Women in East Africa are taking advantage of the numerous opportunities available in tech. They have shown that women can succeed in male-dominated industries and are paving the way for future generations of females in tech.
These women are just a few examples of the women in East Africa breaking barriers and making a difference in their communities. As we continue to celebrate women, we decide to spotlight these women to remind us that women’s economic empowerment is essential for the development of the region.
Dorcas Owino – Kenya
Dorcas Owino founded LakeHub, a technology and social innovation organization that supports a community of creatives, programmers and entrepreneurs, the majority of whom are girls aged 13 to 19.
Lakehub creates first-time access to entrepreneurship and technology opportunities for people in Kisimu. They organise women-in-tech programs and an annual three-month initiative where girls in high schools are taught how to use technology to solve problems around them. One of their successful innovations is iCut, an app that connects girls affected by female genital mutilation or cutting (FGM/C) with legal and medical assistance.
Dorcas has been recognised by Forbes Africa 30 Under 30 2019. Also, several LakeHub students have competed globally at hackathons under Dorcas’ leadership.
Sarah Menker – Ethiopia
Sarah Menker is the Co-Founder & CEO of Gro Intelligence, a company that uses artificial intelligence to forecast global agricultural trends and battle food insecurity. Menker interest in food insecurity was piqued during her stay at Morgan Stanley. She began her career in commodities risk management at Morgan and also grew her interest in farmland investments there.
After working for a while, Menker left Morgan Stanley to use her skills in data analytics for social good. She founded Gro Intelligence and began to investigate how Africa could mitigate the earth’s growing demands for food. Gro Intelligence uses artificial intelligence to make predictions about trends in food prices. It also offers software that attempts to make agricultural, weather and climate data easy to understand.
Menker is a trustee of the Mandela Institute for Development Studies and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture. She was elected as one of the World Economic Forum Young Global Leaders. Also, Menkel was included in the 2021 Time 100, Time’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.
Tarneem Saeed – Sudan
Tarneem Saeed is the Founder and CEO of Alsoug, the largest tech startup in Sudan. Alsoug is a classified platform/marketplace which allows people to check out the price of things and connect with sellers. Saeed left her Law career in the UK to build a startup in one of Africa’s unstable countries. She noted that Sudan felt cut off from the world, and it was difficult to find the price of anything without asking someone. This made her very uncomfortable and she decided to build a broker platform where people could check the prices of goods and services.
In October 2021, Alsoug received a $5 million investment to become the first startup to get foreign investment in Sudan since the US economic sanctions were lifted in 2020. Despite the persistent challenges faced by females in tech in Sudan, Saeed is getting ready to break into the fintech market with a national payment system that will allow for quick, easy, and secure transactions for all Sudanese.
Rachel Sibande – Malawi
Rachel Sibande is the Founder, mHub, a technology hub for innovators and entrepreneurs. mHub is a key resource for women-led tech startups in Africa, which grants access to investment and financial support across five countries. She serves as Senior Director, Data for Development and has pioneered initiatives to advance digital skills among children, girls, youth, and women.
As a computer scientist, Sibande also established the Girls Coding Club, Children’s Coding Club, a Robotics Club and Machine Learning community camps. She is a recipient of a Google Anita Borg Scholarship. In 2016, she was named one of Africa’s 30 most promising entrepreneurs under the age of 30 by Forbes. Sibande also won the Climate-Smart track innovate to invent award at the 2018 Next Einstein Forum (NEF) Global Gathering in Rwanda for creating a thermal chemical process that generates light for rural microgrids.
Prisca Magori – Tanzania
Prisca Magori is the Founder of TenTen Explore, an online travel marketplace, revolutionising how travellers find and book trips through flexible payment plans. Prisca was inspired by her love for travelling and the challenge of not having a one-stop digital marketplace that caters for the needs of local tourists. With a mission to revolutionalise Tanzania’s travel and Tourism Industry using digital applications, Prisca devoted her time to learning and acquiring knowledge about the tech ecosystem.
On TenTen, users can search for their destination or find displayed places to travel, book the destination of their choice and select a payment plan convenient to them. Once users select their payment plan, they can pay a booking fee, which is 5% of the total price.
Her startup was one of the twenty-five African female-founded tech startups selected for the second edition of The Future is Female Mentorship Program, a PR and communications mentorship program dedicated exclusively to African female tech founders.
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