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Yes, We Have Changed Our Logo!

You may have noticed that we, Women in Tech ZA, have changed our logo. We have done this as we have connected with several Women in Tech Chapters around South Africa and Botswana, so we wanted to use a logo that can easily be altered to suit each chapter as well as clearly be associated with their umbrella organisation, US!

About the logo: In 2016 Women in Tech Cape Town ran an online competition for the community to submit designs for the community. After receiving over 20 designs we got the public to vote for their favourite design and the winner was the below by Samuel Molahloe.

 

Women in Tech Chapters:

As of March 2018, Women in Tech ZA is grown from being an online platform to being connected to 4 Women in Tech Chapters around Sub Saharan Africa. (Thank you to Mishal Weston for editing all the logos from Samuel Molahloe’s original design)

 

Women in Tech ZA Goals: In February 2018 Robyn Farah became chairperson for Women in Tech ZA. Her aims are:

  • To have active women in tech communities all over South Africa connected to Women in Tech ZA
  • A “Woman in Tech of the Week” feature on the Women in Tech ZA website weekly.
  • Have active Social Media platforms
  • Get sponsorship to collect data on females in Science, Tech, Engineering and Maths (STEM) in South Africa

Get Involved:

Did you know that Women in Tech is registered as an NPC this means that donations to our organisation are tax deductible!

 

Deirdré Fryer

Name: Deirdré Fryer

Designation: Product Management Africa

Company: SYSPRO

What do you do every day?
Lots of meetings…
Industry and product Research to understand our positioning in the market as well as our strengths with a focus on looking for improvements.
Customer and sales engagements to understand and solve business needs with software and technology.
Product messaging and positioning to drive enablement of the product across our employees, partners and customers.
Collaboration with marketing and sales teams to drive collaboration around our product and the value features add

How did you get into the tech space?
By chance, while writing my final exams I took a temp job in reception at a software company, SYSPRO, and never looked back.
What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?
If people are not adopting or buying into what you are proposing, change your approach. You need to show people the value in what is being offered specific to them, not how you see it, solve their pain and they will embrace what you are offering without question.
What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector?
Learn, read, learn, read and never say no to an opportunity, even the smallest and most insignificant task will teach you something.

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday?
The thought that today I could be part of something that will make someone’s life easier. Making a difference little bit by little bit
Who do you want to be when you grow up?
A wine taster 😉
The best role model to my two daughters, showing them that having a career and good life balance is possible, you can have the best of both worlds.

Twitter: @FryerDee
Linked In: Deirdre Fryer

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Karabo Kanyane Malatji

Name: Karabo Kanyane Malatji

Designation: 1st Year Junior IT Auditor

Company: Nkonki Incorporated

What do you do every day? I start off my day with a prayer. Every morning I get ready for work and I make my way to the Gautrain to travel to work where I’d grab my coffee fix before making my way to a client with the team. Each day is different some days are filled with a lot of admin and paper work. Some days we work through client systems using application controls and ITGCs to test the systems. So my day purely depends on what the client wants or who the client is. So it is quite flexible compared to the jobs I did previously.

How did you get into the tech space? I studied a BIS Information Science honours degree at the University of Pretoria and I’m currently a Master’s in Information Technology student at the university as well. I completed two internships in Information and records management previously at the Human Science Research Council and Education Labour Relations Council. I am also a Golden Key International Honour Society member which is a membership awarded to the top 15% students in their respective degrees for two years in a row. I am also a self taught Microsoft SQL database creation.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? The best advice I got was from my father. To always work hard for what drives me and keeps me up at night, not be short sighted and not be too hard on myself. To work towards my dreams everyday but still acknowledge my strengths and weaknesses at the same time. He always advices me to work hard as though I did not know where my next meal will come from. And to basically be smart with my money.

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector?
I would advice them to always make time for themselves to relax and unwind because it gets hectic very quickly and be willing to put in the extra work and extra hours . They must have a teachable spirit and be willing to take up new challenges. They must be willing to grow because the tech industry is constantly changing. So there’s a lot to learn and produce in order to grow our ICT industry.

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday?
I am motivated by the woman I aspire to be on a daily basis. A woman who is comfortable in her skin. A strong woman; academically, emotionally, spiritually and financially. A woman who inspires young girls to be themselves and not let society and their circumstances define them. Lastly, I am motivated by my dream to be an entrepreneur in the tech and education space That’s what motivates me to get out of bed, to be that woman and she is constantly on my mind everyday.

