New Founders Forum competition announced

January 25, 2019 in Entrepreneur, Founder

Founders Forum, a global community for digital and technology entrepreneurs, is giving start-ups the chance to pitch their business ideas on the future of air travel.  On June 12, with support from British Airways, a panel of leading investors and CEOs will be 30,000 feet in the sky while ideas are pitched from the ground via on-board WiFi.

The competition is looking for start-ups that are building next generation travel tech products or services which have the potential to transform customers’ air travel experiences through innovative technology solutions. The competition is open now and full details to enter are available at https://thefutureofflying.com/?forum=founders .

Entries will be whittled down to a shortlist of businesses that will face a unique challenge of pitching from the ground to judges on board a British Airways aircraft full of leading investors and CEOs. Entrants will take part in a live question and answer session using the airline’s inflight new WiFi all while the aircraft is 30,000 feet over the Atlantic.

British Airways is introducing industry-leading streaming WiFi on its long-haul flights. It currently has more than 50 aircraft with this service, and 80 per cent of the airline’s 134-strong long-haul fleet will be fitted by the end of 2020. The airline’s entire short-haul fleet will be WiFi enabled by summer 2019, all part of British Airways’ £6.5bn investment for customers.

Alex Cruz, Chairman and CEO of British Airways, said: “The competition, which ties in closely with our centenary activity looking to the future of flight, is a unique opportunity for some of the most innovative start-ups to put forward their ideas for travel in the future. We’re excited to be supporting Founders Forum in the pitch process, which is set to be an exciting challenge using our inflight WiFi.”

Greg Kennaugh, Chief Operating Officer of Founders Forum, said: “We are thrilled to be hosting this competition, fostering new ways of thinking about travel and directly supporting early-stage entrepreneurs to showcase their ideas to a community of leaders in digital. Connecting seasoned West Coast investors with the most promising European talent midflight on their way to our event is a new milestone for Founders Forum and we are delighted to work with British Airways to deliver this unique initiative.”

The top three finalists selected on board will be invited to attend Founders Forum London on June 13, 2019, to pitch in person to a judging panel of top CEOs.

The lucky winner will receive 100,000 On Business points in British Airways’ business loyalty programme, equivalent to four return flights in World Traveller Plus (long-haul premium economy) to New York (JFK) from London Heathrow. The prize also includes 100,000 Avios, a profile in Business Life magazine, a presentation at the Founders Forum London event attend by hundreds of investors and a business meeting with Brent Hoberman founder of lastminute.com and the Founders network.

Woman in Tech of the Month: Lisa Nokulunga Bhembe

November 6, 2018 in Business development, Director, Profiles, Woman of the Month

Name: Ms Lisa Nokulunga Bhembe

Designation: Business Development Director

Company: Zeal Point (Pty) Ltd

What do you do every day?
Business development. Basically getting clients for the business and maintaining relations with our current clients. I also motivate my staff to aspire to be more and do more.

How did you get into the tech space?
I have always been a very inquisitive and a goal-driven person I was always reading and seeing posts about women in male-dominated sectors and I thought to myself, wow. I could relate to that as I grew up with 2 elder brothers. I always had to fight to put my own ideas through, being told that I cannot do certain things because they were known to be done by men. What a life, right! I was inspired by reading the posts of these women who were making a change in different sectors. I decided to start my own company in the ICT Industry that will design, plan, develop and maintain fibre infrastructure.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Be bold, Be kind but above all, be…

What advice would you given someone wanting to get into the tech sector?
My advice to women who are passionate about tech would be, do it! They might hate you for it, it won’t be easy but its all worth it. Take that course, Start that company, Be the Legacy!!

What motivates you to get out of bed everyday?
My mother, who has always been there for me. Who understood and believed in me before everyone else did plus working towards closing a deal each and everyday gets me excited.

Who do you want to be when you grow up?
I want to be the woman that young girls can look up to and say, if she did it I surely can.

Twitter handle: @LisaBhembe
LinkedIn: Lisa Nokulunga Bhembe

Woman in Tech of the Month: Maureen Grosvenor

October 2, 2018 in Business development, Director, Profiles, Woman of the Month

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

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.”

Women in Tech Series 2 – Overcoming the odds with determination and drive

August 30, 2018 in Enterprise, IT, Women in Tech

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 August meet up

August 28, 2018 in Events, Women in Tech

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!

Date: 30 August
Time: 5-30pm, for a 6pm start
Venue: MMI Holdings, West Avenue, Centurion 
RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/events/972863979561073/

MTN announces shortlisted candidates in MTN Women in ICT – Partnership for Change Awards

August 27, 2018 in Advocacy, Awards, News, sponsored blog, Women in Tech

After days of reviewing hundreds of nominations for this year’s MTN Women in ICT – Partnership for Change Awards. The adjudication panel has shortlisted the top three entries that will be competing in their respective categories for the top accolades.

The MTN Women in ICT – Partnership for Change Awards is a platform that recognises, honours and celebrates the contribution made by women professionals to the growth and development of the information and communications technology (ICT) sector in South Africa.

