Impact Stories from Entrepreneurship Policy Area
18 TechWomen alumnae attend Microsoft Ignite 2019
Fellow(s): 18 TechWomen Alumnae
Country: Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Nigeria, Tajikistan, United States, Uzbekistan
This month, 17 TechWomen fellows and Impact Coach Maryann Hrichak came together at Microsoft Ignite 2019 in Orlando for a week of skill-building and networking. Fellows from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Nigeria, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan spent the week exploring 1,000+ deep dive sessions and 200+ workshops spanning the field of IT. Fellows of Algeria Ouafa Benterki (2012) and Fatima Zohra Benhamida (2017) were included as featured speakers.
This is the second year that IIE has partnered with Microsoft, who this year provided full registration for fellows and mentors to attend the annual conference. After attending Ignite last year, Ouafa was named a Microsoft Regional Director, becoming the first Algerian and first African woman to occupy the role. At this year’s Ignite, she presented on her career in tech in her session “From CEO to Microsoft Regional Director: my journey as a woman in tech from Algeria.” Ouafa also participated in a panel discussing best practices on raising the next generation of diversity and inclusion tech leaders. Fatima led a session titled “How volunteering and mentorship pays more than your regular job.”
During the week, IIE organized TechWomen meetups during which alumnae came together to share professional updates, reflect on TechWomen memories and discuss their Ignite highlights.
Report Date...: 11/19/19
Fellow’s company joins UN group committed to gender equality
Fellow(s): Aina Dosmakhambet
This week, it was announced that 2019 fellow Aina Dosmakhambet’s coding education company was admitted as a member of Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEP), a joint initiative of the UN Global Compact and UN Women. Out of 2660 companies with WEP status, only 13 are from Kazakhstan.
Companies that are approved for WEP are committed to gender equality in the workplace, taking measurable strides to increasing equity and inclusion through their services. Aina is the CEO of Method Digital Education, an Almaty-based IT school that provides education for both children and adults in coding, web design, game development, data analysis and more. Their Girls Coding Class provides a space for young girls to develop both their technical and leadership skills, and includes leadership lessons from women entrepreneurs and excursions to local IT companies to meet successful women in tech.
Report Date...: 11/11/19
Three alumnae teams awarded 2019 AEIF grants
Fellow(s): Chepkemoi Magdalene, Nazira Sheraly, Aiturgan Zulpukarova, Elena Chigibaeva, Gulzire Minbaeva, Fatima Abdulaziz Sule, Olayinka Ayo, Safiya Aliyu, Pamela Chukwumeka, Ijeoma Ezika
Country: Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria
Cohort: 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
This week, it was announced that three TechWomen alumnae teams were awarded a U.S Department of State 2019 Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund (AEIF) grant. The alumnae projects, based out of Kenya, Kyrgyzstan and Nigeria, were selected out of more than 1,400 project submissions.
Kenya’s North-Rift Women in STEM Inclusion Project , co-led by 2019 fellow Chepkemoi Magdalene, will host bootcamps on coding and the digital economy for nearly 500 underserved women and girls in the North Rift region of the country. The team also plans to award 30 of the participants a year-long mentorship opportunity. Kyrgyzstan’s TechAim was created by 2016 fellow Nazira Sheraly, 2017 fellow Aiturgan Zulpukarova and 2018 fellows Elena Chigibaeva and Gulzire Minbaeva. The mentorship program supports women and girls, particularly those outside of the capital city, to grow and develop their STEM skills and expand their knowledge in business, leadership project management and more. MAAMI Nigeria, originally a TechWomen 2018 seed grant-winning initiative from fellows Fatima Abdulaziz Sule, Olayinka Ayo, Safiya Aliyu, Pamela Chukwumeka and Ijeoma Ezika, is a mobile health literacy program that aims to provide underserved mothers access to safe, relevant and customized pre- and post-natal health information.
Report Date...: 11/4/2019
Fellow inspires youth at Model United Nations gathering
Fellow(s): Sarah Abdallah
Last month, 2016 fellow Sarah Abdallah was invited to Dubai to deliver a keynote address at the Arab Youth International Model United Nations conference. The annual conference brings together youth throughout the Arab world, facilitating conversation on creating change and peace worldwide. Together, the young delegates debated global issues, created responses to global crises and participated in activities that celebrated cross-cultural exchange.
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. In her keynote, Sarah addressed the challenges youth face today, sharing specific setbacks she faced as a young person. She stressed, however, that young people have a powerful voice and a unique ability to create exponential change in their communities. “I explained how young people can turn their problems into opportunities,” she said. Sarah concluded her keynote with an activity called “Inclusion Starts with an ‘I,’” tasking each young person to write down an action they can take to make the world a better place. “I added in my own as well,” says Sarah. “I committed to support the youth of today in becoming the leaders and decision makers of tomorrow.”
Report Date...: 10/21/19
Fellows shares advice for women in tech on BBC Africa
Fellow(s): Sylvia Mukasa
This week, 2014 fellow Sylvia Mukasa was a guest on BBC Africa, speaking about the hurdles women in tech face and sharing best practices for how women can thrive in a male-dominated tech environment.
