This February at Lionesses of Africa, we shine a spotlight on Africa’s pioneering women tech and digital entrepreneurs who are making a real impact, through their businesses, their innovation, their products and services, and their passion for what they do. These truly innovative women pioneers are building unique, high impact businesses and shaking up the pan-African and global tech world at the same time through their efforts.
If you look at the fast-paced and ever-changing world of technology, IT solutions, innovative new app development, and e-commerce in Africa, you will see a number of businesses and brand names making some considerable noise in the sector - and, many of them have been created by an exciting new breed of women entrepreneurs on the African continent. So, all this month at Lionesses of Africa, we are featuring and paying tribute to some of these amazing African Women in Tech and Digital who have inspired us this year, and who are each making such a difference to the technology entrepreneurial landscape for women in Africa. These women know that it’s not simply about creating the next African Silicon Valley - this is not the ONLY answer; or the only way. They see that the way forward is by marrying Africa’s cutting edge technology and digital innovation in a way that can also bring high impact solutions to many of the problems and challenges facing the future growth and development of the African continent.
Meet some of the pioneering women tech and digital entrepreneurs who are leading this charge in Africa.
Find a problem and develop a unique solution that will fix it - that’s often the starting point for any business, especially in the tech sector. For the all women team behind South African startup business, Element Applications, their goal in life and in business is to develop smart apps that will solve a range of challenges for other businesses and organisations. Their first foray into the commercial app space sees them creating a much-needed solution for salon owners who need to manage their businesses more efficiently.
Giving young women and girls access to opportunities and stimulating careers in the world of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths), is the mission of Girls Coding Academy. By doing so, the organisation’s 7 co-founders are making a tangible and lasting contribution to the reduction of the gender gap in Lesotho.
Many entrepreneurs are driven by a passion to solve problems or address key societal issues. For Tatenda Ndambakuwa, founder of Shiri, her driving force is to address food security challenges by helping farmers in her country to become more productive and efficient using the power of technology.
How often do you see companies and organisations investing in IT and technology solutions but not actually ensuring they are aligned to overall business strategies? As a result, maximum efficiencies and highly functional systems never realize their full potential. IT specialist, Ngwana Matloa, co-founder of ABOT Technology, is on a mission to change that.
As cities across the African continent grow, and the construction of new buildings on city skylines also grows in tandem, so too does the need to create greener buildings. And, that’s where multi-award winning engineering entrepreneur, Vere Shaba, founder of the Shaba & Ramplin Green Building Solutions, comes in. She is advising companies to think and plan differently using an Integrated Green Design approach to design energy-efficient, water-efficient and low waste building engineering systems.
Making eye care accessible and affordable to everyone in Uganda, regardless of their income status, is the vision of Brenda Katwesigye, founder of high impact company Wazi Vision. She is on a mission to ensure that everyone who needs eye testing and glasses, no matter where they are located in the country, can get access to these life changing services.
Young children have the ability to learn quickly and absorb new information and skills that can change their lives, as long as they get access to exciting learning experiences. In Ghana’s rural communities, this was a key challenge. But one woman entrepreneur, Jospephine Marie Godwyll, is changing that through her high impact social enterprise, Young At Heart Ghana. Today, she is bringing digital learning experiences that are truly game-changing to young people’s minds and futures.
Hospitals and patients need lifesaving blood supplies, each and every day, but finding safe supplies of blood and getting it delivered quickly in the right condition has been a challenge in Nigeria. Today, one entrepreneur is changing that. Temie Giwa-Tubosun, founder and ceo of LifeBank, is getting safe blood supplies delivered to those who need it most using the power of technology.
How many times a day whilst we are travelling on the highways, railways and flightpaths of countries across the African continent do we see underutilized freight carriers. This results in more expense and a bigger environmental impact. But that is about to change with the entry into the marketplace of EmptyTrips. This innovative, digital company is a game-changer in the logistics and freight transportation business.