The top three nominees in each category are as follows:

Leadership Recognition Award: recognises senior female executives in the ICT sector whose proven depth of experience in leading change, influencing business outcomes and leading teams has impacted positively on the organisations they lead. The shortlisted candidates are:

  1. Christi Maherry
  2. Pamela Mkhize
  3. Mariana Kruger

Innovator Recognition Award: recognises women who have introduced new methods, ideas, or products that are contributing in one way or the other to the delivery of a bold, new, digital world. The shortlisted candidates are:

  1. Marlize Holtz
  2. Mariana Kruger
  3. Hlengiwe Mazibuko

SME Recognition Award: recognises wholly-owned, women-run enterprises that are viable businesses making inroads in the ICT sector. This is also extended to MTN employees who run their own enterprises on the side, using ICT to enable their businesses. The shortlisted candidates are:

  1. Seshni Doorsamy
  2. Nisha Maharaj
  3. Iman Malaka

Community Builder Recognition Award: recognises a woman who has made a considerable difference in her community through ICT, or use of an ICT tool to make a difference in the community. The shortlisted candidates are:

  1. Zandile Keebine
  2. Lee-Anne Wyman
  3. Lindiwe Matlali

Lifetime Achiever Recognition Award (Women Pioneer): recognises a woman who has longstanding success in the ICT industry, has demonstrated a remarkable entrepreneurial spirit, and has continually stayed ahead of the curve. The shortlisted candidates in this category are:

  1. Santie Botha
  2. Loren Braithwaite-Kabosha
  3. Joan Joffe

Excellence in ICT Journalism Award: this category seeks to recognise a journalist who has contributed immensely to creating a better understanding of the ICT industry through her reporting. The shortlisted candidates are:

  1. Yolandi Booyens
  2. Lauren Kate Rawlins
  3. Michelle Constant

Graduate Award (Tertiary): this category recognises a top ICT graduate from a tertiary institution who finished top of her class.  The shortlisted candidates are:

  1. Elizabeth Bekker
  2. Tebatso Moape
  3. Retselisitsoe Lejaha

CEO’s Award: this award recognises an MTN employee who has made a difference within the organisation with the use of ICT and Technology. The shortlisted candidates are:

  1. Mapula Bodibe
  2. Mariana Kruger
  3. Nomaciko Ngoasheng

In addition to the categories listed above, a significant woman, whose contribution has helped to facilitate access to telecommunication services, will be announced by the Minister of Communications, Nomvula Mokonyane.

Says Jacqui O’Sullivan, Executive Corporate Affairs at MTN SA: “We are pleased with quality of entries received and grateful for the sterling work done by our adjudicators”.

The adjudication process was audited by BDO auditors, winners will be announced at a gala event that will be hosted in Johannesburg on 30 August.  Remember to follow the conversation on Twitter: #MTNWIICT2018.

Women in Tech video series 1 – Rising Above

August 24, 2018 in Enterprise, IT, Women in Tech

It’s Women’s Month, and Women in Tech ZA is once again hosting a video series showcasing the ladies of Dell EMC, hosted by our own Samantha Perry.

The first episode can be viewed here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCpdg2xettk&t=4s

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 eight of the extraordinary women who work in its South African operations.

Emogene Smith, Khulisa Academy co-ordinator, Dell EMC is a single mom to three boys, and the survivor of an abusive relationship. One she was able to walk away from, she says, partly due to the support she got from her boss and colleagues.

“It took some time for me to get to grips, to tell everyone, and speak out. Speaking out is one of the first steps you need to do, and to take a stand,” she says.

Her children, and the need to get them out of a fearful situation, motivated her to make that stand and take those steps.

Reagile Mosaka, account executive, Dell EMC, experienced a different struggle. Born under the Apartheid regime, her father chose to register his children as coloured in order to give them what advantages that could. Named Susan Morgan during her early life, 1994 gave her the courage to reclaim her real name and surname.

She says she felt like she had a different identity at work, and at home and that it was only after school when she reclaimed her name that she could unite those parts of herself, and be the real Reagile.

For both of them, the technology world offers a place they can play to their strengths. For Emogene that is in nurturing the school-age children they take through the Khulisa Academy, which takes children from rural areas with no opportunity to study, teaches them high-performance computing and then finds them jobs. For Reagile, she gets to explore transformation, education, and empowerment, all topics close to her heart and her personal journey.

Helping Dell EMC’s women play to those strengths is the Women in Action Employee Resource Group (ERG). Sabine Dedering regional sales director at Dell EMC, says Women in Action was born out of the idea that both men and women in the IT sector would like to be able to support their colleagues, and help to nurture the next generation of ICT skills through networking and outreach in the community. The ERG hosts regular meetings, including mentoring match-making to connect mentors and mentees inside Dell EMC, and working with colleagues and girls in nearby communities to help them overcome the social stigmas around girls and women being able to do maths and science, and what the tech sector offers them.