Sylvia is the CEO of GlobalX Investments and GlobalX Innovation Labs, specializing in emerging enterprise technologies and supporting youth and entrepreneurs in learning 21st century skills. In her interview, Sylvia was asked about the challenges African women face in the tech world. “Organizations have not put in place policies that ensure there is a good representation of women, especially at senior and board levels” she said. “We need policies that are inclusive of everyone to ensure that women know they are protected and wanted in that space.” She concluded her interview with top tips for women in tech, encouraging them to expand their network and prioritize building their skills in order to become competitive job candidates.
Report Date...: 10/21/19
Alumnae initiative awarded grant from U.S Embassy Algiers
Fellow(s): Amel Djenidi, Salma Bekkouche, Fatima Zohra Benhamida
Cohort: 2017, 2018
After TechWomen 2018, fellows Amel Djenidi and Salma Bekkouche wanted to continue working together. They began collaborating with 2017 fellow Fatima Zohra Benhamida, and together the three fellows conceived of Heya Caravan, a project that empowers girls and women through STEM education. This week, it was announced that they secured a grant from the U.S. Embassy Algiers’ Alumni Small Grant Competition, which will allow them to launch their project in 2020.
Heya (Arabic for “she”) Caravan will be a one-day training where STEM leaders will share their expertise with women and girls in sessions, workshops and panels. Through roundtables based on four themes — Know Yourself, Build your Skills, Build your Network and Build your Personal Branding – women and high school-aged girls will be supported in building both technical and soft skills. Heya Caravan will also offer six months of remote mentorship to attendees through monthly lessons and assignments on resume writing, networking, skill building and more. In the coming months, the fellows will work to establish additional partnerships and funding, and hope to launch Heya Caravan in 2020 in three cities throughout Algeria.
Report Date...: 10/14/19
Fellow’s initiative wins Harvard alumni impact contest
Fellow(s): Shatha Jayyousi
This week, it was announced that Code on the Road, the initiative launched by 2013 fellow Shatha Jayyousi, was chosen as the winner for the Harvard Arab Alumni Association impact competition.
The Harvard alumni initiative, 3arabi, aims to support implementation of innovative projects that positively impact the Arab world. Code on the Road is a 2018 AEIF-winning project that empowers migrant women and girls through software and business entrepreneurship training in Athens and Amman.
As the winner, Code on the Road will be matched with an advisory group of representatives from the public and private sectors who will support them through investment, team-building support and strategic partnerships. Shatha and her team will also present their initiative at the upcoming Harvard Arab World Conference in Dubai.
Report Date...: 10/14/19
Mentor(s): Eileen Brewer, Rekha Pai-Kamath, Chepkemoi Magdaline
Mentor Type: Impact
TechWomen Impact Coaches Eileen Brewer and Rekha Pai-Kamath, as well as TechWomen 2019 Emerging Leader Chepkemoi Magdaline, were featured speakers at this month’s 2019 Grace Hopper Celebration. The annual event is the world’s largest gathering of women technologists and brings comprehensive programming featuring global women leaders.
Eileen’s session, “Pitch Perfect,” offered 10 elements for creating an impactful pitch deck. Rekha was a featured panelist in “Creating Meaningful Impact through Tech Non-profits,” sharing her expertise on how tech can offer sustainable solutions to leading issues. Chepkemoi, who attended the event after week one of TechWomen 2019, was a winner of the AnitaB.org Pass It On program, which offers grants to women whose projects support women in computing. Alongside TechWomen alumnae, Chepkemoi is a part of North-Rift Women in STEM Inclusion Project, an initiative that organizes three-day boot camps women in rural regions of Kenya. At GHC, Chepkemoi led a session and participated in a panel speaking about her work supporting and empowering women and girls.
Report Date...: 10/7/19
Fellow recognized for work in digital inclusion
Fellow(s): Sophie Ngassa
This month, 2013 fellow Sophie Ngassa was highlighted as a woman who is playing an integral role in shaping the future of the internet in Africa. She was featured by the African School on Internet Governance, an annual five-day residential course that brings together Africans from diverse backgrounds to speak about global internet governance and work to shape the future of the internet landscape.
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. Sophie is an advocate for an open internet – “an internet without borders,” she says – and works to empower civilians and policymakers to ensure that the internet is both safe and accessible to everyone, regardless of location, gender and economic background.
Report Date...: 10/7/19
2019 Emerging Leaders share perspectives on TechWomen blog
Fellow(s): Sitora Salaeva, Zani Gichuki, Esra’a Alsanie
Country: Jordan, Kenya, Uzbekistan
Recently, three 2019 Emerging Leaders wrote guest blogs in our returning blog series, Emerging Leader Voices. In their posts, Sitora Salaeva of Uzbekistan, Zani Gichuki of Kenya and Esra’a Alsanie of Jordan shared their perspectives on being women in STEM fields. In Arriving at my dream, Sitora – who applied to TechWomen four times before being accepted – spoke about often being the only woman on her team or in her department, prompting her to become an advocate for gender equality in the workplace.
At the age of 14, Zani was asked whether she’d rather be the wife of a doctor or an engineer. Now a civil engineer herself, Zani shares her perspective in Defying expectations: my journey in STEM. In our final guest blog post, Esra’a offers insight on how to accept and overcome obstacles. As founder and CEO of an edtech startup, Esra’a credits remaining flexible as a crucial factor to her success. Read her key takeaways in You can only connect the dots looking backward.
Report Date...: 9/30/19