands-on STEM activities. Grace is co-founder of Purple Future Trust, a startup founded to educate underserved women and girls in science, engineering and mathematics through interactive technology. During the program year, Mpara and Grace will engage in online programming activities, including interactive webinars, discussions on ethical leadership and peer reviews for their action plans.
Report Date...: 7/15/19
Mentor collaborates with fellows in Jordan and the West Bank
Fellow(s): Erin Keeley, Nour Altobasi, Shatha Jayyousi, Nadiah Saba’neh, Alaa’ Fatayer
Country: Jordan, Palestinian Territories, United States
Cohort: 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017
This month, longtime TechWomen mentor Erin Keeley traveled to Jordan and the West Bank, meeting with fellows and giving presentations to women entrepreneurs and leaders.
In Jordan, Erin visited 2017 fellow Nour Altobasi at her company, Mawdoo3, giving a presentation on leadership to their new technical and program managers. She also visited Code on the Road, the AEIF-winning initiative of 2013 fellow Shatha Jayyousi, to present on entrepreneurship and mentorship. In the West Bank, Erin coordinated with 2015 fellow Nadiah Saba’neh to organize a session for entrepreneurs at Nadiah’s employer, Rawabi Tech Hub. Erin also presented on design thinking at a session attended by multiple TechWomen fellows at Fikra Paltel Group, an innovation hub managed by 2014 fellow Alaa’ Fatayer. “What was so amazing was the accomplishments of the fellows,” said Erin. “They have new jobs, new promotions and are giving back to their communities.”
Report Date...: 7/15/19
Fellow selected for startup accelerator for female founders
Fellow(s): Ameni Mansouri
2018 fellow Ameni Mansouri and her startup Dabchy were one of eight startups selected by womena for its Womentum Accelerator, a four-month, experience-based program focused on enhancing female-led tech startups in the Middle East and North Africa.
Ameni is founder and CEO of Dabchy, an online marketplace for pre-owned clothes, bags and accessories in North Africa. Says Ameni, who is eager to connect with an international audience and build genuine connections with others: “We are proud to join Womentum, where the expertise and partnerships will improve our execution and ensure our growth through access to a large network and regional market,” she said. “Our business is growing and we need to think global.”
Report Date...: 7/1/19
Mentor(s): Katie Penn
Mentor Type: Professional
Last week, TechWomen Professional Mentor Katie Penn presented at the 13th annual DevRelCon, held this year in San Francisco. The conference brings together developer practitioners in order to build awareness, share tools and explore solutions to diverse needs in the greater developer community.
In her talk, “Leading with authenticity: tips for growing and nurturing developer communities,” Katie, the director of developer marketing at Twitch, shared best practices for interacting authentically with diverse developer communities. Through a top 10 list, she shared best practices on increasing transparency, fostering respect and focusing on inclusivity. She encouraged leaders to admit mistakes and to lead with solutions rather than roadmaps. Recently, Katie traveled with the TechWomen delegation trip to Sierra Leone and wrote a blog post about her experience.
Report Date...: 6/17/19
Fellow shares journey to entrepreneurship
Fellow(s): Sabine El Kahi
This week, 2014 fellow Sabine El Kahi was featured in the “Women on Top” series for Berytech, an initiative that provides support to innovative and passionate entrepreneurs in Lebanon. In her interview, Sabine outlined her business and career strategies, sharing what drives her as an entrepreneur.
Sabine is the founder of Kids Genius, a STEM-based initiative that spreads maker culture to young students through hands-on activities and courses in their maker hubs. In her interview, she spoke about Kids Genius’s four makerspaces, three of which collaborate with local foundations and NGOs to serve underprivileged communities. “The main drive was my passion to have a meaningful and purposeful life,” she said. “I love and enjoy seeing the excitement on young people’s faces while working at The Makers Hub… Their eyes glow when they see the connection between what they study and how things are built and produced.”
Report Date...: 6/17/19
Fellows host mentorship event for students in Karakol
Fellow(s): Nazira Sheraly, Aiturgan Zulpukarova, Elena Chigibaeva, Gulzire Minbaeva
Cohort: 2016, 2017, 2018
Last week, 2016 fellow Nazira Sheraly, 2017 fellow Aiturgan Zulpukarova and 2018 fellows Elena Chigibaeva and Gulzire Minbaeva organized an event that brought together students for a day of inspiration and learning. The meetup, held at the American Corner Karakol, was the first event hosted by Techaim, a mentorship program recently launched by Nazira and the fellows. Through Techaim, the fellows aspire to support women in STEM fields, particularly those outside of the capital city, to grow and develop. With support from program volunteers, the fellows coordinated the event, engaged partners and presented on their own work and initiatives.
Eighty high school and university students attended the day’s programming, which featured keynotes and presentations from local women in tech. Elena, a CEO and independent consultant, presented on her career trajectory and expanded on Techaim’s mission to educate and mentor students interested in tech. Aiturgan spoke to the students about Kuragami, her company that works with local artisans to make sustainable and ethically sourced products. “Participants loved it, and the students were inspired by our supportive community of women in tech,” said Nazira. Techaim hosted its second meetup on June 15 in Osh and has plans to continue scaling.
Report Date...: 6/10/19