Impact Stories from Entrepreneurship Policy Area
Fellow delivers TEDx talk in Amman
Fellow(s): Afnan Ali
This Saturday, 2011 fellow Afnan Ali delivered a TEDx talk at the TEDxAlAbdali event in Amman, Jordan. Afnan is the founder of Eureka Tech Academy, Jordan’s first science academy with a mission to educate children on technology and engineering through innovative and hands-on programming.
The event’s theme was “Transform,” and amplified ideas and achievements that introduce transformative topics. In her talk, “From Education to Innovation,” Afnan spoke about how to prepare the next generation of changemakers and innovators, sharing best practices on empowering and motivating young people. Using Eureka Tech Academy as a case study, Afnan shared success stories of children who have gone through the program since its inception five years ago. Since its founding, Eureka has been nationally recognized for its model; in 2017, Queen Rania visited the initiative, meeting with students in their programs.
Report Date...: 2/3/20
Fellows hold first TechWomen Nigeria Alumnae Conference
Fellow(s): Dr. Joy Agene, Damilola Ade, Carolyn Seaman, Busayo Durojaiye, Olasimbo Sojinrin, Olamide Ayeni Babajide, Ogu Maduewesi
Cohort: 2014, 2015, 2017
Recently, fellows from multiple TechWomen cohorts collaborated to host the first TechWomen Nigeria Alumni conference, an interactive one-day event for STEM professionals, social entrepreneurs and women in tech. The conference was held in partnership with the U.S. Embassy and Consulate in Nigeria as well as the Entrepreneurship & Skill Development Centre of the University of Lagos.
With a theme of Advancing the Global Leadership of Nigerian Women in STEM, the conference convened over 200 women for a day of in-depth group discussion, panels, keynotes and Q&A’s with local women leaders. Alongside Consul General Claire Pierangelo, TechWomen fellows Dr. Joy Agene (2014) and Damilola Ade (2017) opened the event, introducing TechWomen’s mission of empowering international women in STEM fields. 2017 fellow Carolyn Seaman, founder of Girls Voices Initiative, led a panel with local founders, entrepreneurs and academics on how to empower women and girls in technology. Later, 2014 fellow Busayo Durojaiye, CEO of BusinessBrace360, was joined by 2015 fellow Olasimbo Sojinrin of Solar Sister and 2017 fellow Olamide Ayeni Babajide of Pearl Recycling for a discussion that shared best practices on building confident tech entrepreneurs. After breakout sessions and practical workshops themed on soft skills for women in tech, tech entrepreneurship and tips for the 2020 TechWomen application, 2014 fellow Ogu Maduewesi closed out the day, sharing takeaways and encouraging participants to continue to strengthen the network of women in STEM in Nigeria.
Report Date...: 1/27/20
Fellow founds sustainability initiative to empower women
Fellow(s): Ryme Assaad
2018 fellow Ryme Assaad recently co-launched Rise2030, a green tech initiative that empowers underserved communities through training, education and empowerment. Ryme, the initiative’s co-founder and executive director, is also the co-founder of My ioLab, the 2018 seed grant-winning initiative from team Lebanon. Rise2030 received funding from GIZ, a German-based company that supports companies and foundations in achieving the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
Through providing solar training for youth, women and refugees, Rise2030 has a mission to upskill vulnerable populations and enable them to contribute to a sustainable future in Lebanon. Rise2030 has already launched an all-women solar team to train community members in Qaroun to design and install an on-grid solar photovoltaic system at a local waste sorting facility. In addition to solar training, the team plans to support rural women-run businesses and implement literacy training for Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
Report Date...: 1/27/20
Fellow wins Zero Project Award for EdTech platform
Fellow(s): Angele Messa
This month, 2019 fellow of Cameroon Angele Messa won the Zero Project Award for her initiative, EduClick. This year’s awards were given to practices and policies that support people with disabilities within education. Angele will be presented with the award next month at the United Nations in Vienna, Austria.
Angele founded the EdTech platform to offer alternative learning methods for those who don’t have access to formal education in Cameroon. With both offline and online educational methods, EduClick supports students, recent graduates and young professionals who are looking to gain marketable skills. They also offer an after-school program that includes STEM Labs and workshops, introducing students to VR, game development, puzzles and more. EduClick also recently debuted an extracurricular STEM Saturdays program designed to make STEM exciting and fun for young children. In the future, Angele hopes to build education telecenters for refugees and displaced people.
Report Date...: 1/20/20
Fellows collaborate to support TechGirl’s professional journey
Fellow(s): Zainab Saleen, Maya Itani Shourbaji, Lara Chikhani, Rasha Sukkarieh
Country: Lebanon, Pakistan
Recently, TechWomen fellows joined forces to support a TechGirls alumna in pursuing her professional goals. Earlier this year, 2014 TechGirls alumna Greta Nehme met 2017 TechWomen fellows of Lebanon Maya Itani Shourbaji, Lara Chikhani and Rasha Sukkarieh at a TechWomen/TechGirls networking event organized by the U.S. Embassy in Beirut. Greta, a newly graduated mechanical and aeronautical engineer, spoke to the fellows about her challenge finding work in her field within Lebanon.
After their conversation, the fellows connected Greta to 2017 fellow of Pakistan Zainab Saleem, who holds a master’s in aerospace and aeronautical engineering and works at Finland’s ICEYE as an attitude and orbit control system engineer. Zainab asked Greta to submit her resume and, after Zainab submitted a recommendation, Greta interviewed with ICEYE’s mechanical team and was offered an internship.
