Bureau Veritas partners with TWAA in support of women in business in Africa

November 16, 2020 in Mentoring, News
Irene Kiwia, TWAA founder

TWAA founder Irene Kiwia

Bureau Veritas, a global testing, inspection, and certification company, has announced the launch of its “BV Women in Africa Mentorship Program” a strategic collaborative partnership with TWAA, a global and professional networking, knowledge sharing and mentorship platform for women and girls.

The platform provides women with digital tools to connect and find suitable mentors and mentees, share and access opportunities bolstering continuous progress and development. 

Speaking at the launch of the program in Nairobi on 4 November, Marc Roussel, President of Government Services & International Trade & Senior Vice President for Africa commented: “The Bureau Veritas Group operates in several countries across Africa. The organisation has a very strong ethos on gender balance and women empowerment. The TWAA initiative enables us to engage women in supporting each other through a BV dedicated mentorship program. This platform creates a unique opportunity to invite many of the great women of BV to support other women within Africa. The digital tool is an incredible means to reach out to many women even if they are located remotely. 

“This initiative will contribute positively to the social compact and development within the African continent and it is my fervent hope that other companies will come on board and support this program,” he added.

Said Irene Kiwia, Founder of TWAA: “We are thrilled to partner with Bureau Veritas to promote TWAA across Africa and globally. This platform was built to help organisations with a strong women empowerment agenda such as Bureau Veritas accomplish their goals  by providing a platform to engage, connect, mobilise and impact their women communities through mentorship, knowledge sharing and access to opportunities. TWAA provides a safe and private space with relevant digital tools for women to thrive and aims to bridge the gender digital divide which can be ramped up if organisations globally become the drivers of the platform.”

The program is available in English, French and Swahili and in the future will be available in even more languages like Yoruba, isiZulu, Portuguese and Arabic. 

Bureau Veritas enjoys a strong gender social awareness ethos, with the company launching the Ithemba Trust in South Africa in 2019, a women’s empowerment body involved in projects benefiting girls and young women in South Africa. 

TWAA is available as a web portal via https://www.twaa.io with soon to be launched mobile apps. 

 

Declaring war on fraud and deep fakes

November 13, 2020 in News, tech
Jon Foster-Pedley, dean and director, Henley Africa

Jon Foster-Pedley, dean and director, Henley Africa.

Henley Business School Africa has become the first business school in Africa to offer digital certification for graduates of its programmes – guaranteeing the security of its qualifications and brand.

In a world where ‘deep fakes’ are becoming an on-demand service and documents, videos and even likenesses can be easily forged, there is an ever-growing need for individuals and organisations to be able to prove their identity and the authenticity of their qualifications quickly and unequivocally.

“Strong digital credentials enable graduate professionals to protect and display the value of their qualifications anywhere in the world,” says Jon Foster-Pedley, dean and director of Henley Africa, “They give prospective employers and clients the confidence that someone has the experience and knowledge that they claim. Henley’s triple-accredited international qualifications are in high demand worldwide and we are making sure that nobody can claim to have them unless they have earned them.”

Henley Africa’s new digital certificates are created by PrivySeal, a technology company founded by South African attorney Stephen Logan. The certificates and linked seals can be embedded in emails, websites, documents or social media, and are checked against Henley’s graduate database. All a user has to do is follow a unique link via a click or QR code to prove the document’s authenticity.

“The ability to quickly confirm a certificate as genuine is important to building trust,” says Logan. “It enables third parties to have faith that they are dealing with a recognised, responsible person with a proven top-class qualification.”

Because the check is made in real-time against an active database, if a qualification has to be corrected or withdrawn by the awarding institution, this is immediately reflected.

PrivySeal’s technology is already in use by professional bodies and statutory regulators in the architecture; quantity surveying; accountancy; governance; IT; engineering; health & safety; education; and, construction sectors in South Africa. It is also used by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) and qualification authorities within the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) to produce secure and dynamic e-Certificates verifying qualifications in real-time.

“We encourage all of our students to be pioneers in grasping the opportunities and challenges around digital identity. The value of the genuine, the original, the untarnishable is becoming greater every day,” says Foster-Pedley.

