Scal­ing fe­male tech founders in or­der to bridge gen­der di­vide

The Star Late Edition - - POLITICS - AKANI CHAUKE

DI­VER­SITY and in­clu­sion in the tech­nol­ogy space are not uniquely a South African chal­lenge, but has be­come a global im­per­a­tive. Women are step­ping up to own and run busi­nesses in num­bers that would have been hard to imag­ine a few decades ago.

Ac­cord­ing to an­a­lysts, this is re­defin­ing women’s eco­nomic and re­shap­ing the mod­ern global econ­omy. A re­cent study paints a pic­ture of the ideal world, where women play an iden­ti­cal role in labour mar­kets to that of men, as much as $28 tril­lion, or 26%, could be added to global an­nual gross do­mes­tic prod­uct (GDP) by 2025.

Ac­cord­ingly, an ini­tia­tive has been launched to bring more women into en­trepreneur­ship, mainly tech­nol­ogy. Rise – the innovation hub owned by Absa – has launched the Rise Scalara­tor, fo­cused on fe­male founders in the Western Cape.

The Rise Scalara­tor is geared to play a cru­cial role in the global call-to-ac­tion ac­tively fo­cus­ing on Women-In-Tech.

The pro­gramme aims to sup­port South African black fe­male founders who have de­vel­oped a post-min­i­mum vi­able prod­uct tech so­lu­tion to boost and scale their start-up, while ac­quir­ing a range of new com­pe­ten­cies.

The ini­tia­tive will fo­cus on five fe­male founders, from June to Novem­ber 2018. The pro­gramme will kick off with a 12-week boot­camp, cul­mi­nat­ing in a fund­ing pitch to be held at Rise, which will as­sist women to se­cure in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties with the broader net­work.

The five se­lected founders will re­ceive sup­port from a busi­ness coach to boost their per­sonal growth and lead­er­ship skills, to sup­port the growth of their own em­ploy­ees, lead­er­ship team and com­pany.

An­toinette Pro­phy, founder and manag­ing di­rec­tor at the 88 Busi­ness Col­lec­tive, who co-cre­ated the pro­gramme with Absa as project man­ager, said the pro­gramme was de­signed to fo­cus on the ben­e­fi­cia­ries holis­ti­cally.

“They will have ac­cess to an ad­vi­sory board, a busi­ness coach, fi­nan­cial man­age­ment and mod­el­ling tools as well as ac­cess to a world-class net­work by be­ing based at Rise Cape Town for the du­ra­tion of the pro­gramme,” Pro­phy said.

“We are ac­tively en­hanc­ing the tra­jec­tory of start-ups and in­creas­ing long-term sus­tain­abil­ity,” said Camilla Swart, ecosys­tem man­ager at Rise Cape Town. – CAJ News

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