Impact Stories from Entrepreneurship Policy Area
TechWomen and TechGirls launch alumnae platform
Fellow(s): Nisreen Deeb,Ghana Bteich, Lara Chikhani, Rasha Sukkarieh
Cohort: 2013, 2015, 2017
This week, alumnae from the TechWomen and TechGirls programs unveiled USALTech, a club and online platform that connects Lebanese exchange program alumnae, promotes opportunities for women and girls in STEM and encourages its members to share their skills and expertise.
In partnership with Legacy International and two TechGirls alumnae, fellows Nisreen Deeb (2013), Ghana Bteich (2015) and 2017 fellows Lara Chikhani and Rasha Sukkarieh hope to create monthly meetings and programming that nurture the ecosystem of local women and girls in STEM fields. The group’s first event, “Introduction to the TechGirls and TechWomen Programs,” will invite local girls and women in STEM to learn more about the TechGirls and TechWomen programs as well as network with peers in their fields.
Report Date...: 12/30/19
Fellows create speaker series to discuss digital economy
Fellow(s): Aretha Mare, Tarirayi Mukabeta, Natsai Mutezo
Cohort: 2013, 2016, 2018
Recently, 2013 fellow Aretha Mare created a roving speaker series and networking event that brings together TechWomen alumnae, leaders and policymakers to discuss Zimbabwe’s role in the digital economy. Hosted in partnership with the Zimbabwe-United States Alumni Association, Aretha has now held four events in Bulawayo, Gweru, Mutare and Harare.
With rotating fellows featured in each event, the Digital Aspirations series bring together leaders and changemakers in government, academia, business and more to discuss the creation of a vibrant digital economy in Zimbabwe. Each gathering centers around a specific topic such as boosting entrepreneurship for an inclusive digital economy, addressing the digital skills gap and data and privacy issues.
The most recent event, “Connectivity for all: unpacking infrastructure and policy issues for an inclusive digital economy,” featured 2016 fellow Tarirayi Mukabeta, 2018 fellow Natsai Mutezo, a local computer scientist, an ICT lecturer and a member of the energy regulatory authority in Zimbabwe in a panel discussion. Each expert contributed their perspective on ensuring inclusion, particularly gender inclusivity, in a thriving digital economy.
Report Date...: 12/23/19
Mentor(s): Eileen Brewer (mentor), Munira Begmuratova, Zebo Isakova
This month, TechWomen mentor Eileen Brewer traveled to Uzbekistan for a week of STEM programming meant to educate and empower local women and girls. Eileen, a longtime Professional Mentor at Symantec and 2019 Impact Coach for team Pakistan, traveled with TechWomen on the 2019 delegation trip to Uzbekistan.
In Tashkent, Eileen collaborated with fellows from multiple program years as well as the U.S. Embassy to create workshops for young girls interested in STEM, talks with early-stage women entrepreneurs, TechGirls outreach sessions and more. Eileen also had the opportunity to meet once again with young entrepreneurs at the NEST after-school program, a school she had visited during TechWomen’s delegation trip. Joined by 2016 fellow Munira Begmuratova, Eileen met with students ages eight to 16 to conduct a pitch training and support the young entrepreneurs in refining their business plans. Alongside 2019 fellow Zebo Isakova, Eileen met with 30 women for a workshop on early startup training for their craft and clothing businesses.
After she departed Tashkent, Eileen continued on to Armenia to present at a USG alumni conference on innovation, entrepreneurship and networking.
Report Date...: 12/16/19
20 girls graduate from fellow’s Girls Auto Squad program
Fellow(s): Oduwa Agboneni
This week, 20 girls graduated from Girls Auto Squad, an automotive training program created by 2019 fellow Oduwa Agboneni. The six-month training aims to address the skills shortage and gender gap in the Nigerian automotive industry through empowering underserved girls. Oduwa, a mechanical engineer, is also the founder/CEO of Nenis Auto Care and the executive director of the Nenis Foundation.
In collaboration with the Nigerian Institute of Mechanical Engineers and local foundations, Oduwa created a comprehensive training and internship program that teaches both technical and entrepreneurship skills; each girl graduated as a certified diagnostic and quick service technician. “GAS is a direct response to the challenges facing young girls in these urban centers,” says Oduwa. “The program will provide a viable pipeline of skilled female technicians to establish their own entrepreneurial ventures.” Moving forward, Oduwa hopes to create an online training program for technicians in order to reach more girls across Nigeria.
Report Date...: 12/16/19
Fellow creates online IT course for Arab youth
Fellow(s): Ala’a Agha Karss
This month, 2017 fellow of Jordan Ala’a Agha Karss partnered with Edraak, an online course platform from the Queen Rania Foundation, to create a comprehensive online training for Arab youth. Ala’a is the founder and CTO of Superiors TechHub, and trains women in the Middle East on coding, mobile app development and more.
The online course is geared towards learners 16 and up, and is focused on mobile app development using Android technology. After customizing the course for both new and advanced learners, Ala’a filmed the training in Arabic. “Language is a barrier keeping learners away from online training — not all of them speak English,” she says. “It’s really important to learn coding, as it’s the new currency of this era.” The training will soon be available on the Edraak platform, and Ala’a is looking forward to increasing youth’s access to IT education and continued learning.