“Trust is a critical currency in the digital world and this digital certification will build trust between service partners in the evolving fourth industrial revolution. Backing up their professional qualifications with this technology will let them build their businesses and reputations with confidence.”

Finalists announced for 2020 Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) Awards

November 6, 2020 in Awards, Entrepreneur, News

AWIEF logo
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, November 4, 2020/APO Group/ — The Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) (www.AWIEForum.org), a leading pan-African entrepreneurship and innovation non-profit, has announced the top finalists for the 2020 edition of its AWIEF Awards.

The annual AWIEF Awards, through a nomination process, identifies and celebrates the best female entrepreneurs across multiple industries in Africa.

Promoting and supporting excellence in entrepreneurship and innovation amongst women-owned businesses in all sectors and across all 54 African countries, is the aim of AWIEF which hosts the sixth edition of its prestigious and benchmarking annual Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum Conference, this year as a virtual event, on 2nd and 3rd December 2020.

Twenty-four women founders and entrepreneurs, driving economic growth and development for Africa, have been selected as finalists for 2020 AWIEF Awards, from different African countries, across 8 different categories.

According to Irene Ochem, AWIEF founder and chief executive officer, “This year more than ever, it is vital to acknowledge and celebrate women entrepreneurs in Africa for their leadership and innovation. The impact of the global pandemic has been disproportionate and devastating, and women are showing exceptional resilience.”

The 2020 AWIEF Awards winners will be announced on 3 December at the awards ceremony following on from the two-day AWIEF2020 Virtual Conference. The theme this year is: ‘Reimagining business and rebuilding better’.

The finalists for the 2020 AWIEF Awards are:

Young Entrepreneur Award
Sazia Souza, Managing Partner, Technoplus (Mozambique)
Hannah Lavery, Founder, Hannah Lavery (South Africa)
Olajumoke Odumola, Founder and CEO, KJK Online Communications (Nigeria)
Asomaniwaa Owusu-Ansah, Founder and Chief Pharmacist, Erith Health Services (Ghana)

Tech Entrepreneur Award
Claudette Akinpaye, Founder and Managing Director, Agrizilla (Rwanda)
Marlize Holtzhausen, Founder and CEO, Response24 (South Africa)
Abimbola Adebakin, CEO, Advantage Health (Nigeria)

Social Entrepreneur Award
Rita Stryker, CEO, Willette Safehouse (Liberia)
Adenike Akinsemola, Founder and Director, The Green Institute (Nigeria)
Doris Mollel, Founder and Executive Director, Doris Mollel Foundation (Tanzania)
Mariam Mell & Osiime Mpaata, Founder and CEO, Junior Stars Youth Development Programme (Kenya)

Agri Entrepreneur Award
Victoria Mwafulirwa, Managing Director, Homes Industries (Malawi)
Jacqueline Mukashyaka, Chief Executive Officer, Champion Grocers (Rwanda)
Armelle Sidje Tamo, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, PRA (Product Related to Agricultural Sector (Cameroun)

Creative Industry Award
Hannellie Coetzee, Visual Artist, Wild Wall Tiles/Hannelie Coetzee (South Africa)
Ayanfe Olarinde, Lulu Arts and UnEarthical (Nigeria)
Alice Muyambo, Visual Artist, Fortitude Arts Gallery (Zambia)

Energy Entrepreneur Award
Enoyonam Mosia, Co-founder, Easy Solar (Sierra Leone)
Amma Serwah Boateng, Co-founder, Destra Energy Group (Ghana)

Empowerment Award
Porcho Marguerite Sogoba, CEO, MUSODEV (Mali)
Nasreen Aleey, Founder and CEO, Afrikapu (Kenya)
Qabale Duba, Founder and CEO, Qabale Duba Foundation (Kenya)

Lifetime Achievement Award
Robyn de Villiers, Chairman and CEO, BCW Africa (South Africa)
Daisy Molefhi, Founder and Executive Director, ABM University College (Botswana)

To register for AWIEF2020 Virtual Conference and AWIEF Awards, click: bit.ly/370MV3F

AWIEF2020 is supported by Nedbank, AGRA, APO Group and WESGRO.

