Impact Stories from Entrepreneurship Policy Area
Fellow launches Tech Women Club for women in Nigeria
Fellow(s): Stella Uzochukwu-Denis
Recently, the American Corner Abuja reached out to 2019 fellow Stella Uzochukwu-Denis with an interest in bringing together women and girls interested in STEM fields for mentorship, networking and support. After strategizing together, Stella and the American Corner officially launched the Tech Women Club, a monthly gathering for women in Abuja that will meet at the American Corner space. Stella is the country director for Odyssey Educational Foundation, an NGO with a mission to equip African children, particularly girls, with STEM skills. Under her leadership, the Tech Women Club will host women and girls who are in STEM fields or interested in pursuing STEM. “The mandate is to demystify technology, especially for those who do not have a tech background,” said Stella. At the club’s first meeting, 10 women gathered to speak about their interest in technology and discuss local opportunities for women and girls. Stella shared an upcoming training she is leading for 25 women on gaming and VR. “This was born out of my TechWomen experience,” she said. “I was mentored at Unity, a video game software development company, and I wouldn’t be thinking about a gaming training for girls and women here in Nigeria without that exposure.” Stella and the American Corner Abuja also collaborated for an International Day of Women and Girls in Science event this week, introducing attendees to innovative ways to teach STEM education and sharing scholarships for young students.
Report Date...: 2/7/2022
Fellow(s): Thulile Khanyile, Dana Abdel Khalek, Aziza Haidarova
Country: Lebanon, South Africa, Tajikistan
TechWomen 2022 Emerging Leaders have been invited to share their perspectives and experiences with the TechWomen community in Emerging Leader Voices, a guest blog post series where incoming Emerging Leaders write about their struggles, achievements and journeys to TechWomen. Thulile Khanyile of South Africa, a non-profit founder, lecturer, microbiologist and podcaster, kicked off the series with Impact through biology, entrepreneurship and podcasting: the journey of a multipotentialite. Thulile writes about her passion for fostering a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship through empowering women and youth: “The combination of giving light to new ideas and connecting science to the people is the goal I work tirelessly to fulfill,” she writes. In her post, Hope is not to believe change is coming, but to work towards it, Dana Abdel Khalek of Lebanon writes about the difficulties she faced during the COVID-19 pandemic and her choice to turn her struggles into growth opportunities. Dana founded GenZ, a startup that addresses youth unemployment in Lebanon through offering training in e-commerce, data analysis and more. “GenZ is committed to reaching everyone in need of those skills,” she writes. Aziza Haidarova of Tajikistan writes about her journey to TechWomen in her post, Setting global goals with TechWomen. “For a long time, I hesitated whether to apply or not,” writes Aziza. “Participation in this program will be a great experience for me, both in my career and in my personal capacity. I will discover a new world for myself.” TechWomen will soon conclude the series with two additional posts from Emerging Leaders representing Rwanda and Zimbabwe.Read More »
Report Date...: 1/31/2022
Mentor and fellows collaborate to inspire students
Fellow(s): Eileen Brewer, Elena Selezneva, Ozoda Ismailova, Saida Yusupova, Amel Djenidi
Country: Algeria, United States, Uzbekistan
Cohort: 2016, 2018
Mentor Eileen Brewer traveled to Uzbekistan, collaborating with fellows to train and empower students throughout Tashkent. Eileen, the mentor manager at startup accelerator 757 Accelerate, first traveled to Uzbekistan with TechWomen as a delegate on the TechWomen 2019 delegation trip. Eileen was invited by American Councils for International Education to deliver two days of training for alumnae of their Young Professional Internships Program (YPIP), an initiative that connects young STEM professionals to internship programs at Uzbek businesses and organizations. Eileen invited 2016 fellow of Uzbekistan Elena Selezneva to support her with the training, collaborating to deliver workshops on entrepreneurship, design thinking, Lean Canvas and pitching. Eileen also visited a local IT park and incubator hub, speaking to girls ages 9-12 from a public school about ideation, design thinking and the Technovation program. There, Eileen was joined by 2018 fellow of Uzbekistan Yulduz Khudaykulova, whose daughter attends the school, as well as 2018 fellow of Algeria Amel Djenidi, who recently moved to Tashkent. Last, Eileen delivered an ideation training to girls from the Technovation program that was organized by Elena alongside 2016 fellows of Uzbekistan Saida Yusupova and Ozoda Ismailova.
