A Woman’s Worth – DigitalAgeConversations

       A Woman’s Worth – DigitalAgeConversations by Edith Utete ( Zimbabwe Chapter Lead WITA)

ventures

 

Please also pay special attention to women. Women care for the other people much more than men. Men care for themselves. Women are going to be very powerful in the 21st century because last century people compared muscle; this century people compare wisdom. Hire as many women as possible – this is what we did and this is the secret sauce.”

  • Jack Ma on one of Alibaba’s successes

 

Lately, if you are like me (fixated with all things tech) you will find that there has been a lot of talk about the role and participation of women in the tech space, at tech conferences – in the audience and on the panels, in the workplace and at school and in all things STEM related. You would have also probably heard responses to calls for equal opportunities for women being met with responses like, “What’s stopping them?”, “Who’s stopping them?” and “There is a discrepancy?” While I have a lot of personal and intense opinions about the matter and such responses, I will start by being as level headed as I can be, under the circumstances, and do what I consider to be the most rational thing, which is to share some interesting information that I have come across.

 

Contrary to the comments that there is no discrepancy in terms of gender balances in tech, research continues to show that there is apparent lack of gender diversity. In the US women hold 25 per cent of jobs in tech and only 14 per cent are in architecture and engineering roles while the ratio is even smaller in leadership positions and innovative roles. The percentage of women in Computing occupations has significantly declined since 1991. Some of the reasons for the exodus of women in tech according to a 2016 survey, included nature of the workplace as a central factor, poor prospects of development and advancement, inadequate support, exclusion from innovative roles, unequal pay and benefits (or distorted benefits in favour of male counterparts or subordinates – true story, I had this experience once upon a time) and lack of flexibility to help them balance work and personal responsibilities.

 

Why does diversity matter? Besides the clear example given of a successful company, Alibaba, in my prelude, research has shown that balanced teams are more innovative and efficient. There is improved and diverse creativity, problem-solving and productivity and companies are provided with larger talent pools. Another bonus of having a diverse gender balance is that companies are able to attract and retain female clients by providing solutions to female pain points.

 

Now! Now that we have got that out of the way and just in case we still have someone asking the questions that gave me an itch in unreachable places I will now turn to another matter…. that of the girls or women who ARE actually in the tech space in one way or the other. I have had the opportunity and privilege of meeting and inquiring about the whys, whens and hows with quite a number of these amazing and brilliant women but some issues that they brought up made me realise why so many younger women and girls would be discouraged or afraid of entering the tech industry.

 

For starters in my world, and I have picked up that this is the case in most parts of the world, being techie (or a tech geek/genius) requires you to be super intelligent and unfortunately  most girls do not feel or are made to believe that they do not fit that description. We have been boxing potential and ability based on gender so much that STEM subjects are generally perceived and accepted to be the male only domain. So! When, in those rare moments, a girl ventures into the unknown territory of super intelligent beings the first instinct is to become one of the boys.  Why? So that she can be accepted, respected and in order to squarely fit in. Suddenly, a woman feels or is made to feel that she has to lose her “femininity”. I can definitely relate to this having been in male dominated environments in many seasons of my life – from growing up in a pre-dominantly male environment, to having very strongly influential men in the form of father, uncles, brothers, friends and peers that I adored and looked up to, to working in male dominated industries where women were usually very few at the boardroom table or in management positions. I remember putting away my makeup, precious heels, brightly coloured clothes and sweet smelling perfume all in a bid to fit in and to be taken seriously. This was after MANY reminders from friends, family and colleagues that I had to tone it down otherwise I would never be taken seriously, valued or considered the formidable team player that I believed myself to be. Sadly, this shift neither made me liked, respected nor valued to the extent that I envisaged and to many I remained the young girl who thinks too highly of herself.

 

I have also heard how being a “cool girl” in the tech world requires that you be able to keep up with the team (aka the boys). One interesting observation that I picked up from Sarah Stockdale in “The myth of the ‘cool tech girl’ And why she’s dangerous”, is that, “The cool girl in tech plays ping pong, drinks beer at work, is “one of the guys”, participates in inappropriate slack .gif threads, says things like “she’s overreacting”, “I don’t consider myself a feminist, I just work hard”, “I’ve never experienced discrimination at work”. The cool girl doesn’t call out sexist remarks, she laughs at your “jokes”, she defends you to other women, and helps silence them. The cool girl is ‘one of the boys’.”

 

Unfortunately, as Sarah points out, the “cool tech girl” is a myth and a mere coping mechanism, not a real person. She is the product of environments which do not feel safe for women, which force women “to cope by reflecting the patriarchal norms that oppress them – like a warped funhouse mirror.” It has been said that, “If you don’t feel safe to be yourself, you’ll find someone safe to be.” When I have used this phrase some have responded by saying, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” or “If you cannot stand the heat get out of the kitchen.” So sadly, most sisters are faced with only two options, to fit in or to head out! And the sadder consequence of their actions is that future female contributors to this amazing industry end up feeling intimidated and opt to keep out of the “kitchen” from the onset.

