by TINTSWALO BALOYI
JOHANNESBURG – THE MTN South Africa Foundation has committed R1 million (over US$60 900) to enable innovation, entrepreneurship and job creation for women in the digital economy.
This inaugural MTN Women in Digital Business Challenge will set ten less established female owned small, micro, medium enterprises (SMMEs) on a path to success with finance, mentorship and other business support resources provided by the foundation.
Angie Maloka, Senior Manager: Youth and Women Programmes at the MTN SA Foundation, said removing barriers hindering women from entering science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields is key to address South Africa’s enormous information and communications technology (ICT) skills gap and high unemployment rate.
“It’s imperative to fill this inequality gap, and for us, this means making a meaningful contribution to improving female-owned businesses in the ICT market.”
Although women make up 13 percent of the graduates leaving local tertiary institutions with qualifications in STEM, there is a lack of digital exposure and career guidance post-graduation.
This is a significant challenge for women pursuing ICT-related careers or entrepreneurship opportunities.
Consequently, only 23 percent of tech jobs are held by women in South Africa.
Out of 236 000 ICT and technology roles, women occupy 56 000 of them.
An extension of MTN’s existing SME accelerator programmes, the MTN Women in Digital Business Challenge forms part of the MTN Group’s commitment to developing ICT SMEs on the continent.
It aims to foster an entrepreneurial mindset through the provision of R100 000 to 10 SMME candidates for working capital needs, business development, tangible assets, mentorship and business advancing technology/software.
The candidates that will enter the 2022 MTN Women in Digital Business Challenge programme are female graduates and/or alumni members of the MTN SA Foundation business support programme.
They are Masabata Chabeli, Siyamtanda Hlobo, Amanda Magwaza, Johanna Moabelo, Desiderata Mphehlo, Siphokazi Nciza, Thobeka Nkabinde, Nkcubeko Noyila, Estelle Olifant and Neliswa Phungula.
– CAJ News