Silicon Cape announces women’s sub-committee

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Western Cape startup support initiative Silicon Cape has announced the 11 individuals who will join Women Portfolio head Zimkhita Buwa on the women’s sub-committee, charged with understanding the challenges faced by women in the local startup ecosystem and encouraging females to embark on tech-related careers and businesses.

Disrupt Africa reported in April Buwa was looking for “warriors” to join the sub-committee of the Women Portfolio of Silicon Cape, which was founded in 2009 by investor Justin Stanford and entrepreneur Vinny Lingham and in October raised more than ZAR3 million (US$270,000) in funding from South Africa’s First National Bank (FNB).

The individuals have now been selected, and include computer systems graduate Dawn Gondo, SweepSouth co-founder Aisha Pandor, Talarify founder Anelda Van Der Walt, Project codeX chief operating officer (COO) Cara Turner, Ignitar founder Chwayita Nqiwa, and CiTi enterprise programme development manager Crecencia Chauma.

The rest of the sub-committee is made up of Zumbudda owner Gabrielle Gaby Lobban, Praekelt Foundation learning, monitoring and evaluation lead Maritza Van Den Heuvel, medical bioscientist Nosipho Molapisane, AngelHub Ventures investment analyst Rosalie Seriese, and RTT Constructions and Property Development owner Thato Mokhothu.

Buwa thanked all of the individuals who expressed an interest in getting involved, and said she had received an “overwhelming response”.

Turner said it was vital for more women to get involved in tech, for two key reasons.

“From a business perspective, in order to build the products we need in a way that truly solves our challenges, we simply have to be the people building them. So we need more of us doing the work,” she said.

“Equally, skilled employment brings the economic freedom to make better decisions, and studies consistently show that women tend to invest in assets and education that bring lasting benefits to both their families and communities.”

Pandor said initiatives like Silicon Cape should not only be addressing problems that affect a subset of South Africa’s population and economy.

“If we can help to include more women in the ecosystem, we will see a much broader range of solutions coming out of it, that address issues at all levels of our economy,” she said.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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