Technology has changed our lives, and I doubt most of us realise just how evident technology is in our day-to-day activities. I am not necessarily referring to our coffee machines, but thank you Nespresso (you are the reason for my current coffee addiction). I am more specifically referring to the way our lives and businesses are now controlled and directed by our devices. The technology industry in South Africa, albeit small, has grown a considerable amount. In spirit of Women’s Month, the Future Female Business School caught our attention with their initiative to pilot women’s participation in technology, More specifically, female entrepreneurs in tech.
Despite the long history behind the slogan “Future is Female”, the slogan itself does not necessarily mean “women’’ over “men”. Rather, it is a celebration of all the unique gifts each person has to offer. A chance for the voices who may have not been heard in the past, to become alternative forms of strong leadership.
Although I would not consider myself an irrefutable “Feminist”, I do agree that women should support and empower other women. Growing up I always had strong female role models around me. I remember seeing posters of the 1975 Lynda Carter Wonder Woman in our local Blockbuster store, wondering what it would be like to “be like her”. I never actually knew she was a superhero at the time, but all girls should have someone to look up to! Whether it be women in the fictional world or the real world. There are now many women taking the business world by storm and becoming the role models so many young women need, including in the technological landscape.
Women in the tech industry in South Africa are making strides towards influencing the industry. One such figure is Samantha Wright, better known as Tech Girl, who created her brand and blog, and is an avid esports professional. She uses her online presence to discuss technology, gaming and gadgets. Another is Barbara Mallinson, who created the platform called “Obami“, which connects teachers, parents and learners online. This educational platform was recognised as one of the Top 10 Most Innovative Technologies in the World in 2011 by Netexplo and UNESCO. Another formidable entrepreneur is Aisha Pandor, the co-founder of “Sweep South” – an app that allows you to book cleaning services without hassles. Last, but not least, is Baratang Miya who runs the Non-Profit “GirlHype – Women Who Code”. This is a space that provides programming and app development training for young girls and women. All of these South African women, and so many more, have become pioneers in the South African tech industry over time. Hence why the partnership between Future Female Business School and Techstars is so exciting.
The Future Female Business School is a South African company helping women make their mark through a three-month virtual course. Giving women a safe space for them to share their business ideas and to transform their business prospects into proven and attainable businesses.
Over 190 female entrepreneurs have successfully graduated from the Future Female Business School. Those who have experienced a 63% increase in their monthly revenue, which is considerable. The course combines content, community and coaching to guide women toward reaching their goals, and to bring their business dreams to life. Now the school is a part of the D&I Techstars Affiliate program. This exposes their female tech entrepreneurs to coaches and content from the Techstars network. It is a game-changer for female South African entrepreneurs, whereby they will have access to Techstar’s mentorship-driven accelerator programs, and even the possibility of having their applications fast tracked.
Ultimately, the news of the Future Females Business School collaborating with Techstars means women will have better resources to reach their entrepreneurial goals in South Africa, and around the world. Higher quality female entrepreneurs creating wider tech start-up’s in local and global economies is the future we should all be striving for.