Sasol is offering young women bursaries to pursue STEM careers

March 6, 2020 in News, Training and development
Sasol Bursary recipients

Applications close 30 April

 Johannesburg, South Africa – According to UNESCO, less than 30 percent of the world’s scientific researchers and only 35 percent of students studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in higher education are women.

“This is a startling statistic, but it also means there are incredible opportunities for women to enter the STEM fields at this exciting time, where technology continues to transform the way we live,” says Monica Luwes, Manager of Graduate Centre at Sasol Corporate Bursary Services, adding that career fields in STEM are regarded as the driving force behind technological transformation and innovation and will be among the highest-paying in the future.

Ahead of International Women’s Day 2020 on March 8, Sasol is encouraging young women to harness their potential by entering STEM fields thereby contributing to the development of much-needed critical skills in the country and to help grow the economy.

To support this next generation of female leaders and innovators in STEM, Sasol is offering and encouraging female learners to apply for its all-inclusive bursary programme that focuses on STEM-related courses at a tertiary level.

“Women are valuable to the world of STEM, and at Sasol we are proud to encourage and enable them to harness this potential giving them the opportunity to kick off and succeed in careers in these fields,” says Luwes. “There is no limit to what they can achieve and if we ignite the STEM spark in our young women, we help generations of women to come.”

Lehlogonolo Letshela, who is studying for a BSc in Chemical Engineering at the University of Cape Town through the Sasol bursary, was attracted to a career in STEM for the value it would bring to her life long-term, and her community. “I have always loved maths and science, and fortunately throughout my school life I’ve had teachers encouraging me to pursue these subjects,” says Letshela. “Young women need great mentors, and I’m hoping I can bring value to them and the community around me.”

Another bursary recipient, Zaina Abrahams, who is studying for a BEng in Mechanical at the University of Cape Town says that she’s always dreamed big of one day working in the science field, and thanks to Sasol, whose enabled her to pursue her dream. “Aside from offering just financial support, Sasol really offers a hand-in-hand ‘partnership’ through their bursar support programme,” said Abrahams. “From offering tutors, to making psychologists and specialists available when we need help, this bursary goes way beyond just the numbers, and enables us to harness our full potential.”

The Sasol bursary is open to learners who are planning to study towards a B Eng or BSc Eng in various engineering disciplines or for a BSc in Chemistry, Geology or Metallurgy. The bursary covers tuition fees, accommodation, meals, textbooks and pocket money. Bursars also receive allowances for study tools such as laptops and calculators, and financial and career assistance as part of the Graduate Development Programme.

To apply:

Applications close 30 April 2020.

Press release: SA SME Fund invests R150 million to commercialise university tech innovation

February 26, 2020 in News

Cape Town, 25 February 2020 — Corporate South Africa, through its investment in the SA SME Fund, is enabling the commercialisation of technology innovations developed by SA universities through its R150 million investment into the University Technology Fund (UTF).

This is the first university technology fund in Africa.

R25 million will be allocated to pre-commercialisation funding, which includes proof of concept and technology development support and R125 million for commercialisation.

Says Ketso Gordhan, CEO of the SA SME Fund: “This investment is intended to unlock the vast potential located inside our world-class universities by commercialising South African technology. This will not only create viable businesses and jobs, but will also encourage a culture of innovation throughout universities in South Africa.  We are exceptionally excited about the potential that this creates.”

South Africa punches above its weight in research capability, having doubled its output since 2000.  Where the country lags is in the commercialisation of the research and patents, which is the gap that the SA SME Fund’s investment is aiming to address.

While the UTF’s initial university partners are University of Cape Town and Stellenbosch University, who provide pipeline for the Fund and each contributed R20 million to co-invest with the UTF, the SA SME Fund’s next step is to expand the programme to universities across South Africa. 

The UTF will be managed by Stocks and Strauss, an independent third party Fund Manager. The Founders and Directors of Stocks and Strauss, Wayne Stocks and Daniel Strauss have a deep understanding of technology and the early stage investment space, having been investors, founders and operationally involved in early stage technology businesses.