 

I have countless examples that make women feel unsafe in the tech space – from the Uber board member who made sexist comments about women on boards to the local cases that I have encountered in the practice of the law and as a female STEM mentor, of sexual harassment and inappropriate remarks on social media or in the workplace. Fortunately, instead of merely whining about these issues, I have also managed to pick up some possible solutions to them:

 

  1. Mentoring of young (and even older) women in tech

 

The call that has often been made in most cases have been for more female mentors to avail themselves to younger women by sharing experiences (successes and failures, wins and errors), BEING VISIBLE (so that other women and girls can SEE that they will not be alone), and raising their voices to encourage younger generations to join them as well as male counterparts to accept them as they are.

 

Sarah Stockdale proposes that women in tech; “Be a role model of how you can lead a successful career while supporting women… Challenge the people around you to get better and do better… The more women feel empowered and supported, the less we’ll need this harmful persona.”

 

As part of the Xennials generation (those people who came into the tech boom in our 20s and had a childhood free of social media) I also feel that while we can be mentors we are also in need of mentoring even by the younger generations, the Millenials (those who were born into and live and breathe tech). All generations have something of value to share so we need to explore how best we can combine our “super powers” for the greater good.

 

  1. Dealing with Sexual Harassment cases head on

 

It always breaks my heart when I come across numerous cases of sexual harassment where, instead of getting assistance, the “victim” ends up feeling like they should have kept their grievance to themselves because reporting such cases often leads to intimidation and further victimisation. Sometimes it is subtle such as being subjected to unfavourable working conditions or more obvious ways such as non renewal of work contracts or transfers to less favourable environments. What we can do in these cases is to take ALL reported (and non-formally reported) cases of sexual harassment seriously and to deal professionally and timeously with them.

 

Sarah suggests that we, “Challenge corporate norms and values that can lead to sexist nonsense. If one of your corporate values is “aggressiveness”, start there.” A contributor named Stormy also added that it is important to back up the people who do speak up when there are inappropriate ‘casual’ jokes or comments. And that it can be done privately if publicity is not your thing. Women should not be made to feel like they are ‘uptight’, ‘emotional’, ‘overly sensitive’ and cannot handle a ‘joke’.  The ones who speak up should also not be labelled ‘scary’, ‘difficult’, ‘annoying’ and ‘over reactionary’.

 

In addition, Rui Mai points out that, “… to avoid any sort of confrontation or conversation about it because to say anything is just automatically equated to complaining and weakness. When it’s precisely the opposite. It takes courage to speak up. Strong girls speak up. Cool girls speak up.”

 

  1. Addressing the “Bro-culture”

 

Sarah states that, “If your company doesn’t perpetuate the kind of culture that makes women feel like they need to be ‘one of the boys’, they won’t need the coping mechanism of the ‘cool tech girl’.” Some companies invariably prefer to hire someone that they can easily relate to or someone that they can ‘have a beer with’. This immediately discards women who are pregnant, trying to get pregnant, breastfeeding, of a particular religious or health standing and anyone who personally is neither a socialite nor a beer or alcohol drinker. Mothers, religious staunches and recovering alcoholics become the wrong fit in the ‘bro-culture’ environment according to Ryan Mitchell’s analysis.

 

On the other hand, Nikki J. North makes a valid point in that what we should focus on is not enabling sexism. The so called ‘bro-culture’ may just be what some females are comfortable with and appreciate because… after all we are all INDIVIDUALS. My thoughts on this are that while it is obviously impossible if not absolutely ridiculous to expect a culture or environment that suits everyone comfortably, from where I’m standing, when at work we should all be valued for our different contributions no matter what shape and form they take as long as our performance ultimately promotes the company’s standing in the marketplace despite our personal tastes and preferences. To be made to feel less valuable or an improper fit because of one’s beliefs, preferences, age or sex is an absolute No! No! And any practices that do not promote retention or attraction of women into their industry of choice should be re-evaluated with a progressive mindset. A possible solution would be to make an attempt to accommodate everyone (based on skill, competency, merit) without being too one sided towards one particular sex.

 

  1. Promote development across the board

 

There will be need to build programs to train and grow female associates that leverage their technical and innovative skill sets. Women and men need equal opportunities to grow and thrive.

 

  1. Re-assess job roles

 

In my experience as a labour lawyer and consultant one of the reasons that cause women to leave seemingly promising careers is that women are consciously or sub-consciously assigned projects that are execution oriented as opposed to creative and innovative roles. Even where women are in leadership or strategic roles their input is not given the same weight at the table in contributing to the strategic development of key products and business goals. It would be helpful to assign projects without employing any gender or age biases and assessments can be made thereafter.

