Impact Stories from Entrepreneurship Policy Area
Fellow launches virtual MENA Startup Summit
Fellow(s): Noha Mahmoud
This month, 2012 fellow Noha Mahmoud launched the inaugural MENA Startup Summit, a one-day online event for founders, designers and developers. Noha, the director of product at Bosta, co-founded the event to inspire the next generation to step into leadership and build exceptional products along the way. The summit featured speakers from throughout the MENA region who shared their expertise in UX, product engineering, building viral startups and more. In one session, a Dubai-based UX specialist presented on commonly held myths and misconceptions when conducting user research. The final session, led by a software engineer, was themed on working from home, incorporating practical tips and tricks for those who are unaccustomed to remote work. The entire summit was recorded, and published on YouTube for free access.
In addition to co-founding the summit, Noha is the chapter president for Arab Women in Computing (ArabWIC) Egypt, leading technical workshops, mentorship sessions and panel discussions for women in technology and academia in her region. Formerly, Noha collaborated with 2014 fellow Yassmeen Abd El Ghaffar to form the Hypatia Initiative for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (HISTEM), an initiative that offered workshops in mobile app development, engineering and science to girls ages 14 to 23.
Report Date...: 4/6/20
Fellow honored as trailblazer on OkayAfrica 100 Women List
Fellow(s): Baratang Miya
Country: South Africa
This week, 2015 fellow Baratang Miya was named to the OkayAfrica 100 Women 2020 List, recognized for her efforts as a change agent and innovator in her industry. Over the course of a year, OkayAfrica researches and curates a list of African women who are using their platform to create positive change and make a significant impact for women in their communities. Bara was recognized as the founder of GirlHype, an initiative that empowers women and girls from disadvantaged background through tech training, coding clubs and digital literacy workshops.
Bara is also the CEO of Uhuru Spaces, a coworking space designed to bring together and support female founders. “Focused on empowering young women through programming and app development training, Miya hopes to see more women taking up space in the tech world, says her OkayAfrica feature. “Thanks to Miya’s work, thousands of girls have built a new understanding of technology and the paths it can lead to.”
Report Date...: 4/6/20
Fellow featured for innovative work in green energy
Fellow(s): Charity Wanjiku
This week, 2017 fellow Charity Wanjiku was featured in an article for Ensto, a green tech company based in Finland. Charity is the founder of Strauss Energy, a firm that brings green energy products to off-grid communities in Kenya. The article highlights Strauss’s innovative roofing tiles that serve a dual function, both roofing and powering homes that did not otherwise have access to electricity.
In the article, Charity speaks about her career journey, chronicling the challenges she faced as a woman entering a male-dominated field. Although she was discouraged from pursuing architecture, she persisted, graduating with only five other women in her class. “Women number roughly half the planet’s population, and if we don’t use them it’s like we’re playing with only half the team,” she says. She also shares a challenge she gives her audiences when public speaking, calling on them to curate a three-pillared life philosophy based off of three-stone cooking culture in Africa. “I challenge you to find your three stones,” she says. “If you do that, everything else will align itself.”
Report Date...: 4/6/20
Fellow named to the 100 Women Creating A Better Africa list
Fellow(s): Mide Ayeni
This month, 2017 fellow Mide Ayeni was recognized for her work building sustainable cities and communities on the 100 Women Creating A Better Africa list, an initiative created in commemoration of International Women’s Day. The campaign was organized by WeForGood International, a sustainable development consulting firm that focuses on fulfillment of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the African leaders who are leading the way.
Mide is the founder of Pearl Recycling, a social enterprise that collects waste such as plastic, car tires, newspapers and other recyclables and trains youth and women to transform them into furniture and upcycled items. WeForGood recognized Mide for her efforts in addressing SDG 11, Sustainable Cities and Communities.
Recently, a Ford Foundation grant allowed Mide to expand Pearl Recycling’s programs and train 100 young women in Lagos in eco-friendly furniture making. She also plans to equip 20 Nigerian public schools with 400 ergonomic classroom chairs made from recycled materials, as well as train 800 young students on waste re-use in Lagos.
Report Date...: 3/30/20
Fellow featured in AnitaB.org spotlight
Fellow(s): Chepkemoi Magdaline
2019 fellow Chepkemoi Magdaline was featured by Wogrammer, an AnitaB.org program that highlights stories and successes of diverse women in tech around the world. Chepkemoi recently won the 2019 AnitaB.org Systers Pass it On Award, a program that offers grants to support women whose projects empower women in computing.
In the article, Chepkemoi speaks about her work as the founder of EldoHub, an innovation platform that provides tech bootcamps, resources and mentorship to young students in Kenya. Since winning the award, Chepkemoi has begun to organize 15 bootcamps that will support 450 women and girls in the North Rift region of Kenya. “I want to encourage, support and inspire girls and women to consider careers in STEM and help them to excel in the tech field,” she said. “This will contribute to increasing the number of girls joining and excelling in STEM fields.”
