Impact Stories from Entrepreneurship Policy Area
Fellow featured in global forum on women in leadership
Fellow(s): Reema Diab
2019 fellow Reema Diab presented on her initiative that empowers women and girls with IT skills at this week’s Global Viewpoints Forum hosted by Legacy International. The event also featured TechGirls alumna Lara Kasbari of the Palestinian Territories.
Reema is the founder of Galaxy Organization, an IT non-profit that hosts programs for youth and women in artificial intelligence, coding and more. In her presentation, Reema outlined the unemployment challenges women face in Jordan, explaining that women only account for 12% of the Jordanian workforce. Through its programs, Galaxy has a mission to train women and youth with IT skills that will help them find jobs and opportunities: “All the women and youth are empowered to create a better life using their skills in technology,” said Reema. Galaxy has trained over 2,200 girls through its cybersecurity program, and 550 women have participated in its online business program. The organization has recently expanded its reach to women and youth in Egypt, Dubai and the Philippines.
Report Date...: 3/22/21
Fellow’s non-profit opens a STEM space for girls
Fellow(s): Janet Leparteleg and Chepkemoi Magdaline
Cohort: 2017, 2019
Butterfly Techies, the non-profit founded by 2017 fellow Janet Leparteleg, has opened its first STEM space for students in Samburu County, Kenya. Janet created Butterfly Techies in 2016 with a mission to expose high school girls from arid and semi-arid counties to STEM careers and empower them with digital literacy skills. In addition to founding the non-profit, Janet is an assistant ICT officer at ICT authority as well as a 2019 Chevening Scholar.
When the COVID-19 pandemic began, Janet’s outreach to schools in rural Kenya came to a halt. “Schools in Kenya had been closed for nine months, and once they resumed, there were very strict measures for school visits,” she said. “That affected our programs, and we felt the need to open up a community space to increase our scope from students to entire communities.” Butterfly Techies has already purchased computers and supplies for their pilot program, which will bring in 12 students for classes on digital literacy. The first cohort begins in two weeks, and Janet is already speaking to partners – many of whom are TechWomen fellows – who will create programs that train students in IT, 21st century skills, leadership and more. This month, Butterfly Techies also partnered with North-Rift Women in STEM, the AEIF-winning initiative co-led by 2019 fellow Chepkemoi Magdaline, to run a STEM training bootcamp for 90 women and girls in Samburu County.
Report Date...: 3/15/21
Mentor(s): Anar Simpson
Mentor Type: Impact
TechWomen mentor and strategic partnerships advisor Anar Simpson was invited to speak about building sustainable networks, how the pandemic has changed the landscape and the importance of social entrepreneurship in a fireside chat with the VP of communications at Dentsu Canada. Anar is a board member of CARE Canada as well as Technovation Girls.
During the virtual event, Anar spoke about how to network and create meaningful connections during the pandemic, emphasizing the importance of networking virtually: “It’s much less intimidating to network in these virtual formats because you don’t have to make your way into a physical circle or be in the back of the room. It has democratized meetings,” she said. Anar also spoke about corporate social responsibility, employee engagement and creating forward-thinking programs that promote mentorship and global impact.
Report Date...: 3/15/21
Fellow shares lessons from career and advice for women in tech
Fellow(s): Samia Elhanchi
2017 fellow Samia Elhanchi recently published an article in GeeX Review, the first developer magazine in the MENA region. The fifth edition of the magazine was themed on women in tech in honor of Women’s History Month, highlighting women innovators and leaders who have made an impact in MENA.
Samia, a senior project manager at Orange Maroc, wrote about the lessons she has learned as a woman in tech, the importance of amplifying women’s voices and tips for women to succeed in business. Samia emphasized that, although women are gaining representation in STEM — 43% of engineering students in Morocco are women – a retention issue remains. “Women are lost through the career ladder,” she wrote. Samia also shared four of the lessons she’s learned throughout her career: build your network, develop your personal brand, never stop learning and get a mentor. “The best gift you can ever get is a great mentor,” she wrote.
Report Date...: 3/8/21
At FemTech Fest fellows support women entrepreneurs
Fellow(s): Binta Moustapha and Stella Uzochukwu
Cohort: 2014, 2019
Women operate 41% of micro businesses in Nigeria, yet 55% of financially excluded adults in Nigeria are women. At this year’s Arewa FemTech Fest, a virtual event and hackathon, 2014 fellow Binta Moustapha and 2019 fellow Stella Uzochukwu helped address the challenges and needs of Northern Nigeria’s women entrepreneurs. The event was organized by Financial Services Innovators, a Nigerian association, alongside Startup Arewa, an incubator for tech entrepreneurs.
The event’s mission was to increase financial inclusion among women entrepreneurs by introducing simple and easy-to-use Fintech for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME’s) in Northern Nigeria. In the kick-off event, Binta, joined by CEOs and local Fintech leaders, participated in a webinar that discussed the needs of women entrepreneurs. Binta is the founder of 100 Women in Tech Nigeria, an initiative that amplifies Nigerian women leaders. Together, the panelists spoke about how financial services can serve women and the ways in which Fintech solutions can be made accessible to all.