 

  1. Recognize and acknowledge

 

The contributions of both men and women should receive the same weight and be recognized and highlighted in the same measure.

 

  1. Recruitment and hiring practices free from prejudice

 

I suppose it goes without saying that in today’s enlightened and advanced world job postings and hiring practices should have gender neutral approaches and descriptions and yet I have experienced and so have some of my peers and clients, the clear prejudice in recruitment by some companies based on gender and the perceived limitations that come with being female. I specifically remember when I was younger being asked at the third interview in one company how many children I had, if I had reliable child care, if I planned on having more children in the near future and a whole host of other inappropriate and irrelevant questions which were designed to ascertain my ‘suitability’ for that particular environment. Having a mixed gender interview panel or team is also recommended.

 

  1. Retention and advancement

 

It has been recommended that evaluation of performance be done on an equal and objective basis not based on personality or gender. There should be “constructive feedback and clear yet challenging goals to maximize associate development.” (Insights provided by Jodi Goglin in an article titled: “Women Are Opting Out of IT, Here’s How to Bring Them Back”).

 

In conclusion, I would like to point out that while women opt into or out of tech jobs for different and unique reasons, and that while pursuing a tech career can largely be considered an option, the reality is not as simple as it may seem. We still have, in local and global cases, women and girls who are not privileged to have the options, who are discouraged by different factors from pursuing their passions, who feel unworthy or incapable of competing in that space, who lack self confidence or information, who do not have visible role models or mentors, who are not given fair and equal opportunities from the word go, who are subjected to unfavourable or sexist cultures and environments, who are not recognized or valued for their contributions and who are given less creative, innovative and “worthy” roles. There is still need to take a bit more interest in the issues raised as opposed to the dismissive and demeaning undertones that usually accompany the discussions on a “Woman’s Worth” in the workplace. These mindset and attitude shifts will certainly assist companies to succeed and reach a wider market for the greater good.

The Growth of Mobile Money in Malawi

The Growth of Mobile Money in Malawi

Mobile money is the currency stored in one’s mobile phone. Typically, a customer would bring money to a local agent who would deposit the money into the customer’s mobile phone in the form of mobile money. These agents are also able to withdraw money from a customer’s phone and provide cash. The agents often are local shopkeepers or just phone credit vendors who are trained by the mobile company providing the services.

Over the past 4 years, Malawi, a country where an overwhelming majority of the population lives in the rural areas has enjoyed and experienced the benefits of the Mobile Money services. This is so because 55% of Malawians do not have access to any form of financial institution and only 19% of the total population have formal bank accounts. Since bank accounts are so scarce, mobile money offers an accessible alternative for safely depositing, withdrawing, transferring and even saving money. Apart from bank accounts being scarce, most of the local people especially those who do not have a very good education background find it very difficult to open a formal bank account because of the requirements and language barriers since most of the banks use English for their various processes.

Mobile money has made it so easy for such locals to have a less involving alternative to these formal banks by having less requirements to attain the service and using local agents who easily explain the whole procedure to those who would want to use mobile money. Not only this but also the companies providing the mobile money service usually have Mobile Money Accelerator programs which raise awareness and the importance of using Mobile money services. These usually take place in the rural areas where one would not find a bank. So far in Malawi office projects for these programmes have been established in the rural parts of Mchinji and Lilongwe in the central region, Rumphi in the northern side and Blantyre in the southern part.

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Furthermore with Mobile Money, one does not need to have an identity card or any other authentication requirement to have a mobile money account unlike the banks. All these factors put together, have made the mobile money service to be accepted and used by a good number of people in Malawi especially those who run small businesses in rural areas but cannot have access to a formal bank account. People involved in these small businesses who are mostly women are now able to have a safe place where their money can be stored and saved without having to go through a tedious process. Currently, at least 1.5 million Malawians use the Mobile Money service as compared to the 1.2 million people who are using formal banks. This clearly shows that there is a fast adoption and rapid growth of the mobile money service in Malawi.

Even though Mobile Money usage in Malawi is growing and being accepted, there are still some challenges which are hindering its growth. Firstly, there are only two of such services; “Mpamba” (money in the context of capital) provided by Telecom Network Malawi (TNM) and “khusa mmanja” (money in the hands) which is also provided by Airtel Malawi. This increases a lot of down time for the service due to request congestions caused by so many users wanting to access the service at the same time. As a result, some users of the service feel discouraged thinking that it does not really work and as such they end up not wanting to use the service and withdraw their money out of frustration. To solve this, there is the need for the appropriate authorities to encourage more service providers to reduce these congestions and alleviate the frustrations

Secondly, the agent network involved in the mobile money service is very small. Right now, there are only at least 10,000 agents involved in this business. This is because the commission involved is very low and demotivating to other interested would be agents. Hence, to have a great community of agents to spread and bring the gospel of Mobile Money service, there is the need to have a good raise in commissions. Otherwise, it would be difficult for the Mobile Money service to be taken to all parts of Malawi.

