by AKANI CHAUKE
JOHANNESBURG – MTN, through its Women in Digital Business Challenge, is investing R1 million (US$53 000) to drive transformation in South Africa’s technology industry.
The second edition of the initiative will run until December 31 and offers ten female digital pioneers a prize of R100 000 each.
“The prize money is to be used for working capital, business development, purchasing tangible assets, and investing in business technology hardware, software, or internet protocol (IP),” said Lesimola Selepe, Senior Manager: Community Programmes at the MTN Foundation.
Women make up just more than half of the South African population but are not represented as strongly as they should be in the broad IT industry.
MTN SA believes that it is up to talented women to show what they can achieve within the science, technology, information, and mathematics (STEM) sectors in a country with massive skills and youth employment challenges.
“The MTN SA Foundation considers that making a practical contribution to fostering scarce skills and encouraging women to enter the sector is an essential part of making visible and sustained contributions to the communities in which we operate,” Selepe said.
The Women in Digital Business Challenge is open for graduates and alumni of the MTN Foundation business support programme.
The Foundation will be accepting applications and vetting participants through its implementation partners.
From these initial applications, the women compete in a two- day “pitching competition.”
They will showcase their businesses and compete for a place in the “Top-10.”
Following this, the entrepreneurs enter a four-month mentorship journey in which they receive expert advice on how to grow their businesses and the adoption of marketing strategies.
In addition, they are also given help to ensure that the financial and business management skills they require to run a successful small business are improved.
Once graduating from these programmes, each of the ten successful candidates receive their R100 000 funding for developing their businesses at a formal function.
– CAJ News