Report Date...: 12/16/19
Fellow featured in interview about STEM entrepreneurship
Fellow(s): Zeenat Anjum
This week, 2019 fellow Zeenat Anjum was interviewed on The Aijaz Qureshi Show, a program that features emerging women leaders and promotes women empowerment in Pakistan. The program was streamed live on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, and encouraged its viewers to comment with questions about Zeenat, her work and the TechWomen program.
During the interview, Zeenat spoke about entrepreneurship within STEM, reflecting on her TechWomen experience and encouraging women to pursue exchange program opportunities. She highlighted her own startup, Digiwrite, an online platform that connects students and teachers through virtual classrooms and onsite workshops. She also had the opportunity to share updates about Bacha-O, Team Pakistan’s seed-grant winning initiative that aims to reduce childhood sexual abuse.
Report Date...: 12/9/19
Fellow shares five entrepreneurship lessons in TEDx talk
Fellow(s): Ameni Mansouri
2018 fellow Ameni Mansouri was a featured speaker at the inaugural TEDx Sidi Bou Said, held this week in Carthage. With a theme of “Brighten your Future,” the speaker series invited nine entrepreneurs, CEOs and artists to speak about imagination and inspiration.
Ameni is the co-founder and CEO of Dabchy.com, an online fashion marketplace with 450,000 users across Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria. In her talk, she presented five ingredients for starting a successful business from scratch. Through the lessons, she shared her takeaways from her entrepreneurship journey with Dabchy.com, including quitting her stable job in Paris to launch her business. “People are always asking me, ‘How did you get the courage to leave a stable job? How do you work in something you did not study?’” says Ameni, who has a background in pharmaceutical and biomedical engineering. “I tried to answer all these questions during my talk by explaining how important it is to take risks, how to choose the right partners, how to set the culture and the importance of the networking.”
Report Date...: 12/2/19
Fellow hosts Twitter leadership at women in tech event
Fellow(s): Adejoke Adekunle
During her TechWomen mentorship at Twitter, 2019 fellow Adejoke Adekunle had the opportunity to sit down with co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey and speak about her work as a marketing consultant and CEO of VVM, a marketing technology company. After seeing a tweet that he’d be visiting Nigeria with Twitter, Adejoke approached him, inviting his team to meet with local women in tech during their trip.
In addition to her work with VVM, Adejoke is the founder of The African Tech Woman, an organization that supports African women in starting and growing businesses in tech. On November 12, Jack Dorsey, alongside CTO Parag Agrawal and team leads Kayvon Beykpour and Mike Montano, attended a lunch and panel hosted by The African Tech Woman. There, the Twitter team spoke with local women in tech and joined a panel that discussed the Nigerian tech scene. During the panel, they shared their perspective on leadership, building quality products and their approach to diversity and inclusion.
“I’ve experienced firsthand how committed Twitter is to building a diverse team,” said Adejoke. “Jack’s trip was an opportunity to learn from entrepreneurs, developers, policy makers, investors and anyone he could meet on what they did, the challenges they encountered and how Twitter can help. I’m grateful for the opportunity to have led this and I’m super inspired.”
Report Date...: 11/25/19
Fellow interviewed about TechWomen experience
Fellow(s): Aigerim Kunadilova
This month, 2019 fellow Aigerim Kunadilova was interviewed for a feature in Tengri News, an English language news outlet in Kazakhstan. In the article, Aigerim spoke about her TechWomen experience and her work as a woman in tech.
Aigerim is the founder of Top Generation Group, an online education company that offers international English exam preparation courses such as TOEFL and IELTS. With no formal background in tech, Aigerim shared her journey building an international online Edtech business and growing it into a flourishing company. She also speaks about her TechWomen mentorship at Twitter, where she gained new skills, tools and contacts: “I met and talked to managers of the company, where I got valuable tips on improving my online school and choosing programmers for my team,” she said.
Report Date...: 11/25/19
Fellow hosts hackathon for justice at World Bank Group in DC
Fellow(s): Lindiwe Matlali
Country: South Africa, United States
This month, 2017 fellow of South Africa Lindiwe Matlali’s initiative Africa Teen Geeks collaborated with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the World Bank Group to hold a global #Hackathon4Justice in Washington, D.C. Hosted at the World Bank Headquarters, the three-day hackathon brought 25 students ages 13-18 from Bulgaria, India, Mexico, Tunisia and South Africa together to develop solutions to combat exploitation and promote peace in their home countries and beyond. TechWomen director Katie Zee, Professional Mentor Eileen Brewer, and three 2019 TechWomen fellows attended the event; Eileen provided coaching and mentorship to the country teams, guiding them in crystallizing their ideas and presenting their pitches.
Over the three days, the five student teams learned from World Bank and UNODC leaders as they developed innovative solutions that promoted inclusive societies and access to justice for all. A panel of judges, which included Amy Christianson from the Department of State, named Mexico the winner at the end of the hackathon: the team’s interactive game for young children will be able to send red flag warnings to teachers about potential domestic violence situations. As a prize, the team will travel to the UN’s 14th Crime Congress in Kyoto in April 2020 to present their app. At the conclusion of the event, Lindiwe addressed all teams, saying “I have been so inspired to hear all your ideas. When you go home, do the same and inspire your peers to make a difference.”
Report Date...: 11/18/19