Name: Maureen Grosvenor
Designation: Director – Head of Custom Applications
Company: APPSolve (Pty) Ltd
What do you do every day? Problem solving and business development. I look for opportunities in industries where I can use tech to help solve their problems and stream line the business.
How did you get into the tech space? The entrepreneurial and technology bug bit me at an early age. In 1986, when I was 16, my father bought one of the first home personal computers on the market and I took the opportunity to learn the software languages available at the time. I loved the idea getting to know and understand new innovations and being ahead of the pack. Plus I have always suffered from FOMO (fear of missing out). While still attending school, I started developing custom applications for friends and family and the rest is history. Programming came easy to me and my life since then has emulated the same problem-solving logic that computers run on.
What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? You teach people how to treat you
What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector? It is no longer a prerequisite to have a computer science degree to get into the ICT sector. The industry is so dynamic that the relevant diploma with the right attitude and appetite will get you into this job sector. We need more innovative new ideas and skills in South Africa. There is a plethora of jobs that did not exist 10 years ago, and we can just contemplate the endless possibilities of how the world will change over the next 10 years. While fields such as cyber security, social media and mobile development continue to grow, untapped industries such as Blockchain and AI are emerging and expanding. The future is limitless. Make your destiny part of that expansion.
What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? Farmers Markets, Innovation, the next great idea and inspiring young South Africans to reach for the stars
Who do you want to be when you grow up? A chef in Italy. ICT is lucrative and mentally challenging, food, however, is where my heart is
FaceBook : https://www.facebook.com/1264556650
LinkedIn : linkedin.com/in/maureen-grosvenor-3a207915
Twitter : @maureengrosven2
If you haven’t programmed before, or are new to programming, this hands-on workshop will teach you the fundamental concepts of computer programming, and get you started with using Python to solve problems, automate work, and bring your ideas to life.
Everyone is welcome!
Requirements: A laptop computer with Linux, macOS, or Windows installed, and administrative privileges to install Python. Previous programming experience is not required.
Book your place here now!
Applications for MEST Africa’s 1-year, fully-sponsored entrepreneurial training program in Accra, Ghana are now open for aspiring entrepreneurs from across the African continent. Interested applicants have until February 8th, 2019 to apply for the class of 2020.
Successful applicants will receive in-depth training and mentorship, access to a global network and the opportunity to build the next generation of global software companies alongside successful graduates like Anitrack’s Winnie Akoko, Qisimah’s Sakhile Xulu, Bidiibuild’s Kelvin Wachira, Kudobuzz’s Kena Amoah, MeQasa’s Kelvin Nyame, Amplify’s Segun Adeyemi and more.
“The MEST program has given me the opportunity to focus on developing the technical and business skills I need to succeed in the tech industry,” says Millicent Koranteng-Yorke, a member of the Developers in Vogue 2018 cohort and the MEST Class of 2019. “It is a chance for me to gain practical knowledge, experience and insight into my fields of interest and to develop solutions to the problems I am passionate about.”
Truly Pan-African, the MEST class of 2019 is its most diverse yet, representing entrepreneurs from 12 African nations. The Class of 2019 also welcomed the highest representation of women in a MEST cohort to date, at 37%. MEST will continue its strong focus on recruiting female leaders in tech, partnering with organisations including Developers in Vogue (DIV), Yielding Accomplished African Women(Yaa W), and Tech4her.
Over the course of 1 year, successful applicants will come to MEST HQ in Accra, Ghana and take part in an intensive entrepreneurial training program centred around business, communication and software development. The training is delivered by global experts and includes extensive hands-on project work, as well as mentorship from successful entrepreneurs, CEO’s and other executives from Silicon Valley, Europe and Africa. The program culminates in an investor pitch for seed funding and the opportunity to grow their business out of one of the Pan-African MEST incubators in Lagos, Accra, Cape Town and soon Nairobi.
“Our goal at MEST is to enable entrepreneurs in Africa to build scalable businesses – not just apps,” says MEST managing director Aaron Fu. “One of the ways we look to do that is through the significant Pan-African diversity in our program, which offers our EITs a strong network and a deeper understanding of problems and markets across the continent, from day 1.”
“This year, building on our 2018 admission of the most number of female founders in our history, we are also focused on continuing to increase our representation of female founders, as we recognise the incredible value female leaders provide in tech.”
Establishing and expanding its presence on the continent over the past 10 years, MEST has invested over $20million in training nearly 400 individual entrepreneurs, and invested in 50+ early stage software companies from across Africa. MEST entrepreneurs have developed solutions addressing local, regional and global markets, received follow-on funding from global investors, and been admitted to top accelerator programs such as Y-combinator, 500 startups and TechStars.
Some MEST portfolio successes include:
- Qisimah, the first MEST-funded company with a South African CEO, selected as the Best National Digital Solution for the International World Summits Award in Business and Commerce
- Tress, the all-female team with a product that’s changing the billion-dollar hair industry, recently accepted into Y Combinator
- Asoriba, the church management startup that’s swept through West Africa, recently partnered with payments giant, Interswitch and has been featured on CNN, BBC, Forbes
- Meqasa, Ghana’s number one real-estate portal which went on to raise $500,000 from Frontier Digital Ventures, and recently acquired Jumia House in Ghana.