Getting access to qualified, experienced and fully vetted care for those elderly family members who wish to stay at home can be extremely challenging, but Greymate Care is one company looking to provide a solution. It’s online platform connects specialist carers to those in need of care, giving both patients and families the peace of mind they are looking for.
Mastering the art of the career pivot is something that Sazia Sousa knows well, having originally studied to be an architect and then making the move into computer engineering. This adventurous move has led to her becoming a key player in this highly competitive field with the creation of her company Technoplus.
Africa needs more women innovators and change-makers, particularly when it comes to harnessing the power of technology to find solutions to key challenges. Mozambique has one such woman innovator in Gérsia Sequeira, co-founder of the Instituto de Tecnologias, Inovação e Serviços - ITIS in Maputo. She is on a mission to innovate for continuous improvement in areas such as education, e-government and entrepreneurship development.
The chances are that in our increasingly busy lives, we will need to get health advice and information at short notice and potentially outside of usual medical practitioner hours or without having to wait for clinic appointments, meaning that an alternative is required. South African techpreneur, Gaby Lobban, founder of Zumbudda, knows this scenario only too well as a busy working mother of three children. Her website offering real-time e-chats with expert healthcare professionals is providing a great and innovative solution.
The tech sector has a wealth of exciting opportunies for entrepreneurs to make a difference and Lorraine Steyn, founder of Khanyisa Real Systems, is one such entrepreneur who has built a highly regarded and successful business, underpinned with a strong sense of wanting to do good in the world.
Companies in the IT sector have long built a reputation for finding solutions to many of the business challenges we face today, but Niche Integrated Solutions is an IT company with a difference, thanks to its founder Nisha Maharaj. It has genuinely found a niche for itself in a highly competitive sector, and as a result, is not just building a rapidly growing and successful business, but it is also positively impacting on the lives and businesses of others.
Seeing a gap in the marketplace for the creation of world-class game concepts, design and illustration initially for the online casino gaming industry, led to the creation of Bla Bla Bla Studios. Today, Carmen Granger’s vision for the company is to grow the online casino client base globally, expand into mobile app development and animated educational tutorials for large corporates and government.
The mobile technology space is probably one of the most rapidly changing and dynamic sectors, and for businesses and organisations that can often prove a challenge, finding the best solutions to meet their needs. Lynette Hundermark’s company, Useful and Beautiful (U&B), is looking to breakthrough the clutter and find the right mobile technology solutions and develop the right strategies to fit each client’s specific objectives, and add real value to the business.
Africa’s education challenges and the lack of access to quality learning resources for children and young people in Tanzania specifically, led one woman entrepreneur to take an innovative approach to finding a solution. Faraja Nyalandu is creating world-class digital learning content and making it available to students on mobile phones and through online learning portals.
If there is a stand-out dynamic woman techpreneur in Africa who is challenging the industry status quo and helping other women to spearhead a new and innovative era in the sector on the continent, then it is Ethel Cofie, founder of Edel Technologies in Ghana.
Ugochi Ugbomeh is a woman who thinks big and harnesses of the power of technology to make a difference. Her entrepreneurial vision is for her company to become a curator of truly world-class transportation, location based and mobility services in Africa, effectively moving people and things from one destination to another.
If there is one thing that women in tech love to do, it is to shake up the industry and to genuinely create things that are both entrepreneurial and innovative. Nigerian techpreneur, Ommo Clark, is one such industry game-changer, building a software house, iBez, that creates not only proprietary software products that help to solve local challenges, but also develops and showcases local tech talent.
Meet Stephanie Cowper, who is harnessing the power of mobile technology to making a difference in the world. This South African entrepreneur and the startup team of BeSpecular Ltd. have created an app to help visually impaired people identify objects and situations and lead more independent lives.
A leading Nigerian techpreneur building a powerful business focusing on online solutions, e-learning and IT security, and taking Africa’s tech sector by storm.
This leading Kenyan entrepreneur, computer scientist and inductee of the Internet Hall of Fame founded her tech company at the age of 24.