People 'n' Issues

Big moment for women in tech

May 18th, 2016
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The Start-Up Tel Aviv South Africa competition this year provides a life-changing experience for women tech entrepreneurs. In its third year, the competition offers the immense benefit of traveling to Israel for a week of meetings, workshops and networking opportunities with some of the world’s leading tech and start-up experts. The winner will spend five-days, all-expenses paid, in a start-up experience in the heart of Tel Aviv in September 2016, during the innovative DLD Festival.

South African entrepreneurs can benefit immensely from the lessons of Israeli start-ups, with the country known as a start-up nation, and ranking third in the world, behind only Silicon Valley and New York CIty, as a hub of start-up activity. This competition aims to create networks between businesses and to deepen relationships for the benefit of South African start-ups.

The 2015 winners, Where Is My Transport and Funda Technology, both have become successful and sustainable tech companies and benefited greatly from the opportunity afforded by the competition.

Where Is My Transport is described as a “platform for smart urban transport in the emerging regions of the globe. Integrating formal and informal transport. Connecting cities, operators, and commuters for a sustainable, efficient transport system.”  The company operates in Southern Africa and is determined to turn commuter data into a system that serves cities and users alike.

“Start Up Tel Aviv and the DLD Innovation Festival were an excellent opportunity to showcase our technology and connect with other like-minded entrepreneurs and innovators,” says Devin de Vries, founder of Where Is My Transport. “The network of like-minded, enthusiastic founders and innovators that it brought together has been a valuable source of insight, encouragement, and connections to start-up communities worldwide.

“Aside from contact with VCs and investors, the event also provided an unique opportunity to receive feedback from investors on an international level and to hear pitches from various corners of the globe. Such feedback and insight is especially valuable coming from such a diverse community.”

A second 2015 winner, Funda Technology, is a 100% black owned educational technology company with 30% female ownership. It develops and provides ICT-powered learning material for education and learning environment.

“Attending the DLD festival was an incredible experience, and the exposure to young, bright and like minded professionals was an invaluable experience as it helped me re-focus our business goals,” says founder Kennedy Kitheka. “Seeing first hand what the start-up community in Israel has managed to achieve with the challenges the country has faced over the past few years has been a true inspiration and has motivated us to be more positive and assertive in achieving our goals.

“I was also introduced to investors, media personalities and entrepreneurs who contributed to how I could steer my business in a direction to have a successful exit in a few years. The conversations and introduction to leading entrepreneurs and investors helped me understand this and contributed significantly to the future growth we have achieved.”

The 2016 version of the competition is open to all South African women who are the founders or senior managers of any company in the hi-tech field that is in early stage seed funding. This year the competition has a particular focus on women tech leaders and aims to reward innovation and entrepreneurship in the hi-tech sector.

Within the team of internationally respected judges are some formidable and respected South African women, including Noluthando Gosa, former Investment Analyst and a longstanding member of a number of professional organisations like the Institute of Directors of South Africa, Business Women’s Association of SA (Gauteng), and the Black Business Council; Tanya Kovarsky, PR and Communications Lead of Core Group and an award-winning parenting blogger with more than 12 years of experience in magazine and newspaper journalism; and Hillary Joffe, one of South Africa’s most talented financial journalists.

The panel of judges also includes Toby Shapshak, described by GQ as “the most high-profile technology journalist in the country” and one of South Africa’s top 30 men in media and Editor-in-Chief of Stuff Magazine, and Arthur Goldstuck, award-winning writer, analyst and technology commentator and head of the World Wide Worx.

The prize winner will travel to the DLD Festival in Tel Aviv to participate in lectures, workshops and meetings with leading Israeli investors and professionals. The winning startup experience takes place during the DLD Festival week (www.dldtelaviv.com), Israel’s largest international hi-tech gathering, featuring hundreds of start ups, VCs, angel investors and leading multinationals.

The South African winner will have the opportunity to meet the coolest and smartest companies, techies, investors, designers, artists, scientists, and cultural drivers from Israel and abroad.

* Closing date for entries is 3 June 2016. For more information and to enter, visit http://startuptelavivsouthafrica.com/

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