Who do you want to be when you grow up? I want to be someone who has inspired the next person to dream big and reach for their dreams especially in the academic space. I’d really love to be involved in seeing more young girls entering the science and technology space and reach their limits/ potential. I also want to be an innovator that has taken our tech and business industry to new heights .

Twitter handle: @fabiekay
LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/karabo-kanyane-malatji-Oab13a6b

Tracy Surkont

Name: Tracy Surkont

Designation: MD

Company: TotalSend

What do you do every day? As TotalSend’s newly-appointed MD, I’m very interested in the bottom line and when it comes to profitability, few things are more important than Sales and New Product Development. As such, my day is focused mainly on coaching and motivating sales staff while also researching potential new products.

How did you get into the tech space? My career was entirely sales-focused for about a decade before I was offered a Product Manager role at Vodacom in 2008. I was excited by the challenge of being completely out of my comfort zone and I absolutely fell in love with mobile new product development. After then spending some time in Africa, another opportunity presented itself when I was asked to consider building a bot platform for one of the social networks entering South Africa. I then collaborated with a former MXIT colleague and with my product knowledge and his ninja skills, we delivered our first version in 2013.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you? Work smart not hard, believe in yourself and speak up.

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector?
Don’t be afraid to do a little bit of grunt work – most times the work is fun, you get to develop products and services, but that also means you sometimes need to answer the phones, help out with support and get the coffee.
Shed your ego and open yourself to learning – big egos get nothing done. There is always someone who knows more than you and if you are willing to learn – you’ll be better off for it.

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday? My family. I have a toddler at home who is constantly curious – I get to experience the world through his eyes and he has made me realise that life is not all about work. Taking the time out to enjoy the simple things has helped me to look at things in a different light. I really do want the world to be a better place for him.

Who do you want to be when you grow up? Don’t all moms want to be superwoman ☺

LinkedIn profile www.linkedin.com/in/tracy-langdon-surkont-13046327/

The Obama Foundation seeks to identify a group of emerging African leaders from all sectors

The Obama Foundation seeks to identify a group of emerging African leaders from all sectors — government, civil society, and the private sector — who have demonstrated a commitment to advancing the common good. The objective of the program is to build a growing network of innovative and ethical changemakers, who seek to drive positive change in their communities. Successful candidates will have a demonstrated potential for impact, a clear commitment to integrity, and a commitment to stay engaged with the Obama Foundation throughout the year and beyond. We are interested in talented individuals who are on the right trajectory at earlier stages of their journey, as well as those who have already attained success.

The inaugural class of the Leaders Africa Program will convene in Johannesburg, South Africa from July 14 through July 18, 2018, as well as participate in robust online activities throughout the year. The Obama Foundation will cover costs related to economy class travel, lodging, and meals throughout the July 14-18 portion of the program.

Applications should be submitted via the link below, no later than 6:00 PM ET (11:00 PM GMT) on March 25, 2018. We will notify applicants of their status via email on a rolling basis beginning on April 27, 2018.

https://apply.obama.org/leadersafrica/

Candidate Criteria

Citizen of an African country
Fluent in English (verbal and written)
Emerging leaders from all sectors approximately between 24-40 years of age
Available to travel to Johannesburg, South Africa from July 14 through July 18, 2018
Civically minded with a track record of impact
A clear commitment to integrity
A commitment to stay engaged with the Obama Foundation throughout the year and beyond
Ability and inclination to positively transform the future of Africa or their community

#InspiringFifty South Africa 2018 nominations open on IWD

Call for nominations are now open for #InspiringFiftySA 2018

This year marks the second edition of #InspiringFiftySA, an initiative that benchmarks and awards the 50 most inspiring women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths). In celebration of International Women’s Day, the call for nominations has officially opened. The initiative is by the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Cape Town.

“The African tech ecosystem is growing exponentially. This is re-shaping the South African
economy as technology and innovation are leapfrogging beyond established technology, ideas,
and infrastructure. The instrumental role played by women in this sector should be made more
visible on a local and global level. These women are the inspiring role models for the future.
Inspiring Fifty South Africa allows us to create a platform for these women in technology,
showing our girls that they can do the same,” says Bonnie Horbach, the Netherlands Consul
General in Cape Town. The collaboration forms part of the Dutch campaign in South Africa,
named #cocreateSA.