Lastly, if mobile money service is to continue growing at a good rate in Malawi then it would be very essential to review and change the pricing, transaction costs and how they are affecting client and agent behaviour. Most especially, attention must be given to the model of charging per transaction as the current status is often a disincentive.

Profile of Writer Bridget Nyirongo, Malawi.
Bridget Nyirongo is a young Malawian female Computer Scientist (Software Developer)
passionate about using her technical expertise to see and realise a high
representation of females in the male dominated field of Information and
Communication Technology(ICT) in Africa. Since 2012, she has been working as the Assistant Systems Engineer (software development) for the University of Malawi, Chancellor College ICT Centre . She has technical expertise in Computer Programming (Ruby on Rails, PHP, HTML,JavaScript, HAML), Software refactoring, Plugin development for ECLIPSE IDE, database administration (MySQL, SQL), and Networking (LAN, WAN). During her free time she likes baking, reading inspirational articles or books and swimming.

REFERENCE

1. Kenneth Mbewe, The Oracle News, June, 2014.

2. Carrie Hasselback, Technology for Economic Growth: How Mobile Money Expands Financial
Inclusion in Malawi, FHI Project.

3. Charles Simango, the Malawi Nation News, February, 2015.

4. Sunduzwayo Madise. Payment Systems and Mobile Money in Malawi: Towards Financial Inclusion
and Financial Integrity. University of Malawi, November 2014.

6 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF BEFORE BUYING NEW TECHNOLOGY FOR YOUR BUSINESS

6 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF BEFORE BUYING NEW TECHNOLOGY FOR YOUR BUSINESS

Deciding which new technology to buy for one’s business is always a daunting task. Especially when you do not have much technical expertise with the many different technologies out there. These technologies can range from different types of software or hardware. The influx of technologies requires a buyer to seek the answers to certain salient questions prior to purchasing. Hence whatever decision that is made must be well informed.

Business owners must seek the answers to the seven (7) questions below before investing in any new technology for their business:

1. Which parts of your business need the technology?
Ask yourself; which part(s) of my business really need(s) the technology in order for the company to work better?
Knowing the exact part(s) of the business which needs the technology will prevent you from wasting money. This might be the case if in your business there are some processes which are done manually such that you spend much of your time doing these tasks, for example; report writing, stock taking, business trend analysis and the like. In this case to reduce the amount of time to complete a task, you might consider purchasing soft wares that are automated and speed up these business processes hence, saving you time and money.

Also note that if a technology you desire to purchase would be rarely used in your business, then avoid purchasing it since there wouldn’t be any or little returns on investments.

2. How does it work?
Knowing how to operate the technology you desire to purchase is extremely important. Understanding the functionalities of the technology and the benefits it brings to your business processes is paramount to your purchasing decision. You will need to ask yourself; ‘is the technology easy to learn? Do I and my staff need a special training on the technology prior it purchase? You will need to factor the cost component on any training and under cost that comes with understanding and knowing how to operate it before making a decision to purchase.

3. What are the indirect costs of this technology?
Usually, when buying new technology, one is tempted to only consider the capital cost of the technology and little attention is given to the total costs of ownership during the life time of the technology. These indirect costs may include; maintenance costs, additional support for the technology.

You might relate to this situation where you are purchasing a software system for your business and the software vendor is the only one who knows the technicalities of the software. The vendor becomes the sole repository of the maintenance know-how of the technology and takes advantage to charge throat cutting prices. Certainly this would be very costly and might adversely affect your bottom-line.

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Even though this is a crucial question to ask, getting the accurate feedback to make an informed decision on purchasing the new technology often becomes stressful. Vendors of the said technology rarely provide all the needed information to the question. A good number of people purchasing the technology would only discover these costs after the actual purchase. Try to do more of online research on the technology. The internet has made it possible to solicit a lot of information on any product or service. Also, speak to an array of IT professionals who might readily provide the needed information.

4. How often will the technology change?
It is believed that technology changes every six months. Prior to purchasing any new technology, ask yourself; ‘How soon will this technology become obsolete? How soon will there be an upgrade? Is the version I am purchasing the latest? For instance, users of Microsoft would clearly see that their soft wares keeps on evolving. It was then Windows XP and its now Windows 10
These technological changes makes it very difficult to take a decision on purchasing technologies. More so, the questions of whether to buy a completely new one or to upgrade the existing one often becomes a dilemma. Mostly, the right decision to make will depend on the type of technology you desire.

5. How will the new technology make or save money for your business?

Any new technology that is decided on should always be in sync with your business strategies. The new technology adopted must align with the business strategies of your firm to ensure high revenue and profit generation.

Always analyze the new technology to understand how it enhances your business strategies. If the two do not sync, you will be wasting your time and money purchasing a technology that wouldn’t benefit your business operations. However if a technology investment will improve the efficiency of operations then it is worth it.

6. How long is the payback period?

The duration for returns on investments is very critical. It is important to clearly consider the length of time required to recover the cost of technological investment.
They payback period of any investment is a very important determinant of whether purchase a new technology. Often technologies with longer payback periods are typically not desirable but they are often worth it.

Brief Profile of Writer” Bridget Nyirongo, Malawi.

Bridget Nyirongo is a young Malawian female Computer Scientist (Software Developer)
passionate about using her technical expertise to see and realise a high
representation of females in the male dominated field of Information and
Communication Technology(ICT) in Africa. Since 2012, she has been working as the Assistant Systems Engineer (software development) for the University of Malawi, Chancellor College ICT Centre . She has technical expertise in Computer Programming (Ruby on Rails, PHP, HTML,JavaScript, HAML), Software refactoring, Plugin development for ECLIPSE IDE, database administration (MySQL, SQL), and Networking (LAN, WAN). During her free time she likes baking, reading inspirational articles or books and swimming.

REFERENCE
1. www.businesszone.co.uk/do/people/five-questions-to-ask-before-buying-new-tech
2. http://katecarruthers.com/2010/02/7-questions-business-technology
3. www.investopedia.com/terms/p/paybackperiod.asp

Women in Tech Africa in partnership with Africa Technology Business Network launch Business Innovation Lab Pilot Project

 

20th November 2016

 

“ Tech Innovation lab for women launches in Ghana”

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The African Women Innovators Network :An initiative of the UK-based Africa Technology Business Network (ATBN) in partnership with Women in Tech Africa– the first Business Innovation Lab will take place in Ghana from January to March 2017. It will see 30 women innovators undergo a two-day innovation bootcamp giving them the tools and opportunity to work together to develop their business ideas.

This will be followed by a six-week mentorship period where selected participants will have a unique opportunity to work with other founders and tech enthusiasts across the world, building a global network of valuable contacts in the process.

 

Finally the programme will culminate in a Demo Day on 8th March where finalists will have an opportunity to pitch their innovative ideas for a chance to win seed funding and three months of dedicated support to help them launch their business.

Speaking on the initiative, Eunice Baguma Ball founder ATBN said “Technology startups in Africa are a rapidly growing sector, with an emerging innovation-driven ecosystem that is serving a growing consumer base and helping to create local solutions to social challenges. The Business Innovation Lab will put women at the forefront of contributing to innovation on the continent and empower them to building a better future not only for themselves but also for other women and girls in Africa”.

Ethel Cofie founder Women in Tech Africa added “Supporting women entrepreneurs is imperative for economic growth in Africa. We are therefore delighted to be part of this collaboration dedicated to supporting female entrepreneurs to succeed across Africa

Applications are now open for the Business Innovation Lab Ghana! Apply here: http://www.awinafrica.org

Notes to Editors:

 

About the African Women Innovators Network

The African Women Innovators network is an initiative of the Africa Technology Business Network working in partnership with Ghana-based Women in Tech Africa and is funded by Comic Relief and DFID under the Common Ground Initiative fund.

 

About Africa Technology Business Network

The Africa Technology Business Network (ATBN) is a social enterprise working to support technology and entrepreneurship as tools for addressing key challenges in Africa.

We work with entrepreneurs, organisations and investors to accelerate innovative solutions that unlock new market opportunities and help to drive sustainable development in Africa. Visit www.africatbn.com to learn more.

 

About Women in Tech Africa:

Women in Tech Africa is a pan-African network of women in over 30 countries that is dedicated to supporting African women to leverage technology to positively impact their communities. Visit www.womenintechafrica.com to learn more.

 

 

Erik Hersman will deliver the keynote address at Africa Tech Summit London

 

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Press Release

 

London, UK, September 8th, 2016

 

Africa Tech Summit London announces Erik Hersman as keynote speaker for 2016

 

Today, Africa Tech Summit London has announced its keynote address and speaker line up for the event bringing together technology leaders from across Africa and Europe, international investors, entrepreneurs and leading African start-ups.

 

This year’s visionary keynote address will be given by Erik Hersman, leading entrepreneur and technologist focused on advancing the use of technology in Africa.

 

“We are delighted and honoured to announce Erik Hersman as our keynote for his unparalleled vision, passion, and contribution to the African tech ecosystem” says Andrew Fassnidge, co-organiser of Africa Tech Summit London.

 

Erik is the CEO of BRCK, a rugged wireless WiFi device designed and engineered in Kenya for use throughout the emerging markets. In 2010 he founded the iHub, Nairobi’s innovation hub for the technology community, bringing together entrepreneurs, hackers, designers and the investment community.

 

He is also a co-founder of Ushahidi, the free and open source software for crowdsourcing crisis information, and also established afrigadget.com and whiteafrican.com and is general partner in the Savannah Fund.

