JOHANNESBURG: The Innovator Trust 2021 Women In Tech Appreciation Experience was hosted on Thursday, 4th November 2021, with a bold call to action to South African women to Dare To Dream.
The 1-day event, hosted as a hybrid event with both a physical and virtual audience, is an annual celebration on the Innovator Trust calendar which seeks to recognise and award the outstanding achievements of female small business owners within the technology sector.
The event was hosted by Good Hope FM presenter and TV personality, Leigh-Anne Williams with a programme that offered a captivating line-up of keynote addresses and panel discussions featuring renowned women in leadership, government and the private sector which included the likes of Minister of Small Business Development Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, former Public Protector of South Africa, Professor Thuli Madonsela, Chancellor of the Nelson Mandela Bay University, Ms Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, and Vodacom Director for External Affairs, Takalani Netshitenzhe.
The Women In Tech 2021 programme tabled pertinent topics relating to the role of entrepreneurs in building the future society and economy of South Africa, the effects on SMMEs of the rapid technological transformation to digital business over the 2020/21 period, as well as an authentic look inside the world of female small business owners, presenting an opportunity for speakers and attendees alike, to share and reflect collectively, on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and unemployment. “For small business owners in South Africa, digital transformation is seen as a critical business driver for economic growth. The digital tsunami has overtaken us. Where doing business digitally was something to work towards previously, it is now a vital tool for doing any business at all. The key take-away is that small businesses must be more informed and in future, more prepared to deal with the only constant we can count on – more change,” said Tashline Jooste, CEO of the Innovator Trust, during her keynote address.
The #DareToDream theme for this year’s Women In Tech Appreciation Experience centered around the acknowledgement of the unique challenges experienced by women. For many at the Women In Tech event, this message resonated as women shared their stories of hardship in running a small business over the last 20 months, the pressure of the changing roles of mother, teacher, business owner, housekeeper etc, which was thrust upon women under hard lockdowns, and the issue of gender based violence, declared as the second pandemic which many women had to contend with during this period.
Some highlights from #WIT2021 included a robust panel discussion moderated by TV presenter and radio personality, Pabi Moloi, on the influence of technology on various industries and how that has caused an evolution within the realm of entrepreneurship as well as a riveting keynote address and exclusive 1-on-1 interview with former trade unionist and businesswoman, Irene Charnley who in addressing the topic of gender equality, “What Does Equal Look Like?” encouraged women to “walk like you belong,” calling for a “50% Women” future with 50% representation of women reflected in business structures, economic remuneration and general society.
Other dynamic and inspiring female voices that featured in this year’s Women In Tech Appreciation Experience included CEO of AB4IR (SEDA) Kelebogile Malopyane, the Head of the Naspers Lab, Mapule Ncanywa, the Executive Head of Vodacom Business Kwa-Zulu Natal, Eleni Kwinana, Consultant for Innovation and Technology at SEDA, Kgaladi Thema, SAFTA Award winning film-maker, Sihle Hlope, and Innovator Trust SMME alumni, Ruby Moodley, CEO and founder of IT Networks, Jennifer Claasen, CEO of Ngaphaya Y2K10 and Lerato Rampana, founder of Kathabo Trading.
For more information and the latest updates on the 2021 Women In Tech Appreciation Experience, follow the Innovator Trust on social media or contact the Innovator Trust at the channels below.
YouTube: Innovator Trust