Last year #InspiringFiftySA received 252 nominations of which fifty amazing women were
awarded the #InspiringFifty accolade. Amongst these women were Adriana Marais, Aisha
Pandor, Nunu Ntshingila, Portia Maurice, Mickey Mashale, Magda Wierzycka and Yolisa Kani.
What makes this award different, is that it includes women who paving the way in government,
education and the corporate space, to empower girls aspiring a career in STEM.

“To be recognised for doing inspiring work is one thing, but to do so while being featured
alongside the amazing Inspiring Fifty SA women was simply incredible! The initiative introduced
me to incredibly smart and bold women who inspired me to continue being the same. The 2017
cohort proved that there’s a plethora of women doing world class work in STEM and I’m only
excited to meet the nominees for Inspiring Fifty SA 2018. I hope the new nominees jump at the
opportunity!” – Lethabo Motswaledi, winner of the 2017 Inspiring Fifty SA and Co-founder of 3D
Power.

“Being an #InspiringFiftySA judge exposed me to a high caliber of women in the SA tech space
that I didn’t even know existed. It was tough to choose as I was in awe of the 270 nominations
from all over SA. I made new connections with very powerful women in Tech. I believe South Africa has a great pool of role models that need to be exposed to girls and #InspiringFiftySA is
doing exactly that,” said Baratang Miya, #InspiringFiftySA 2017 Judge and Founder of GirlHype.

“​#InspiringFiftySA is a valuable initiative which allows young girls and boys from all walks of life
to see role models across the STEM fields who they can aspire to be. It showcases the
abundance of hard work and talent which our country possesses. Personally for me
#InspiringFiftySA gave me access to a network of women who share the same value of making
our country a better place in growing the STEM field,” said Dr Mmaki Jantjies, winner of #InspiringFiftySA and Senior Lecturer and Head of the Department of Information Systems,
Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, University of the Western Cape.

To meet the criteria, a nominee has to be a founder of a technology company; or hold a position in a C-Level position in a technology company; or be an influencer, academic or politician in the technology or innovation space. Inspiring Fifty encourages South Africans and the technology eco-system to nominate their most inspiring female role models.

To nominate your most inspiring women in tech, visit https://inspiringfifty.awardsplatform.com/
For more information on Inspiring Fifty, visit http://cocreatesa.nl/inspiring-fifty-homepage/

Applications for MEST Class of 2019 close February 15 in South Africa

Applications for MEST Africa‘s fully sponsored 1-year entrepreneurial training program are closing for aspiring South African entrepreneurs on 15th February. Interested applicants have three more days to apply to join the class of 2019 and build global tech businesses alongside successful graduates like Qisimah’s Sakhile Xulu.

Following the graduation of its first cohort of South African Entrepreneurs-in-training (EITs) in August 2017, MEST Africa launched an incubator space in Cape Town, South Africa, and Lagos, Nigeria, in November 2017, in an effort to further solidify its presence in key markets for tech and entrepreneurial talent on the continent.

Today, MEST accepts EITs from Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and Cote d’Ivoire, all of whom come together for a 1-year intensive training program in Accra, Ghana, with a goal of building globally successful software companies and joining the Pan-African network of MEST incubators to further grow their businesses.

“We’re extremely excited to continue to show our commitment to the South African market with the launch of our new incubator space and the 2018 ZA recruitment drive. Cape Town is certainly home to an enormous amount of ambitious tech talent with massive potential, and we are working towards delivering access to opportunities for startups and entrepreneurs from across the region,” said MEST Managing Director Aaron Fu. “Through our pan-African training program, we want to enable the collaboration and interaction and thus make trans-Africa startups happen more.”

Successful applicants will spend a year at MEST HQ in Accra starting from August 2018, taking part in an intensive entrepreneurial training program centred around business, communications and software development. Training includes extensive hands-on project work and the opportunity to be mentored by successful entrepreneurs, CEO’s and other executives from all over Silicon Valley and Europe. The program culminates in a final pitch and the chance to receive seed investment and grow a tech business as part of the Pan-African network of MEST incubators in Lagos, Accra, Nairobi and Cape Town. Applications for South Africa close February 15, 2018.

Since inception, MEST has invested over $20million in training more than 400 individual entrepreneurs and invested in 40+ technology companies from across Africa. MEST entrepreneurs have developed solutions addressing local, regional and global markets, received follow-on funding from global investors, and gotten into top accelerator programs such as Y-combinator, 500 startups and TechStars.

