She Loves Tech, which was started in 2013 by Lean In China in Beijing has quickly spread to over 14 cities across the world. This year it will be holding its inaugural African sessions, with the East African Regional held in Nairobi on July 14th and the South African Regional held in Cape Town on 3 – 4 August 2018.
Given WeThinkCode_’s network of developers and focus on training, the South Africa Regional will take on the unique format of a hackathon. During the two day event, there will be workshops focusing on how to pitch a business idea, panels of thought leaders, as well as other mentoring sessions. During the actual women-themed hackathon, teams will be asked to focus on hacking solutions that combat youth unemployment, healthcare, or education – all problems which are deeply relevant to South Africans.
The winning team will win a trip to China for a week-long bootcamp with visits to leading Chinese tech companies and incubators, networking with investors, and cultural visits before the global finals and international conference. Given China and South Africa’s thriving trade relationship, it is important to encourage economic and cultural exchange amongst young and ambitious entrepreneurs.
Arlene Mulder of WeThinkCode_ believes the She Loves Tech initiative is a wonderful opportunity for South Africans, especially women, to showcase their innovation and talent. “South African women are strong, resilient and creative. We have the power to design solutions to create a world of possibility.”
The OYA Venture team believes that supporting female-founded businesses in South Africa is an important element in growing the entrepreneurial ecosystem and businesses that incorporate technology could be game changers on the African continent.
“In our initial work as OYA Venture, we have met so many amazing female founders doing some phenomenal things with limited resources, and really that is what spurns innovation; and a hackathon creates the right environment for such innovation to flourish,” Charlotte Luzuka of OYA Venture.
Virginia Tan, Founder of She Loves Tech, believes, “A hackathon is a great format for encouraging teams that normally may not have had the courage to pursue their impactful ideas.” Adding in that “We Think Code, not only is run by a powerful woman, but is also one of the foremost institutions in encouraging women in STEM, so we knew they were the perfect partner to bring this very important mission to South Africa.”
As South Africa is a country with female entrepreneurs on the rise, this is a very strong partnership that will help pave the way. She Loves Tech is not only a competition to find the best and brightest in South Africa, but to bring them to the international stage.