Wayne Stocks, Partner at Stocks and Strauss, says: “We are excited to work with Universities to commercialise the world-class intellectual property that has, and is being developed. We will work with them to leverage their research to drive sustainable growth, profit and transformation within the University ecosystem and the broader economy.” 

Link to a short UTF introductory video:  https://youtu.be/vZmD0viamkE 

Follow SA SME Fund on:
Twitter:  @SASMEFUND
LinkedIn: SASMEFUND
Website: www.sasmefund.co.za

 

 

Female Role Model of the Year donates R200k of web services to Women in Tech South Africa!

November 29, 2018 in News

Yesterday, Women in Tech South Africa, received wonderful news that Lynette Hundermark of Useful and Beautiful decided to gift us web services to the value of R150 000 from Kaskade.Cloud, as well as adding an additional R50K of UX from her own company.

Hundermark recently won the Southern Africa Startup Awards‘ South African Female Role Model of the Year as well as the South Africa People’s Choice Award. Her prize was website design, hosting and managed services for 12 months to the value of R150 000 by Kaskade.Cloud, which Hundermark decided to donate to Women in Tech South Africa.

We want to thank you personally Lynette, as not only will this make a huge difference to our online presence, but it will have a HUGE impact on creating exposure for females in STEM across our country including our current community, future members and future partners/sponsors.

We have big plans for the website, but if you have any suggests please do contact us here.

About Lynette Hundermark

An established industry expert in the digital and mobile space in Africa, Lynette is recognised as one of the top 30 most influential women in SA digital marketing, a Regional Business Woman of the Year 2018 Finalist (run by the Business Women’s Association of SA) , 2018 Female Role Model in Tech National Winner (SA) and 2018 People’s Choice Winner Regional Winner in Southern Africa (Southern African Startup Awards). She has also been recognised by Fast Company in 2018 as one of the most creative people in business. In previous years she has also been a winner of numerous app development awards both locally and internationally.

With over 20 years of experience in the tech, digital marketing and mobile solutions space, Lynette co-founded specialist mobile solutions consultancy Useful & Beautiful and has a passion for creating great customer experience that harness the power of mobile and digital to help businesses achieve their omnichannel goals.

Previous experiences include launching innovative & award-winning solutions for the initial versions of Ster-Kinekor, Bidorbuy, Old-Mutual, Sanlam, Hollard, News24, and General Electric apps. She also led mobile innovation units at Naspers for their eCommerce businesses which included Kalahari.com, 36Style and Media24 while starting off her career as an enterprise developer analyst in the UK with clients that included HSBC, Citibank, Deutsche Bank, G4s and Tesco.

Lynette is a sought-after tech speaker, and has spoken regularly at a variety of local and international tech conferences and is frequently quoted in publications throughout Africa. She also served on the judging panel for the EduTech Africa, AfricaCom and World Retail awards, West Africa Mobile Awards and Mobile Marketing Association. She also serves on various advisory boards globally.


About Useful and Beautiful

Useful & Beautiful is a fast-growing mobile solutions consultancy, with a specialist focus on user experience and design, mobile technology and product development. Service offerings encompass mobile strategy, design and development with the aim of supporting business goals with the unique qualities that mobile has to offer. Built on 20 years of experience in the mobile and digital space, Useful & Beautiful is passionate about leveraging the latest mobile technology solutions to map out intuitive and seamless user experiences that drive sustainable business value and results. For more info, visit www.usefulandbeautiful.co.za

Applications for MEST Class of 2020 now open to aspiring software entrepreneurs across Africa

September 13, 2018 in Events, News, Opportunity

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:

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

About MEST

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.

Women Innovators honoured at the MTN Women in ICT – Partnership for Change Awards

August 31, 2018 in Advocacy, Awards, News, sponsored blog, Women in Tech

MTN WIICT Winners From Left to Right Tebatso Moape (Graduate Recognition Award) Lauren Kate Rawlins (Execellence in journalism) Mariana Kruger (CEO awards and Innovator Award) Pamela Mkhize (Leadership Recognition Awards) Lindiwe Matlali (Community Recognition Awards) Iman Malaka (SME Recognition Award).

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.”