Programme supports women’s tech businesses
Braamfontein – Wits University’s Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct has unveiled its inaugural Ya Basadi in 4IR programme, with the financial support of JP Morgan.
Ya Basadi is an acceleration programme that will enable Tshimologong to support established small businesses in transitioning into technology with the purpose of optimising their operations.
The programme targets women-owned businesses, which are already trading and have a clear understanding of how tech can scale their businesses. Ya Basadi will also include underserved female entrepreneurs from low income backgrounds.
Enterprise development manager at Tshimologong Khwezi Fudu Cenenda says the Ya Basadi programme is well timed as the country dedicates August to saluting women.
“Entrepreneurship is fast becoming a chosen way to counteract the low economic growth and increasing unemployment. This is particularly prevalent when looking at the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) research, which notes that 72% of micro-enterprises and 40% of small enterprises are currently owned by women. Unfortunately, these businesses often require funding and support in terms of digital transformation,” Cenenda says.
Developed with three main components; technology training, experiential learning through immersions in industry and the development of a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), the programme will enable participants to understand how to apply new technology into their business such as, among others, Machine Learning (ML), data analytics, robotics and Internet of Things (IoT. The ultimate goal of the programme is to help women-owned businesses scale, generate more value and create employment in Johannesburg economies.
“Only 13% of women graduate in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) while only 23% hold IT jobs. This means the potential for women to participate in 4IR is limited. Our objective is to innovate and collaborate to find new ways of increasing access for women in technology. Those companies already classified as tech businesses will get the opportunity to deepen their use of tech. This pipeline will need to be nurtured, which is why we are looking to secure additional partnerships to assist in developing the programme,” says Cenenda.
Senior country officer for JP Morgan, Kevin Latter says: “JP Morgan globally focuses on supporting small business and empowerment of women. The devastating impact of Covid-19 in South Africa has made it even more important for the business sector to support the development of smaller businesses and job creation.”
For more visit https://tshimologong.joburg/yabasadi/