AfricaCom to honour first Female Innovator of the Year

The breakneck speed of technology advances within the telecommunications industry is set to revolutionise the way business is done across Africa, making 2019 the perfect time for a game-changing industry announcement.

The incredible contribution made by women to the African telecoms and technology industry will be celebrated for the first time just as the continent gears up for the fourth industrial revolution.

The organisers of AfricaCom have released a shortlist of candidates in line for the convention’s inaugural Female Innovator of the Year award. The award will highlight the incredible contributions made by the women shortlisted, but it also will add weight to the call for gender parity in ‘techland’ by showcasing the incredible achievements of each of these women.

The shortlist covers the full gamut of industry contributions and innovations, and organisers believe this diverse spread of talents and skillsets highlights the impact women make at all levels throughout the industry. The award will also offer men working throughout the industry additional points of reference for recognising the role played by women in the industry.

Organisers are calling for members of the public (along with AfricaCom delegates) to cast their vote for the Female Innovator of the Year award ahead of AfricaCom, which opens on 12 November 2019.

The following women are included on the shortlist, with voting set to close at 12pm (South Africa time) on Wednesday 13 November 2019:

  • Amanda Louw Bester, Founder and CEO, Pragmattica Digital Consulting
  • Baratang Miya, Founder and CEO, GirlHype
  • Dr Carolina Odman, Associate Professor of Physics, University of Western Cape
  • Dudu Mkhwanazi, Chief Executive Officer, Project Isizwe
  • Elisabeth Medou Badang, Senior Vice President Africa and Indian Ocean, Orange
  • Gergana (Gery) Young, Software Engineer, BBD’s Research and Development Unit
  • Lauren Dallas, Founder, Future Females
  • Lorraine Steyn, CEO, Khanyisa Real Systems
  • Sibongile Mongadi, Founder, Uku’hamba
  • Siddika Osman, Managing Director, Nkgwete IT Solutions
  • Tabassum Qadir, CEO, Uprise Africa
  • Virtue Oboro, Founder, Tiny Hearts Technology

Amanda Louw Bester is a thought leader for digital advertising and publisher monetisation in Africa, and is pushing the limits of digital media, in particular for mobile devices.

Baratang Miya is pioneering workforce diversity and workplace inclusion of women and the youth and using online resources to develop women’s digital literacy and online participation.

Professor Carolina Ödman-Govender, a champion of science, technology and education, has collaborated on projects such as the Astronomy for Africa taskforce, Universe Awareness (UNAWE), the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project and the Galileo Mobile project.

Dudu Mkhwanazi is a digital inclusion advocate who campaigns for and enables the deployment of free WiFi hotspots for low-income communities.

Elisabeth Medou Badang is passionate about women-empowerment initiatives such as the France Telecom Group Strategic committee on gender equality and a proud campaigner for digital transformation.Gergana Young is a software developer, outdoors adventurer and R&D guru who pushes the software envelope across a wide range of touchpoints.

Lauren Dallas is driving female entrepreneurship by breaking down the barriers women face through lack of access to essential resources.

Lorraine Steyn is a veteran digital entrepreneur, software maven and a champion of education and empowerment, and her company offers self-funded internships for 12 developers every year.

Sibongile Mongadi started a 100% black youth women owned Biotechnology and Healthcare Manufacturing company specialising in improving the living conditions of amputees living with disabilities.

Siddika Osman is an ICT veteran who is passionate about developing great people and who has built a thriving IT support company that handles an average of 3500 support calls per month.

Tabassum Qadir is a strategist, innovator and visionary leader who champions the empowerment of marginalised stakeholders and believes in the future of Equity Crowdfunding in South Africa.

Virtue Oboro is the founder of Tiny Hearts Technology, a medical manufacturing company strategically focused on building and making solar phototherapy units accessible to babies in low resource areas.

The awards ceremony will be announced and presented at The Lookout at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town on 13 November, and will include the following additional awards:

  • The Changing Lives Award
  • Best Network Management Software
  • Most Innovative Service, `The Business of Tomorrow’
  • CXO of the Year
  • The Government Leadership Award

The Women in Tech Centre Stage Takeover is another new feature at this year’s AfricaCom conference, with the organisers hoping the Takeover will play a role in creating awareness around the lack of gender parity in the tech and telecoms industry.

The Women in Tech track will take place on the opening day of the conference and is set to include panel discussions on the challenges faced by women in their bid to break into the industry, along with discussions around ways to make the industry more flexible and attractive to younger entrants in order to ensure that the country’s brightest talents are attracted to the industry.

AfricaCom will be hosted once again at the CTICC in Cape Town from 12-14 November 2019.

The public and the AfricaCom community are invited to cast their votes here: