These entrepreneurs are changing the discourse on women in technology on the continent and in the diaspora.
Founder, Creative Commons South Africa
Not only is Heather Ford a global researcher on online communities, she also has a knack for engaging collaboration among online users through open access platforms. Ford founded Creative Commons South Africa, co-founded the African Commons Project and Geek Retreat, an annual event that included South Africa’s best and brightest minds in Information Technology.
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Founder, Edel Consultancy
When Ethel Cofie started Edel IT Consult after her stint with Vodafone, she learned that she had a lot to offer, whether she was in the workforce or working independently. She is a founding member of the Women in Tech group, a pan-African Women in Technology network that seeks to enhance the careers of working women by sharing experiences and lessons learned in each member’s career development. Cofie is a 2014 Young African Leaders Initiative fellowship recipient.
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Barbara Birungi has become an advocate for female African entrepreneurs, particularly on the subject of developing a caliber of female entrepreneurs who are tech savvy and are equipped to compete in the global market – she of all people will understand the value of this. A leading female techpreneur in Uganda, she is the founder of Women in Technology Uganda, a tech initiative that helps women and girls pursue careers in technology. To date, the non-profit has trained over a hundred young women in tech and business, with the first intake of school dropouts who graduated in June 2014. She serves on the Board of the AfriLabs Foundation, which was created to support African technology hubs by providing financing, mentoring, networking opportunities and other resources for high impact entrepreneurs.
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Founder and CEO, Rekindle Learning
She has been named to Oprah’s 2012 ‘O’ Power List, one of Forbes’ Africa’s Best Young Entrepreneurs 30 under 30, is a World Economic Forum Global Shaper, and has been mentioned by CNN as Africa’s “Marissa Mayers”. However, this Botswana born serial entrepreneur’s greatest achievement is not in the awards or the accolades, impressive as they are. She has managed to epically disrupt the tech space by introducing high end innovative software through Yiego Communications, an innovative Cape Town based company that developed some of the world’s earliest mobile VoIP applications.
Rapelang recently founded an education technology company-Rekindle Learning, which employs mobile devices in tailoring methods of learning to each and every one of its users. The learning applications apply the latest learning pedagogies to ensure that learning actually happens and knowledge is built up, right at the palm of the hands. Rekindle Learning was profiled in the McKinsey report Lions go Digital: The Internet’s transformative potential in Africa as a ‘striking innovation’ in mobile learning.
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Founder & CEO, CancerIQ
A former investment banker, Olopade realized an opportunity to bring a merge of technology and innovation into the healthcare industry. The concept behind her vision is not new in the world of analytics – using big data to discern patterns and make better decisions. However, in an ever growing and dynamic healthcare industry, this has started to become the basis of competitive advantage, especially in the provision of treatment and care. CancerIQ was developed to help streamline increasingly complex decisions in oncology – improving access to specialty care at lower costs. The web based data application analyzes complex data to inform decisions on translational research, treatment options for patients and aids the development of enhanced personalized prevention, treatment and care plans for patients and their families.
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