Impact Stories from Entrepreneurship Policy Area
Fellow accepted into bioscience accelerator program
Fellow(s): Dr. Tiisetso Lephoto
Country: South Africa
This month, 2016 fellow of South Africa Dr. Tiisetso Lephoto was accepted into FemBioBiz, an accelerator program with a mission to support, connect and empower ambitious women entrepreneurs in agri-food, biowaste and health sectors.
Tiisetso, who has a PhD in microbiology and biotechnology, recently launched Nematech, a biotech startup that will supply farmers with biopesticides and other eco-friendly products to control problematic pests. She was one of 12 women selected for the program and will soon begin a bootcamp followed by a pitching competition to investors. Tiisetso has received multiple accolades and awards for her research, including the Excellence in Science Engagement award from the National Research Foundation.
Report Date...: 6/10/19
Fellows attend GES2019 in The Hague
Fellow(s): Aia Abdul-Haj, Majd Hemiemat, Lucy Wanjiku, Bisma Hayat
Country: Jordan, Kenya, Pakistan
Cohort: 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018
This week, TechWomen fellows from multiple countries and cohorts convened at the 2019 Global Entrepreneurship Summit held in The Hague. The annual summit, co-hosted in 2019 by the U.S. and Dutch governments, brought together global leaders, entrepreneurs and policymakers for three days of plenaries, forums and keynotes. With a theme of “The Future Now,” this year’s summit offered programming themed on health, water, food/agriculture, women’s empowerment, industries of the future and more.
Fellows of Jordan Aia Abul-Haj (2018) and Majd Hemiemat (2014), 2016 fellow of Kenya Lucy Wanjiku and 2017 fellow of Pakistan Bisma Hayat were part of a group of 2,000 individuals selected out of 5,500 applications to attend this year’s summit. Applicants were selected for presenting innovative and new solutions within their fields and for demonstrating a scalable business that is attractive to potential investors.
Aia received a fully funded invitation after applying on behalf of her startup, SOLVillion, a company that specializes in engineering solutions in construction, water, sanitation and renewable energy. The fellows – engineers, company founders, consultants and business development managers – had the opportunity to network, share industry best practices and learn about new technologies are shaping future advancement.
Report Date...: 6/3/19
Fellow organizes Nairobi’s first UxP conference
Fellow(s): Maureen Macharia
Last week, 2018 fellow Maureen Macharia hosted UxP Nairobi, the city’s first design and product conference. The inaugural event was conceived to bring together design leaders, creatives and entrepreneurs to learn about new tools and share best practices in innovation. Through breakout sessions on brand strategy, machine learning, fintech and more, attendees shared ideas and drew inspiration from across multiple industries.
Maureen is the founder of Spindle Design, a UX and product design studio that brings together cross-functional teams to design and develop technology products. “We had a great turnout, an engaged audience, and amazing speakers and sessions,” she said.
Report Date...: 6/3/19
Fellows featured as leading innovators in tech
Fellow(s): Sondos Samara, Afnan Ali
Cohort: 2011, 2018
2018 fellow Sondos Samara and 2011 fellow Afnan Ali were recently recognized as innovators in Jordan by Global Innovation Path, an initiative that educates, advises and amplifies leaders in emerging countries.
With a mission to raise awareness about diverse innovators piloting new technologies, Global Innovation Path selects leaders in the fields of tech, health and evolving education. Sondos is the founder of SanadyMe, an interactive online platform where medical patients can share their experiences, find support and learn about research and the latest medical technologies in a safe environment. In her video feature, Sondos explained the mission of SanadyMe, highlighting their goal of creating a database for medical providers and pharmaceutical companies that can improve drug development and better address patient needs in the MENA region.
Afnan is the founder of Eureka Tech Academy, a program that specializes in educating children on engineering, invention and transforming ideas into products and services. In her feature, she spoke about founding and scaling her initiative, stressing the importance of educating the next generation: “If we want to make a revolution in technology, we should start by educating kids,” she said.
Report Date...: 5/27/19
Fellow shares keynote address at tech conference
Fellow(s): Sylvia Mukasa
2014 fellow Sylvia Mukasa was a featured keynote speaker at this month’s East Africa Com, an annual event that brings together more than 700 technology leaders from throughout the African continent.
Sylvia is the founder and CEO of GlobalX Investments/Innovation Labs and also serves as the Kenya chapter lead of Women in Tech Africa. In her keynote, “Ensuring an Inclusive Journey Towards Africa 4.0,” Sylvia spoke about the opportunity to make the Fourth Industrial Revolution both human-centered and inclusive. “This is a call to action,” says Sylvia. “It is a vision for developing technologies in ways that foster a more empowering, collaborative and sustainable foundation for social and economic development built around shared values of the common good and human dignity.”