Report Date...: 3/23/20
Fellow named a 2020 AfricanDoer
Fellow(s): Crescence Elodie
This week, 2018 fellow Crescence Elodie was named a 2020 top 500 #AfricanDoer, joining innovators, thought leaders, entrepreneurs and CEOs throughout the African continent who were recognized for their contributions. The annual list from Tropics Magazine features the most powerful leaders working to shape the future of Africa through their companies, initiatives and research. The list of 500 changemakers were chosen from a list of 1,500 candidates and judged based on their impact, their digital influence and their economic power.
Crescence is the founder and managing director of EN group, a platform that designs tech entrepreneurship programs to create digital empowerment and community development in Central and West Africa. She also recently founded Women in Entrepreneurship and Technology (WETECH), an organization dedicated to supporting African girls and women entrepreneurs through leadership programs, digital entrepreneurship bootcamps and capacity-building trainings. Currently, WETECH is working to support campaigns such as Young African Aviation Professional Association, a non-profit that encourages girls to enter careers in aviation, as well as FAY’AM, an initiative that trains women to craft household products.
Report Date...: 3/16/20
2019 fellows of Pakistan hold first session for their initiative
Fellow(s): Asna Javed, Ayesha Mumtaz Kahn, Asmara Rahat, Farhat Yasmeen and Zeenat Anjum
This week, 2019 fellows of Pakistan Asna Javed, Ayesha Mumtaz Kahn, Asmara Rahat, Farhat Yasmeen and Zeenat Anjum held the first educational session for their TechWomen seed-grant winning impact project, Bachaoo. With the tagline “Save Children, Save Pakistan,” Bachaoo has a mission to advocate for the rights and protection of children who are most vulnerable to sexual abuse.
Recently, the fellows established a partnership with Door of Awareness (DOA), a local non-profit that works with children ages three to 17 in underserved neighborhoods. DOA was enthusiastic about Bachaoo’s mission, and invited the team to organize an awareness session during their yearly Teachers Training Week. At the session, the fellows brought together 80 teachers for a day of knowledge-sharing on how to best advocate for children from impoverished backgrounds. “We were informed that children from these backgrounds need more attention with reference to good touch, bad touch and consent,” said Ayesha.
Later this month, Bachaoo plans to host another awareness session for 50 primary school children. The fellows are also consulting human rights lawyers and child psychologists, and hope to organize a panel on child protection laws. “We want to start conversations for children, parents and teachers,” said Ayesha. “Our vision is to advocate for the rights and protection of the children, because they will be our future leaders. “
Report Date...: 3/9/20
Fellow named an inspiring woman in business
Fellow(s): Omnia Eteyari
Country: Jordan, Libya
This week, 2013 fellow Omnia Eteyari was recognized as a leading woman in business by Women in Business Arabia in partnership with Etihad Bank. Their campaign, 365 Inspiring Arab Women, is featuring an Arab woman in business each day of 2020. Omnia, who is from Libya but currently living in Jordan, is the first Libyan to be featured in the campaign.
Omnia is the co-founder of BulbulHub Academy of Public Speaking, a Jordan-based academy that provides public speaking, leadership and personal development courses to youth ages 11-17. She also recently supported the launch of LIBUS, the first Libyan online business school, as a curriculum developer and a tutor. Last week, she attended the launch of the TechWomen/TechGirls club Jordan, giving a workshop to the girls on best practices for public speaking. Omnia is also a business advisor for Eureka Tech Academy, Jordan’s first children’s tech academy that was started by 2011 fellow Afnan Ali.
Report Date...: 3/9/20
Fellow featured for her work as an engineer and entrepreneur
Fellow(s): Oduwa Agboneni
This week, 2019 fellow of Nigeria Oduwa Agboneni was featured in a spotlight for Engineers Against Poverty for her work as a mechanical engineer as well as her involvement in Africa Catalyst, a program that promotes engineering in order to drive development in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Oduwa, the founder and CEO of Nenis Engineering Limited and the project manager for Forging Africa’s Future Mechanical Engineers Programme (FAFMEP), spoke about her experience as a woman in engineering and the work she does to address the youth unemployment rate in Nigeria. She highlighted the goals of FAFMEP in 2020, which include running two regional bootcamps for 400 participants themed on engineering design, entrepreneurship and leadership skills. “Opportunities for women in the engineering sector in Nigeria are on the rise,” she said.
Report Date...: 3/9/20
Fellow attends speed mentoring event for IWD2020
Fellow(s): Charity Wanjiku
In celebration of this year’s International Women’s Day, 2017 fellow of Kenya Charity Wanjiku attended a speed mentoring event meant to connect and empower women in Kenya. Hosted by the High Commission of Canada in Kenya, the event gathered mentors and mentees in order to share experiences, inspire one another and reaffirm a collective commitment to gender equality in Kenya and beyond.
Charity is the co-founder and COO of Strauss Energy Ltd, a solar energy company that brings innovative energy solutions to off-grid areas in rural Kenya and the greater African continent. “As a mentor, I had the opportunity to chat about the challenges I’ve faced, how I’ve overcome obstacles and shared lessons that I’ve learned along the way,” she said. During the session, she gave advice to the young women on achieving their goals despite obstacles: “Level-up by being intentional in your pursuits,” she told them. “And learn to say no, without having to justify yourself.”
Report Date...: 3/2/20