South Africa’s technology sector has grown exponentially in the past few years. Currently valued at a little over USD 6 billion, its revenue is expected to reach a staggering USD 10 billion in the next four to five years. While many technology companies are collaboratively contributing to the sector’s growth, one cannot discount the contribution of these women tech entrepreneurs. Their vision, hard work and perseverance have helped the industry grow by leaps and bounds. So, let’s overview the stories of five such technology entrepreneurs who’ve exemplified women’s empowerment in South Africa.
5 Successful Women Tech in South Africa
Sustaining and making a mark across the otherwise male-dominated technology industry isn’t a cakewalk. Amidst domestic expectations and various other social roadblocks, cutting through every challenge and making noteworthy and useful contributions requires a rock-solid determination and an unmatched urge to succeed. But against all odds, these women have epitomised success and have become an inspiration for every woman aspiring to make it big as an entrepreneur.
- Dr Mmaki Jantjies – Group Executive of Innovation and Transformation, TELKOM
Beware! This Capetonian lady is on a mission to disrupt the South African educational system – but with technology and for its betterment. A PhD holder in computer science from the University of Warwick, Dr Jantjies researches developing mobile learning software systems in STEM subjects, accessible in all South African languages.
She also encourages her students to join the Mozilla and UN Women technology clubs for young girls. These technology clubs will enable Cape Town township high school girls to learn ICT skills and encourage them to pursue a career in technology. Dr Jantjies is also the co-founder of Peo ya Phetogo (PYP), a non-profit organisation for digital skills development among South African schools, youth, teachers and communities.
- Thato Schermer – Founder, Zoie Health Technologies
Thato Schermer is leveraging technology to offer a holistic and integrated view of women’s health and wellness. By founding Zoie Health Technologies, a health and wellness clinic application that aims to use technology to make women’s healthcare more accessible for millions of women across South Africa. The app enables women to take up online consultations with many women’s health practitioners. The platform also has a contraceptive subscription service.
- Lindiwe Matlali – Founder and CEO of Africa Teen Geeks
Today, learning coding has become as fundamental as learning the alphabet. Lindiwe Matlali, the founder and CEO of Africa Teen Geeks, has taken a considerable initiative in this regard. The organisation teaches kids how to code. It has introduced numerous children to new programs in coding and robotics. Matlali is of the opinion that no children should be left behind in the technology revolution. She believes that tech entrepreneurship can help shape the future of Africa.
- Sewagodimo Matlapeng – Founder, Indoni Developers
A community leader, public speaker and advocate, Sewagodimo is a multi-faceted persona passionate about programming. Blogging and software development are two other feathers in her cap. As the founder of Indoni Developers, Sewagodimo provides career support for women in software development. But that’s not it. Sewagodimo is also a YouTuber who trains people in coding through her channel. Her entrepreneurial dimension also includes Buza Answers, an educational platform that enables high school students to reach each other and solve each other’s problems.
- Tumi Sineke – Founder, Tirisanong
Enhancing diversity and inclusion in the technology industry is a significant global agenda. But companies engaged in routine work cannot attend to this area as much as it is required. Tumi Sineke, the founder of Tirisanong, helps do it. Tirisanong is a tech inclusion consultancy working to help companies improve diversity and inclusion in tech. She has been working since long as a coach and mentor in the technology and entrepreneurial realm. She works with leaders within diversity, equity and inclusion to enhance their learning and development.
So, that was about five women entrepreneurs within South Africa’s tech space. There are many more, of course. Some of them like Emma Dicks (CodeSpace Academy), Sam Wright (Tech Girl), Dr Adriana Marais (Proudly Human), Tao Boyle (FoondaMate), Tebogo and Mokwena (Akiba Digital). The contribution of these women has been helping South Africa’s tech space and women’s participation broader than ever.