 

“Erik has been the driving force behind so many key initiatives that have put African technology on the global stage, encouraging inward investment and inspiring an ecosystem of start-ups and techies who are now building Africa’s future through technology. His passion and optimism for Africa are exactly what the Africa Tech Summit London is all about.”

 

This exclusive apply to attend Summit organised by Appsafrica.com, South Africa DTI and AllAmber is supported by Linklaters LLP, LeapFrog Investments, Mobi Hunter and Analyse Africa. The event will be hosted by the South African Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) at the SA High Commission in London.

 

“The DTI is committed to promoting innovation and development across the continent of Africa, not in South Africa alone,” says Thobile Mazibuko, DTI Economic Counsellor at the South African High Commission.

 

“We look forward to welcoming those who wish to see Africa realise its considerable potential in the tech space”.

 

The event will host 20+ expert speakers including Vodafone Group, Atlas Mara, Opera Software, Nest.VC, VC4Africa, ABAN, Singularity Investments, Worldreader, Bitpesa, The Bandwidth Barn, SimbaPay, Big Cabal Media, Balancing Act, What3words, WeFarm, HotelOga, Fintech Circle Innovate and other leading ventures providing attendees with the latest insight on mobile innovation, fintech and investment opportunities across the continent.

 

  • Ends –

 

 

About Appsafrica.com

 

AppsAfrica.com is a leading pan-African technology news portal and advisory service, dedicated to delivering the latest insight on mobile, tech and innovation in Africa. AppsAfrica Advisory provides strategic, tactical and operational Africa advisory services for mobile and tech ventures planning to launch or expand in Sub-Saharan Africa with a team of experienced advisors.

 

About the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)

The South African Department of Trade and Industry based at the SA High Commission in London oversees the bilateral trade and investment relationship between the UK and South Africa. The DTI actively promotes FDI into priority sectors of the South African economy, and seeks to provide access for South African exports to the UK.

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Andrew Fassnidge

Appsafrica.com / Africatechsummit.com

Email: andrew@appsafrica.com

www.appsafrica.com / www.africatechsummit.com

 

Lyndsey Duff

DTI Inward Investment, South African High Commission UK

Email: lyndsey@sadti.co.uk

www.thedti.gov.za

 

 

ORGANISE YOUR EVENT – WOMEN IN TECH WEEK

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The internationally recognized largest women’s group in Africa, Women in Tech Africa (WITA) is organizing its annual Women in Tech Week event, this September, from 26th – 30th September. The week-long event is simultaneously taking place in 40 countries with 400 event tracks with over 40,000 participants and over 400,000 social media impressions. Sponsors include  SAP, EDEL Technology Consulting,WeCreate Kenya, ISpace Foundation, Kawa Moka

 

The Women in Tech Week, is a great opportunity to put your organization at the epicenter of innovators in all industries in your community and country as a whole.
The 5-day event is bringing together women all over the world to discuss and share ideas on 5 thematic areas;

 

• Theme:  Technology Day – DAY 1
• Theme:  Leadership Day – DAY 2
• Theme:   Entrepreneur Day – DAY 3
• Theme: Work – Life Day – DAY 4
• Theme: Talent Day – DAY 5
 

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This year, we are giving individuals and organizations across Africa unique opportunities to promote their brands and works through our numerous international platforms with the aims of them

 

• Becoming visible for growth or connect with ecosystems for your company.
• Getting in front of potential new hires.
• Getting in front of potential new leads.
• Supporting the Women in Tech ecosystem.
• Positioning their organization as supporting female leadership in Africa

 

WHY YOU SHOULD ORGANIZE AN EVENT
• Your city and logo listed on the Women In Tech Week directory on the landing page; www.womenintechafrica.com/events)
• Women in Tech Week logos and brand guidelines
• A digital toolkit with helpful hints and best practices on how to best organize your event.
• Your event will be promoted to our global community including email subscribers.

 

As an organizer, you are at will to have your own theme which will have to be defended or chose a theme around any of our thematic list above. You are also at liberty to organize more than one event.
Kindly note that, all themes and events should have a strategic bearing on women or children advocacy in all fields of endeavor especially, technology.

 

Please find below instructions on how to create the event, once you are done, we will publish it to help boost attendance during the day.

 

EVENT CREATION GUIDELINES
• All events must be created and managed via the women in tech Africa website:
• Go to http://www.techweek.womenintechafrica.com/wp-login.php?action=register to Register for an account,
• You will be approved in 24 hrs. and receive an email with login details.
• Login with the password and email go to http://www.techweek.womenintechafrica.com/wp-login.php
• Once logged in you will find on the dashboard, with the ability to add events. ( http://wp-events-plugin.com/documentation/getting-started-guide/)
• All the events once created will go into pending approval.
• Someone from my team will approve within 5 days and people can book to attend events from the site

 

After you are approved and logged on:
1. Click on the events button under the dashboard
2. Click add new event
3. Fill the fields provided for the event details
4. Save for approval and publication
In case of any difficulties please send an email to gloria.dogbey@edelitconsult.com or partnership@womenintechafrica.com
Thank you

 

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Press Release: Entries Open For The Appsafrica.com Innovation Awards 2016

 

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The Appsafrica.com Innovation Awards celebrate the best in mobile and tech from across Africa, and entries are now open to find the best innovations across the continent for 2016.

Following the success of last year’s Awards which celebrated 10 winners from over 200 entries across 21 countries, the Awards return to Cape Town in association with Mobile Monday South Africa, Mobile Ecosystem Forum and the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) and winners will be announced on November 14th.

10  Categories

Appsafrica.com welcomes applications in 10 categories from ventures who can clearly demonstrate innovation using mobile or technology to meet the needs of any African market(s)

  • Disruptive Innovation Award
  • Best Social & Messaging Award
  • Best African App Award
  • Enterprise Solution Award
  • News & Entertainment Award
  • Educational Award
  • Fintech Award
  • Social Impact Award
  • Brand On Mobile Award
  • Women In Tech Award  

Why enter?

The Awards celebrate the best in mobile and tech from across Africa, providing winners with global publicity across multiple channels, recognition and networking with 500+ industry peers and investors at the Awards party.

Applications will be assessed by a team of expert judges who are selected based on their knowledge, influence and contribution to the improvement of technology and business in Africa. The deadline for entries is September 10th, 2016.
The Appsafrica.com Innovation Awards finalists will be announced in October 2016. Enter now or visit www.appsafrica.com for more details.

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WITA – Ireland Meetup event  – July, 2016

On Tuesday 12 July, Women in Tech Africa held its very first meetup event in Ireland in Dublin centre, under the theme: “Women in tech: Leveraging off our potential to make a meaningful impact“. Sponsored and hosted by DogPatch Labs, an organisation which serves as a hub for technology meetups and a co-working space for growing tech startups, the event was organised in partnership with House of Akina, a social-enterprise that uses its profits to empower and support migrant women in Ireland.

The event was attended by professionals as well as students, coming from a range of technology and non technology-related backgrounds, comprised of data analysts, network & telecom engineers, software developers as well as people from a tech background who evolved their careers into business management.

Sessions began with a presentation of Women in tech Africa which highlighted the organisation’s mission and vision, and ongoing activities to empower women in tech in Africa involving also women in tech in the Diaspora to contribute to Africa’s advancement through technology.

Round table discussions on the main theme followed, seeking to address the following questions:

  • What is our potential as women in tech in the African Diaspora?
  • What is holding us back to bring in our contribution?
  • How can we make a difference ?
  • How technology can assist in achieving that?

Inspiring and impactful comments came from the discussions, including the following:

  • The Diaspora contribution should not be limited to financial remittances. Our experiences in tech and skills can be used to complement ongoing actions by people in Africa.
  • Working together is the key, together we are stronger and we can achieve great things. Meetups are an opportunity to make connections and be complementary in our potential actions.
  • Technology being one of the key drivers of Africa’s growth currently, leveraging off our expertise as women in tech to make a contribution through technology is essential.
  • The challenge for African Diaspora women in tech is to be aware of the changes ongoing in Africa when we are not physically present there. It is essential to initiate collaboration and partnerships with local organisations/tech innovators/women in tech to understand the needs and how our contribution can come in support is essential.

Discussions continued during a networking session around food and drinks kindly offered by the event sponsor.

The meetup enabled women in tech who attended:

  • To share their experiences in tech
  • To be inspired by panellists inputs and other attendees’ comments is on the main discussion
  • To network with other attendees and develop connections for potential partnership projects

The event was a great fun and the participants’ feedback were positive and encouraging. As noted one contributor : ” tomorrow starts now” for the women in tech Africa chapter in Ireland.

A coding workshop is being organised in the weeks to come, and another meetup in the last week of September during the Women in tech Africa week.

By Nicaise Ishimwe

Women In Tech Twitter chat on Career Growth

On the 15th July, we had the honors of having the CEO of Digicel Haiti Selorm Adadevoh to be our resource person for our very first  twitter chat on leadership. In case you missed the live chat. Below are the questioned we asked him and his answers. Enjoy!

  1. Tell us about your career journey and how you became the CEO of Digicel Haiti

Answer

Very long story. I started my career in the UK in 1998 for a Construction co. called Taylor Woodrow.

At the time I was a Civil Engineer but had an interest to be part of the emerging economy in IT.

I joined Tigo in Ghana to pursue my dream to be CEO.

Getting to CEO was really about delivering results as a COO

I believe strong leadership and building teams was the main driver to get to CEO.

After 3 years at Tigo I got an opportunity to join Digicel.

At Wharton, My life changed and my dream was to become CEO.

After several years building solutions for TelCos mainly, I decided to go to go do an MBA.

My career as a Technology Consultant at HP was the start of something special.

So, I quit and started looking at Technology opportunities. After a few bumps, I joined HP.

 

  1. What can one do to ensure career growth?

Answers

Tricky question I have to say

Firstly, I believe understanding the specific skills needed to move up. Not as easy as it sounds

Secondly, having a great mentor who can give you sound and objective feedback regularly.

It’s too easy to fall when obstacles show up. They will, but the more determined one finds a way.

Lastly, it’s about the individual. You have to want it enough to be determined to put in the effort.

 

  1. What opportunities or resources can one take advantage of to grow a career?

Answers

I’ve relied a lot on listening to personal stories on TedX and Harvard Business Reviews…

I’ve only invested a lot of time mtg people who have overcome similar challenges to learn from them.

A lot actually. I find that today, in trying to build teams I rely a lot on my network.

Most of my last few roles have been because I got a call from someone in my network.

 

  1. What is your take on asking for new roles in your organisation?

Answers

Personally, I don’t ask for new roles but I ask for new challenges.

To go up, you need to demonstrate capability – asking for new challenges & delivering paves the way

 

  1. How does volunteering roles help with career growth? Does it help atall

Answers

Volunteering roles could be anything you want them to be and that’s the beauty of it.

I volunteered for 3 months at an IT shop when I was determined to move into Technology

My goal was clear to learn a new trade to drive my career. I’ve also volunteered to give back

My motivation then was to contribute to the development of others. Both have played a role

Personally, I don’t ask for new roles but I ask for new challenges.

 

  1. How can one quickly become a strong contributor within an organization?

Answer

It really starts with understanding what the organization needs but also what is valued.

I find that what is valued is not always what is needed. When I have been a strong contributor

I have found that what I believe and what is valued tends to be aligned.

 

On considering values and aligning

Answer

I will agree. The alignment though depends on whether your values will support that

I have walked away a few times because I refused to align

My values were conflicted with what the organization valued

 

  1. How can one effectively take diverse roles while sticking to their career paths?

Answers

I have a concept called “optionality”. Meaning developing multiple skills to always remain relevant.

Taking diverse roles where one is developing complementary skill set prepares one for career growth.

 

  1. What is your take on the number of years one can serve in an organisation before moving on to a new job?

Answer

I’m the wrong person I think. I’ve worked for 18 years and my longest role has been 2 years

I think it will be wrong to stipulate an ideal number of years. To me, it’s about continued growth

I’ve changed roles or moved organizations to move up, never only for financial benefits.

Once you stop learning, plus you stop contributing to the growth of others, then it’s time to move on

Finally go in with no expectation and put in a lot of effort to demonstrate relevance

 

  1. Tell Us about your Leadership style and how that has helped on the journey

Answer

Personally I tend to be a development focused leader which shapes my leadership interaction

However, I’ve learnt over the years that I’m more of a visionary leader based on leadership style

That involves leading by inspiring and challenging the status quo

It also means getting people to perform close to their best through development and coaching

Leadership is something I continue to develop in, I read a lot and try out new things everyday.

In my world, leadership is dynamic and my style somewhat adapts depending on what is needed.

 

 

“To end, I will say, be sure what you believe and never compromise on it” – Selorm Adadevoh

 

 

WITA Kenya Event: How to Make the Perfect Pitch

thepitch

Women In Tech Africa Kenya Chapter Quarterly Event was held on the 30th June 2016 under the theme “Supporting our Girls and Female entrepreneurs” at the Women’s Entrepreneurial Center of Resources, Education, Access, Training for Economic Empowerment (WECREATE) Center in Nairobi which serves as an entrepreneurial community centre for women interested in starting or expanding an existing business. We partnered with NEST, an early stage venture capital firm specialising in startups developing technologies in industries such as HealthTech, FinTech and SmartCity/IoT.

 

We brought in a team of experienced panellists:

 

Jaki  Mebur : Senior Core Networks Support Engineer at Safaricom Limited and is part of Safaricom Women In Tech

 

Mary Mwangi: Co-founder, entrepreneur and CEO of Data Integrated Limited an ICT company that specializes in automating payment processing systems.

 

Melizsa Mugyenyi:  is an international development practitioner specialized in fundraising and partnership building and Director of Partnerships at Ongeza Fund. Ongeza Fund unlocks liquidity for early stage shareholders of high impact ventures in emerging markets

Caren Kakai: Project Manager at Nest.

 

 

 

Panellists: (Left-Right) Jaki Mebur, Melizsa Mugyenyi, Caren Kakai, Mary Mwangi, Sylvia Mukasa WITA Kenya Chapter Lead

The focus of the discussions was how to make a “Perfect Pitch” to attract funding from potential investors. It was a great evening of learning and engaging with the panellists.

 

You can pick a few tips on what a good pitch entails by watching this video:

https://youtu.be/CUladd6ZktE

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