- Kudobuzz, an advertising and marketing software, was selected as one of the 14 ventures to represent Africa at the 2017 edition of PitchDrive, and recently acquired MEST-backed company AdGeek.
- SynCommerce, a startup helping customers sell across channels and keep inventory in sync, recently won the gaming and entertainment category at TechCrunch in Nairobi.
The Application Process
- Attend a local MEST information session
- Complete the application form
- Successful applicants are contacted for a phone interview
- Qualified applicants are asked to complete an aptitude test
- Top candidates in each region will be invited for an in-person interview in Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya or Cote d’Ivoire
- Applications for the class of 2020 close February 8, 2019
Launched in 2008, MEST is a Pan-African training program, seed fund and incubator for technology entrepreneurs in Africa, providing critical skills training in software development, business and communications. Headquartered in Accra, Ghana, MEST is funded by the Meltwater Foundation, the non-profit arm of Meltwater, a global leader in media intelligence and AI-driven Outside Insight.
The top performing women in information and communication technology (ICT) were recognised at this year’s MTN Women in ICT – Partnership for Change Awards. The premier ICT women’s event saw several accolades awarded to candidates at a gala event held in Johannesburg on 30 August 2018.
In addition to awarding phenomenal women in the sector, the annual initiative is also aimed at attracting and enabling girls and young aspirant women professionals to consider a profession in the industry.
In its third year, this initiative is one way MTN is bridging the gender gap by bringing the world of ICT closer to all women.
This year’s judging panel comprised a variety of respected and highly accomplished broadcasters, seasoned journalists and editors, business executives, academics and ICT professionals. The panel shortlisted three nominees in various categories, and the winners were:
Pamela Mkhize who took top honours in the Leadership Recognition category. Pamela is currently Head of Sub-Saharan Africa Digital Satellite at the multinational energy utility, Enel Green Power (EGP), a subsidiary of the Enel Group. She is responsible for the organisation’s Digital Solutions department within Africa, and has led the ICT processes for renewable energy plant development projects in India and Australia.
In the Innovator Recognition category, Mariana Kruger, who heads up the Product and Solutions Division within MTN Business South Africa, took the top spot. Mariana’s team provides services and solutions to an array of enterprise customers in South Africa, ranging from the top 1000 blue chip companies to SMEs. They all have their own unique requirements cutting across mobility, core connectivity, managed services, data centre services, internet of things, security services and cloud services.
Mariana also received the CEO’s Award that recognises an MTN employee who has made a difference within the organisation with the use of ICT and technology.
Winning in the SME Recognition category was Iman Malaka. She is the CEO, co-founder and majority shareholder of TIC-IT Telecoms. Prior to this she held various roles in the telecommunications industry. Iman is passionate about developing people around her.
The Community Builder Recognition Award was handed over to Lindiwe Matlali, the Founder and CEO of Africa Teen Geeks. This is an NGO that teaches kids how to code. Lindiwe has received numerous accolades in Social Entrepreneurship, and continues to study at some of the world’s leading academic institutions, such as Columbia University in New York.
The Graduate Award (Tertiary) was awarded to Tebatso Moape, recognised for her role as a Computer Science Lecturer at Tshwane University of Technology. In addition, she recently founded a non-profit organisation, Rebao ICT foundation and Youth Development. Its mission is to be a leading NPO that promotes, drives and instills technological skills through the use of ICT in marginalised communities.
This year’s Lifetime Achiever (Women Pioneer) is Santie Botha. Santie has extensive knowledge and experience in various executive positions, in industries ranging from fast moving consumer goods to banking and telecommunications. She is currently the Chairperson of both Famous Brands Limited and Curro Holdings. She was also the Chancellor of Nelson Mandela University from 2011 to 2017.
Lauren Kate Rawlins received the Excellence in ICT Journalism Award. Lauren is the Digital and Innovation Editor at ITWeb and writes about the different ways businesses are embracing digital transformation, how small start-ups are disrupting big industry, and how the machines are slowing taking over.
Modjadji Maphepha was the recipient of the Ministerial Recognition Award. Modjadji is the General Manager of Moletsi FM in Limpopo Province, and was chosen for this award by the Minister of Communications, the Honourable Nomvula Mokonyane.
Says Jacqui O’Sullivan, Executive for Corporate Affairs at MTN SA: “We congratulate the winners for their outstanding performance throughout their careers. The support from industry and government has been overwhelming. This shows how our stakeholders value women’s contributions to ICT, and are happy to get behind the initiatives that MTN has put in place to shine a light on important challenges being faced by society – in this case women. Women must continue to play a meaningful role in the industry, advancing all sectors and inspiring the next generation of ICT innovators.”
Episode 3 can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVVTY8dHzzQ&t=103s
As South Africa closes its Women’s Month celebrations, we bring you the final in the Dell EMC Women’s Month showcase, hosted by Women in Tech’s Samantha Perry.
