Innovation Integration: Networking Reception with TIEC
On the fourth day of the delegation trip, the group spent the day in Egypt’s Smart Village, a high-technology business district housing government offices, telecommunications companies, educational institutions and other entities.
The day started out with a networking reception hosted at the Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center (TIEC) that brought industry professionals together for an opportunity to connect and learn from one another. TIEC, a part of Egypt’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, has a mission to empower innovation and entrepreneurship in the country.
Following a welcome from Rasha Tantawy of TIEC and Jillian Scott, TechWomen Lead at IIE, mentor Rekha Pai-Kamath held a fireside chat about pitching and investing moderated by Salma El Hariri, Founder of S[k]aleUp Ventures, an investment firm dedicated to helping startups that have the potential to add exponential economic and social value wherever they are based. Rekha spoke about how entrepreneurs can use tech to solve big problems and encouraged women to leverage their networks and not be afraid to take a risk. Salma agreed, adding that “the message here is believe in yourself, have a big vision.”
Jill Finlayson then delivered a fireside chat about taking an idea from the lab to the market and transforming startups from concept to reality. The chat was moderated by Yomna Emad Saleh, 2016 fellow of Egypt. Jill highlighted that companies with diverse boards and leadership often see larger returns on investment, and she also stressed the importance of mentorship in helping new startup founders avoid making the mistakes others have made in the past.
Next, mentors Diana Macias, Geetanjali Johary and Lizz Noonan spoke on a panel about tech trends and industry innovation. The panel was moderated by mentor Rebecca Biswas. Diana spoke about new innovations with augmented and virtual reality and the Internet of Things, as well as how mobile applications, such as Twitter, are affecting social impact movements. Geentanjali spoke about artificial intelligence, machine learning and data storage and processing. Lizz spoke about open source platforms and net neutrality.
The presentations were followed by a networking reception.
Discussions with Vodafone: Reaching Your Potential
The afternoon event, hosted by Vodafone Egypt, welcomed several hundred audience members and included top Vodaphone Egypt executives. Alexandre Froment-Curtil, CEO of Vodafone Egypt, delivered the opening remarks, highlighting the company’s strong female representation in their leadership team and their goal to achieve an equal number of female and male employees across the company.The audience then heard from Vodaphone Egypt’s Human Resources Director, Nagla A, Kinawi, and their Technology Director, Osama Said, about Vodaphone’s support for women and girls in STEM, including a program that trains 2,000 girls per year to code.
Following the introduction, two TechWomen mentors and two female executives from Vodaphone delivered TED-style talks. First up was mentor Erin Keeley, who spoke on the topic of career resilience. She told a story about an opportunity she almost missed that ended up being the best work experience she had ever had, saying that she “learned not to be so afraid of failing.” She encouraged the audience to not let fear of failure get in their way of trying new things.
During her TED-style talk, mentor Mohna Dhomse spoke about her shift from textile technology to finding happiness working in the software field. She stressed the importance of finding a mentor, being open to new opportunities, continuing to learn new skills and networking.
Of the two Vodafone representatives who also delivered TED-style talks, one spoke about the importance of surpassing limiting beliefs and barriers for women in STEM and the other spoke about the need to be resilient, to take risks and to see challenges as opportunities.
The remainder of the afternoon included the audience splitting up for rotating ten minute table discussions with mentors and fellows on the following topics:
- Business agility: Cathy Simpson and Diana Macias
- Internet of things: Jill Finlayson and Rebecca Biswas
- Digital transformation: Rekha Pai-Klamath and Ghana Bteich (2015 fellow of Lebanon)
- Security trends: Mohna Dhomse and Geetanjali Johary
- Power of networking: Katy Dickinson and Teresa Williams
- Personal brand: Lisa Ramirez and Reham Nasser (2011 fellow of Egypt)
Continue following the delegation trip activities at #TWegypt!