The webinar was followed by an eight-day virtual hackathon where over 100 innovators designed practical solutions for the women entrepreneurs. Stella, the country director for the Odyssey Educational Foundation, served as a judge, helping choose the first, second and third place winners, all of whom received cash prizes to bring their solutions to market.
Report Date...: 2/22/21
Fellow is first Jordanian to be named 2021 Influential Leader
Fellow(s): Hiba Shabrouq
This week, 2017 fellow Hiba Shabrouq was named a 2021 Influential Leader by The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), an international association that brings together business, students and educators to amplify innovation and impact business education. The annual initiative recognizes leaders who are using their business education to create impact.
Hiba, the first Jordanian to be honored by AACSB, was nominated by Princess Sumaya University For Technology. She was highlighted in the “Diversity and Inclusion” category. In her feature, Hiba is recognized for co-founding Ozwah, a 2017 TechWomen seed grant-winning mentorship and training program for Jordanian girls in orphanages. She is also a financial skills mentor at INJAZ, a Jordanian nonprofit that trains young people with entrepreneurship and financial skills.
Report Date...: 2/22/21
Through Ekasi Pioneers fellow helps over 100 rural businesses
Fellow(s): Nobukhosi Dlamini
Country: South Africa
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2019 fellow Nobukhosi Dlamini launched a digital enablement program that supports women-led small businesses in rural South Africa. The program, Ekasi Pioneers, is implemented through the GIFT Foundation, Nobukhosi’s NGO that connects rural women and girls to tech training and job opportunities.
Kicking-off with funding from the U.S. Consulate General Cape Town, GIFT created its first virtual digital enablement training for 50 rural female small business owners, supporting them in pivoting their businesses from in-person to online operations. Through a comprehensive curriculum which included lessons in digital marketing, purchasing and setting up a website, online advertising and scaling an online business, the women learned how to successfully migrate their businesses in order to adhere to local social distancing and lockdown regulations. They were also trained in soft skills, learning about leadership, confidence-building and adopting a growth mindset. At the end of the training, all 50 businesses – catering companies, construction businesses, retail stores and more – successfully migrated online. “These women are reporting that the visibility of their businesses has increased, they are receiving more inquiries and sales and their businesses have been able to weather the storms of the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Nobukhosi. GIFT has already begun a second digital enablement training with funding from the UK government; their cohort of 60 women is due to graduate later this month.
Report Date...: 2/15/21
Fellow authors post for UN Women’s Generation Equality
Fellow(s): Kyzzhibek Batyrkanova
2019 fellow Kyzzhibek Batyrkanova authored a post for UN Women’s Generation Equality campaign, writing about the challenges women and girls face and calling for greater awareness of gender issues among educators, media and leaders.
Kyzzhibek is the program director for the Kyrgyz Space Programme, an all-women team working to build Kyrgyzstan’s first nanosatellite. The core team is comprised of women ages 18-24, many of whom are not trained in STEM fields. Together, they are learning skills in robotics, 3D printing, engineering and satellite technology, innovating for their country and combatting stereotypes along the way.
In her post, Kyzzhibek writes that many expect their project to fail, just because of their gender: “The first element [for failure] for them is the presence of women and girls in the team,” she writes. As a response, Kyzzhibek and her team are motivated to fulfill their mission of educating women and girls in STEM while raising awareness about inequity. “The program has an amazing mission to empower girls and women in science and raise awareness about gender inequality and harmful social norms, which require systemic change,” she writes. “We want to show by our own example that girls are capable of anything, even reaching for the stars.”
Report Date...: 2/8/21
Mentor(s): Paria Rajai (mentor)
Mentor Type: Impact
TechWomen mentor Paria Rajai recently co-authored an article on why women of color are historically undervalued when it comes to leadership roles, and the steps companies can take to spark systemic change. The article, Does Your Definition of Leadership Exclude Women of Color?, was published by Harvard Business Review.
Paria is the founder and CEO of ModelExpand, a workplace strategy firm centered on inclusion, fair hiring and helping companies build a diverse workforce. Paria’s co-author, Marlette Jackson, serves as an advisor for ModelExpand. “The attributes companies often look for in leaders, such as competitive, dominant, objective, self-confident, aggressive, ambitious, are overwhelmingly masculine,” they write. “This leaves women of color (WOC) at a double disadvantage: They often don’t fit companies’ measures for leadership, because those measures were developed for someone else.” Paria and Marlette argue that creating change does not necessarily require “reinventing the wheel;” instead, companies can start to redefine leadership by adjusting hiring and retention criteria and providing more resources to employees.
Report Date...: 2/8/21
Fellow chosen as young innovator to speak to Kenyan president
Fellow(s): Crescence Elodie
This week, 2019 fellow Crescence Elodie was one of four young leaders selected to participate on a panel with Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta. The conversation was a part of the 2021 Africa Business Forum, an event organized by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.
Crescence is the founder of EN Group, a platform that focuses on digital and community development through technology, as well as the founder of WETECH, an initiative that supports and trains women with tech and entrepreneurship skills. The panel, “Young Entrepreneurs in Conversation,” focused on digital inclusion and how the African continent can thrive during the fourth industrial revolution. “I wanted to make sure women are more included in the development of his country, especially through technology,” Crescence said.
Report Date...: 2/8/21