Report Date...: 1/17/2022
Mentor(s): Erica Lockheimer
Mentor Erica Lockheimer was named to the 100 Women Tech Leaders to Watch in 2022 list by WomenTech Network, a global platform that promotes diversity in tech. Their annual list recognizes and honors women who are moving technology forward and working towards greater gender parity in their fields. Erica is the vice president of engineering for LinkedIn Talent Solutions, LinkedIn Learning and Glint. During TechWomen 2020-2021, Erica spoke in a fireside chat alongside mentor Mansi Modak, telling Emerging Leaders about her path to leadership and stressing the importance of mentorship. “You’re not going to fit into a perfect box,” she reminded them. “I struggled, and if there’s anything I can do to make that path easier for people by sharing my story, I will.”Read More »
Report Date...: 1/17/2022
Fellow wins Woman in Tech Award
Fellow(s): Sabina Nforba
2020-2021 fellow Sabina Nforba won the Woman in Tech Award at the Bonteh Digital Media Awards, recognized for her leadership in technology and for empowering the next generation. Bonteh Digital Media Awards is Cameroon’s first media and tech award ceremony aimed at honoring and amplifying leaders in the digital economy. Sabina is the co-founder and president of AfriTech Hub, an organization that empowers young students and women to pursue STEM education and STEM careers. The initiative has worked with 3,000 students through its clubs, workshops and summits, and recently held a training for girls in front-end coding, helping place them in internships at the bootcamp’s conclusion. Sabina also works in data analytics for i engineering Group, a Beirut-based telecommunications company. “It was an honor to receive the Woman in Tech Award,” wrote Sabina. “A big thanks to everyone who has supported me through the work we do at AfriTech Hub. There would be no award without you and this is dedicated to you. I hope this inspires you to dream and do! Start wherever you are, start today. I promise, the world will be thankful you did.”Read More »
Report Date...: 1/10/2022
Fellow featured in article for impacting Morocco’s economy
Fellow(s): Houda Chakiri
2012 fellow Dr. Houda Chakiri was featured in article from Medias24, an independent news company that focuses on Morocco’s economy. Houda is an assistant professor of computer science Al Akhawayn University, as well as the founder and CEO of Enhanced Technologies, a company that works with public offices in Moroccan cities to digitize internal operations and enable multi-platform electronic service delivery. To date, Enhanced Technologies has digitized more than 5.5 million records of Morocco’s citizens. “A linchpin of the process of digitizing civil status offices in Morocco…Dr. Houda Chakiri is among the entrepreneurs who have marked the laborious process of introducing digital to the Moroccan administration,” the article’s author writes, highlighting Houda’s contributions in both academia and entrepreneurship.Read More »
Report Date...: 1/10/2022
Fellow named a 2021 InspiringFifty winner
Fellow(s): Rogeema Kenny
Country: South Africa
2015 fellow Rogeema Kenny was named an InspiringFifty winner, recognized for her leadership and commitment to inspiring women and youth. Established by CoCreateSANL, the Inspiring 50 list recognizes women in STEM fields that serve as role models and leaders in their communities. Through honoring women leaders, CoCreateSANL hopes to increase the visibility of diverse women in STEM and inspire girls to choose a STEM career.
Since TechWomen, Rogeema has led projects that introduced over 11,000 youth to coding. She is the founding director of Altelim, a non-profit focused on youth development, tech education and transfering knowledge to those most in need to effect social change. “I am driven by impact, and work tirelessly to get more young people and girls into STEM careers,” Rogeema said. “I use my platform to inspire people to go for their dreams and to believe that anything is possible.”