Elizabeth Matsemela, Angela Qithi and Noluthando Maleka all have demanding jobs at Dell EMC. They all also find the time to work within the company to uplift their colleagues and benefit the industry as a whole.
Angela is the South African representative of the Dell EMC Black Networking Alliance. Launched in South Africa in July, the BNA aims to make the organisation a top company for black professionals through focussing on recruitment, retention, development and engagement. It is the first BNA Employee Resource Group outside of North America.
“About six months into my role I started reaching out to individuals to help launch the BNA locally,” Angela says. “Being a black woman, in South Africa, regardless of the industry – it’s so hard. It’s hard because of where we come from. Yes, we’re 25 years into democracy, but there’s a lot of psychological impact today where, as a black person, it’s difficult to verbalise what you want in your career. I believe BNA can bridge the gap – get black professionals to feel confident and comfortable to feel vocal about what they want and go for it, and not feel like they cannot talk to a white colleague or superior and disagree. For me it’s just so important.”
Says Elizabeth, “For me it’s about ensuring everyone gets their fair share. I’m also on the core team of BNA and Women in Action Employee Resource Group. In the STEM industry we’re finding less and less women coming through and it’s important that those who are there put their hands up and be recognised and be known so those who are aspiring can see them and get through.”
Women in Action is an employee resource group that aims to help women in the company succeed through networking and mentoring them with their colleagues and ensuring they have a voice and are included.
“In South Africa there are six million unemployed people, three million of them are between the ages of 16 and 24,” says Noluthando. “Forty-six percent of those are female. For us, as a company in STEM we need to bring young females up, we need to go out to rural areas and empower the youth. Dell does this with The Dell Development Fund. It starts with us taking high school students and training them and broadening the pool.”
The tech sector, she adds, has been very reactive in finding black, female skills, “companies throw money at the people already in the sector and haven’t been proactive in going to schools, working with NGOs, funding education and bringing people up. There has been very little investment.”
All three women agree that it’s time this changed. And they’re working to make sure it does.
Episode two can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15QsSuqS_0s
South Africa is celebrating Women’s Month, showcasing its heroines, reflecting on their struggles and triumphs. In honour of Women’s Month, Dell EMC is showcasing some of the extraordinary women who work in its South African operations, hosted by Women in Tech ZA’s Samantha Perry.
Doreen Kekana, Large Enterprise ASR, Dell EMC South Africa and Carolyn Arnold, Legal Counsel for Dell EMC South Africa could not look more different, on the surface. Underneath, however, both harbour a fierce determination and drive to succeed and to be extraordinary.
Doreen was number six of seven children, who lost her mother at the age of 16. She knew then she needed to do something to change her life, as she saw no hope, and she knew her choices would determine her future. She chose education. “I knew education was the only thing that would break the pattern. Education was something I could own that no-one could take away from me.”
Funding was a challenge, however, and Doreen struggled to get her matric, and then get into university. Once she had done that she faced another challenge – in her first semester she fell pregnant. Not being one to let anything stop her, however, she studied through open learning and correspondence while looking after her baby, and finished her studies.
“It was difficult but fulfilling. I look back now and I do not cry, I just smile. I know I’d made it so far.”
Doreen landed in tech as she studied informatics which has broaden her options. Unsurprisingly, to anyone who knows her journey, she’s excelling. She knew she needed to study something that would give her viable career options, and that was within the reach of her resources, so when she enrolled at Unisa, so selected a BCom Informatics, which gave her a passion for information systems. That passion led her to applying for and getting a role in administrative sales support at Dell 14 months ago, and has just been promoted to an internal sales rep – a substantial promotion in a short period of time.
Carolyn’s challenges have been self-induced, she admits. She’s completed the gruelling Absa Cape Epic twice, no small achievement, and juggles sport with parenting and her role as Dell EMC’s senior legal counsel.
“I was lucky that, when we lived overseas, and my children were younger I was able to work part-time. When we came back to SA they were older, and I decided to get back into sport. There are challenges to maintaining that kind of structure in your day – and it is about developing structure. At the end of the day you don’t feel like you’re losing out of any element of your own life because you can be with your children in the afternoons, pursue my career and be involved in sport. Working at Dell they’re fantastic at work life balance, and as long as you get the work done how you structure your day is up to you.”
Both say their journey has been rewarding and are grateful they’ve ended up in a sector that provides personal and professional support and fulfilment.
Women in Tech Pretoria is holding its monthly meet-up at MMI Holdings on Thursday, 30 August at 5-30pm.
The evening will include a keynote address from Kefilwe Morobane, award-winning public speaker and entrepreneur entitled ‘The Power of Showing up”, followed by a talk by Ngwako Ramohlale, Founder & CEO of Nunnovation Africa Foundation.
We will then provide a short update on September’s planned event from Sdu Matlala followed by some fun and giveaways from Offer Zen. Wine and snacks will be served before and after the formalities.
Men and women welcome!