Report Date...: 5/27/19
Fellow presents at international climate action conference
Fellow(s): Patu Ndango Fen
This week, 2017 fellow Patu Ndango Fen presented at the 2019 International Conference on Climate Action, held in Heidelberg, Germany. Organized by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, the conference convened government officials, UN representatives and the scientific community to discuss ways to improve collaboration and coordination for international sustainable development.
Patu is the founder and managing director or of Closed-Loop System Ventures Foundation, a waste management social enterprise that turns organic plant and animals waste into organic fertilizer. In her workshop, “Energizing Cities,” Patu and conference participants discussed policies that can support local renewable energy implementation. Using case studies from her work, Patu presented on developing innovative ways of managing waste in Cameroon, introducing the challenges, opportunities and future plans for innovative waste management systems.
Report Date...: 5/20/19
Fellow advocates for digital rights at inclusion forum
Fellow(s): Sophie Ngassa
2014 fellow Sophie Ngassa led a session on internet advocacy at the Digital Rights and Inclusion Forum held last month in Lagos, Nigeria. The event, now in its seventh year, was attended by policymakers, legal experts and tech professionals who came together to discuss digital policy on the African continent.
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. After two recent internet shutdowns in the northwest and southwest regions of the country, Sophie began more meaningfully advocating for internet rights in Africa, engaging government officials and stakeholders to address internet connectivity and the crises that arise from blocked communication.
At the forum, Sophie led a discussion and panel titled “Advocating in War Zones and Shrinking Civic Spaces,” where she spoke about the importance of open internet and the role advocacy coalitions can play in ensuring internet freedom. Alongside two panelists, Sophie spoke about creating an internet without borders, sharing best practices on empowering both civilians and policymakers to work towards a more open, safe and accessible internet for all.
Report Date...: 5/13/19
Fellow launches SingularityU Chapter in Quetta
Fellow(s): Ayesha Abdul Majeed
This month, 2018 fellow Ayesha Abdul Majeed spearheaded the launch of a new SingularityU Chapter in Quetta, Pakistan. Through their 142 Chapters, Singularity University facilitates local innovation and focuses on solving global challenges. Ayesha, who was hosted at Singularity University for her TechWomen mentorship, spoke about her goal of opening a chapter in her own communtiy in week three of the 2018 fall program.
Ayesha will serve as the SingularityU Ambassador, bringing innovative programming to students, entrepreneurs and tech professionals. In collaboration with National Incubation Center, the region’s first business incubator, the Quetta Chapter will prepare local entrepreneurs to build high-growth and sustainable startups. “We hope to tackle problems and support our community using exponential learning tools,” says Ayesha. “We plan to make a global impact by taking local innovations internationally.”
Report Date...: 5/13/19
TechWomen alumnae collaborate with TechGirls for STEM event
Fellow(s): Nisreen Deeb
This week, 2013 fellow Nisreen Deeb collaborated with TechWomen and TechGirls alumnae for an event aimed at educating and inspiring girls interested in STEM fields. Nisreen is the co-founder of Girls Got IT, an initiative that exposes girls aged 15-17 to STEM through interactive workshops on robotics, 3D printing, website design, game development and more.
The Girls Got IT event, supported by UNICEF Lebanon, was attended by 600 public and private school girls from throughout the country. The day featured inspirational keynotes, group sessions and 25 workshops led by local startup companies. 2018 seed grant-winning team My ioLab participated in the event, hosting a workshop on IoT and innovation.
As part of a broader effort to unite alumnae of TechWomen and TechGirls – an ECA program aiming to inspire teenaged girls to further pursue STEM – three TechGirls alumnae participated as volunteers, supporting Girls Got IT with logistics, registration and workshop facilitation. “I love TechGirls and their passion, and I always try to include them in our events” says Nisreen. The day was Girls Got IT’s biggest event to date; moving forward, Nisreen hopes to include as many girls as possible, contributing to their mission of ensuring that no girl is left behind.
Report Date...: 4/29/49
Fellow wins 2019 African Digital Woman at Margaret Awards
Fellow(s): Arielle Kitio
This month, 2016 fellow Arielle Kitio received the African Digital Woman Award at the annual Margaret Awards in Paris. Now in its seventh year, the awards are held in celebration of Digital Women’s Day, a day created in 2013 that aims to inspire women to innovate in the digital sector.
This year’s awards were themed “Women: World Changers” and recognized leading women who demonstrate commitment to a better world through their work and achievements. Arielle was recognized for her impact as the founder of CAYSTI, a STEM education program that educates young students through their youth tech lab, incubator and after-school programs. “I am moved, honored and grateful to have been selected as a winner,” says Arielle.
Report Date...: 4/29/49