Report Date...: 1/3/2022
USALTech hosts the TechWomen/TechGirls Gathering
Fellow(s): Nisreen Deeb, Ghana Bteich, Lara Chikhani, Rasha Sukkarieh
Cohort: 2013, 2015, 2017
TechWomen and TechGirls alumnae hosted the TechWomen/TechGirls Gathering, a networking event that connected alumnae and invited local women and girls in technology to learn about the two programs. The gathering was organized by U.S. Alumnae for Lebanese TechWomen and TechGirls (USALTech), a club and online platform founded by fellows Nisreen Deeb (2013), Ghana Bteich (2015) and 2017 fellows Lara Chikhani and Rasha Sukkarieh, alongside TechGirls alumnae. With support from Legacy International, USALTech connects Lebanese exchange program alumnae, promotes opportunities for women and girls in STEM and encourages its members to share their skills and expertise.
The event, attended by the public affairs officer and cultural affairs officer at the U.S. Embassy Beirut, introduced both the TechWomen and TechGirls programs to potential applicants, and invited each attendee to introduce herself and share her professional interests. “Instant connections were made,” said Nisreen. “Many ladies shared the same career paths. Some TechWomen were able to help many TechGirls on the spot.” After, the alumnae hosted a Q&A for both programs, answering questions about the applications and sharing their exchange experiences. Many of the women and girls also spoke about the challenges they face in Lebanon, and the group agreed to continue the conversation and help one another moving forward. “New connections and new bridges for support were made,” said Nisreen.
Report Date...: 12/29/2021
Fellows speak about EdTech at YALI Connect
Fellow(s): Horore Bebga, Angele Messa
Cohort: 2018, 2019
This month, 2018 fellow Horore Bebga and 2019 fellow Angele Messa were featured speakers at YALI Connect, a monthly event from the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), an initiative from the U.S. Department of State that educates and connects the next generation of African leaders. The event, themed on education, was hosted by the YALI Regional Leadership Center in Dakar, Senegal, a space that offers training to young leaders from 16 African countries. Horore and Angele are both YALI alumnae. Angele is the founder of EduClick, an EdTech platform that offers alternative learning methods for those who don’t have access to formal education in Cameroon. Horore is the co-founder of Likalo Education, a STEM education initiative that empowers young people with 21st century skills. Likalo’s newest platform, Cyber Muna, offers media and online safety education for children and educational institutions. At the event, Horore and Angele shared their experiences and challenges working in education and answered questions from YALI alumnae about women in EdTech. “Horore and I unanimously believe African women have their part to play in education in general,” said Angele. “We don’t only believe they have a part to play, we believe they are the main players in the field.”Read More »
Report Date...: 12/29/2021
Fellows’ inspiring stories featured in Womenpreneur book
Fellow(s): Ouafa Benterki (Algeria, 2012), Layal Jebran (Lebanon, 2017) and Nevien Magdy (Egypt, 2019)
Country: Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon
Cohort: 2012, 2017, 2019
Fellows Ouafa Benterki (Algeria, 2012), Layal Jebran (Lebanon, 2017) and Nevien Magdy (Egypt, 2019) shared their stories of entrepreneurship and resilience for the Womenpreneur Tour book, a compilation of features spotlighting inspiring women in the MENA region. The Womenpreneur Initiative is a Brussels-based organization with a mission to advance and support women entrepreneurs and innovators in Belgium and MENA.
In 2019, the initiative embarked on the Womenpreneur Tour, traveling throughout MENA to meet inspiring women and hear their stories of entrepreneurship. Their book, “Women Turning Crises into Opportunities: 18 inspiring stories from Algeria, Egypt and Lebanon,” chronicles the journeys of the women they met, highlighting their career trajectories and the challenges they overcame. Ouafa is the founder and CEO of MTY Intelligent Software, the first women-led AI startup in Algeria. In her interview, she outlined the uphill battle she faced as a woman leader: “Every time I thought about quitting, though, I told myself if I don’t realize my dream no one else will do it for me.” In her feature, Nevien, the founder and CEO of UXit and Origin Technology Solutions, spoke about building company culture with a remote team and the drive required to start a business. Layal was highlighted as co-founder of Moubarmij, an Edtech platform that offers programming video tutorials in Arabic: “I don’t think entrepreneurs should ever stop if they truly believe in what they’re doing,” she said. 2019 fellow of Jordan Esra’a Alsanie, founder of environmental startup EnvaTechs, was also interviewed, sharing her entrepreneurial journey in a video feature.
Report Date...: 12/13/21