To learn more about the MEST offering and what makes an ideal candidate, visit http://meltwater.org/get-involved/become-an-eit/

Application Process:

GirlCode to launch Digital Academy and incubator programme

The social enterprise aims to impact 10 million females across Africa by 2030, through strategic partnerships, training initiatives, and mentorship and networking programmes

GirlCode, a social enterprise that aims to empower young girls and women through technology, launched its 2018 programme and Vision 2030 statement, at a breakfast event in Melrose Arch last week.

Among the initiatives planned for 2018 are the expansion of the annual hackathon and training workshops, as well as the launch of the Digital Academy, the GirlCoder Club, the GirlCode Accelerator Programme and the GirlCode Incubator initiative.

From humble beginnings

GirlCode was founded in 2014 as a female-only hackathon in a male-dominated industry. The first hackathon attracted 20 participants and one sponsor and has since become an annual event, with this year’s hackathon attracting 117 participants and seven sponsors, including Standard Bank, Boxfusion, Entelect and MTN.

The compounding success of each hackathon lead to the growth of GirlCode into a platform that engages women in tech, facilitates their skills development and encourages them to join the tech revolution.

Addressing the gender gap

According to the Intel Women and the Web report, nearly 25% fewer women are online than men. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the gap rises to 43%. And McKinsey reports that women comprise just 16% of all executive-level positions at technology companies in Africa.

Speaking at the event, which was attended by corporate executives and public sector representatives, Zandile Keebine, GirlCode Founder, said: “We have to be intentional in our efforts and committed to bringing opportunities to girls in rural areas and disadvantaged communities. Technology is increasingly becoming part of our lives, making digital literacy fundamental for everyone. With half the population being female, if we don’t start upskilling girls today, it means we’re leaving half of our potential IP out of the solutions we should be creating. It’s not enough for girls to simply play with technology; we have to encourage them and give them the chance to understand, create and work with it.”

GirlCode’s plans for 2018 include:

  • Expansion of the annual hackathon to Cape Town and Durban – in addition to the long-standing Johannesburg event. Next year’s hackathon will be hosted between 3 and 5 August 2018, and girls will be encouraged to solve challenges for SMEs and orphanages. The winning team will be sent to the Women in Tech Conference, in Amsterdam. Corporates will also be able to white-label hackathon events and tap into female tech talent and knowledge to solve business problems.
  • Expansion of the GirlCode workshops, which provides girls with valuable skills training in everything from HTML and Java to presentation skills, design thinking and WordPress, in the run-up to the hackathon.
  • The launch of the Digital Academy, which will provide unemployed women who have had no or little exposure to technology with basic computer skills training, as well as CV and interview guidance, over two weeks. The goal is to broaden their skills so that they can broaden their job opportunities.
  • The launch of the GirlCoder Club, which will teach high schoolgirls how to code in weekend classes facilitated by unemployed Computer Science graduates.
  • The launch of a 10-month GirlCode Accelerator programme, which will give girls the opportunity to gain real-world experience, be bridging the gap between academic learning and work-ready skills. The initial intake will be 30 girls.
  • The launch of the GirlCode Incubator, a 24-month mentorship programme focusing on marketing, operations, innovation, finance and self-mastery, to help girls grow their businesses.
  • Quarterly speed dating sessions between girls and mentors in the industry, in an effort to expand their networks.

Also speaking at the event, GirlCode team mentor and public policy director for Africa at Cisco Systems, Charmaine Houvet, said: “In Africa, just 5% of CEOs in the tech industry are women, which I think is a tragedy. We need to push harder for more female leaders to progress within any environment – it’s not just the right thing to do; it’s also a social and economic imperative. The National Development Plan 2030 states that we need to create 11 million jobs by 2030. These jobs won’t come from corporates but from advocacy groups like GirlCode that are actively doing something about youth unemployment and are driving the entrepreneurial agenda.”

Vision 2030

GirlCode’s vision is to impact 10 million women across Africa in 10 years, starting with getting young girls interested in STEM, and to become the largest female digital academy. It aims to do this through strategic partnerships with the public sector; strengthening collaboration with similar organisations; and leveraging corporate assets in the development of ICT facilities, infrastructure and networks within schools in disadvantaged communities.

“We’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the future and how we see GirlCode playing a critical role in making it happen. Our vision is to reach as many girls as possible – regardless of age or location – to create a network of women who can help create a more inclusive industry that solves real-world problems. They say the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago and that the next best time is now. At GirlCode, we believe the best time to start getting girls interested in tech is now,” says Keebine.