Greta traveled to Finland and began her internship at ICEYE this past October, working as an intern through the end of 2019. At the conclusion of her internship, she was offered a one-year job contract to continue working at ICEYE. “We often eat lunch together, and keep discussing where she can apply for a master’s. She will also work with me in other STEM outreach activities,” says Zainab. “The world is huge! But impactful programs like these make the world so small and so beautiful.”
Report Date...: 1/6/20
Fellow is first African to win Digital Female Leader Award
Fellow(s): Lindiwe Matlali
Country: South Africa
This past November, 2017 fellow of South Africa Lindiwe Matlali won the Education Award at the Digital Female Leader Awards, becoming the first African to win at the ceremony. The annual awards are held by Global Digital Women and seek to amplify the work and stories of women leaders and changemakers. This year’s event, themed on “This is What Digital Female Leadership Looks Like,” considered 740 nominations from 19 countries spanning categories such as innovation, entrepreneurship and diversity.
Lindiwe was recognized for her work as the founder and CEO of Africa Teen Geeks, a computer science academy dedicated to teaching underserved communities within South Africa. “I am humbled, proud and honored that I have an opportunity to keep inspiring African girls to pursue STEM careers, work hard, dream big and serve others, because they don’t know where pursuing their passion with excellence and commitment could lead them,” said Lindiwe.
Report Date...: 1/6/20
Mentor(s): Sepideh Nasiri (mentor)
Company: Persian Women in Tech
Mentor Type: Impact
TechWomen Impact Coach Sepideh Nasiri was a featured panelist at the Womxn of Color Leadership Forum, held recently in Silicon Valley. Sepideh is the founder of Persian Women in Tech, a non-profit that mentors and empowers Persian, Middle Eastern and North African women in technology. She also serves as an advisor to early-stage startups and inclusion initiatives, providing best practices for closing the gender gap in tech.
The event was organized by Breaking Glass Forums, an initiative that creates customized diversity and inclusion programs for tech companies. In her panel, “Realize your Worth,” Sepideh discussed the path to self-worth, battling impostor syndrome and defining your values. She also shared her own career path, providing tips on translating your experience into your worth and celebrating your unique career journey. “Not everyone takes the same path,” says Sepideh. “People often look only at the end goal, but should celebrate the smaller successes and milestones along the way.”
Report Date...: 1/6/20
Fellow wins Women in Energy Award
Fellow(s): Lilian Motongori
2019 fellow Lilian Motongori won the Professional Technical Award at the Women in Energy East Africa Awards, held this month in Nairobi. Lilian is the country representative for ElectraTherm, a Nevada-based company that generates fuel and emission-free power from low temperature waste heat. She is also the co-founder of Women in Energy Africa, an unaffiliated initiative that offers a platform for women in energy and offers consulting, career development and energy solutions to empower women and girls in the green tech fields.
The Professional Technical Award recognizes women who have both excelled in the energy sector and served as advocates for advancing and mentoring women and girls in green tech. The award ceremony is the culminating event of Women in Energy’s annual conference that focuses on innovations in energy and womens’ role in shaping the future of the field. “I am grateful to every person who contributed in giving me an opportunity in my career and professional journey, and my family for the support,” Lilian said. “This is for all their efforts, support and belief in me.”
Report Date...: 12/30/19
TechWomen and TechGirls launch alumnae platform
Fellow(s): Nisreen Deeb,Ghana Bteich, Lara Chikhani, Rasha Sukkarieh
Cohort: 2013, 2015, 2017
This week, alumnae from the TechWomen and TechGirls programs unveiled USALTech, a club and online platform that connects Lebanese exchange program alumnae, promotes opportunities for women and girls in STEM and encourages its members to share their skills and expertise.
In partnership with Legacy International and two TechGirls alumnae, fellows Nisreen Deeb (2013), Ghana Bteich (2015) and 2017 fellows Lara Chikhani and Rasha Sukkarieh hope to create monthly meetings and programming that nurture the ecosystem of local women and girls in STEM fields. The group’s first event, “Introduction to the TechGirls and TechWomen Programs,” will invite local girls and women in STEM to learn more about the TechGirls and TechWomen programs as well as network with peers in their fields.
Report Date...: 12/30/19
Fellows create speaker series to discuss digital economy
Fellow(s): Aretha Mare, Tarirayi Mukabeta, Natsai Mutezo
Cohort: 2013, 2016, 2018
Recently, 2013 fellow Aretha Mare created a roving speaker series and networking event that brings together TechWomen alumnae, leaders and policymakers to discuss Zimbabwe’s role in the digital economy. Hosted in partnership with the Zimbabwe-United States Alumni Association, Aretha has now held four events in Bulawayo, Gweru, Mutare and Harare.
With rotating fellows featured in each event, the Digital Aspirations series bring together leaders and changemakers in government, academia, business and more to discuss the creation of a vibrant digital economy in Zimbabwe. Each gathering centers around a specific topic such as boosting entrepreneurship for an inclusive digital economy, addressing the digital skills gap and data and privacy issues.
The most recent event, “Connectivity for all: unpacking infrastructure and policy issues for an inclusive digital economy,” featured 2016 fellow Tarirayi Mukabeta, 2018 fellow Natsai Mutezo, a local computer scientist, an ICT lecturer and a member of the energy regulatory authority in Zimbabwe in a panel discussion. Each expert contributed their perspective on ensuring inclusion, particularly gender inclusivity, in a thriving digital economy.
Report Date...: 12/23/19