Scaling fe­male tech founders bridges en­trepreneur­ship gen­der di­vide

African Times - - Business - 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 per­cent, 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 Bank – has launched the ‘Rise Scalara­tor’ fo­cused on fe­male founders in the Western Cape province and is call­ing for ap­pli­ca­tions.

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 (MVP), tech so­lu­tion to boost and scale their start-up, whilst ac­quir­ing a range of new com­pe­ten­cies.

The ini­tia­tive will fo­cus on five fe­male founder 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 them (women) se­cure in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties with the broader net­work.

The five se­lected founders will re­ceive sup­port from a busi­ness coach in­order 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 Bank 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 world­class net­work by be­ing based at Rise Cape Town for the du­ra­tion of the pro­gramme,” Pro­phy said.

Rise is a global start-up com­mu­nity pi­o­neer­ing fi­nan­cial ser­vices and un­lock­ing Africa’s po­ten­tial, and through this net­work in­no­va­tors and

en­trepreneurs gain the sup­port and re­sources to help fast-track their per­sonal and pro­fes­sional goals through men­tor­ship and col­lab­o­ra­tion, ac­cess to mar­kets, as well as ex­ten­sive learn­ing and skills de­vel­op­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties across sec­tors. “We are ac­tively en­hanc­ing the tra­jec­tory of star­tups and in­creas­ing long-term sus­tain­abil­ity,” said Camilla Swart, Ecosys­tem Man­ager at Rise

Cape Town.

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