by TINTSWALO BALOYI
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – MORE than 100 women in South Africa have participated in a digital skills training programme offered by global technology firm, Huawei.
The Women4Tech programme has been held in partnership with the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies, with a session focusing on how South African small, micro and medium enterprises (SMMEs) can benefit from app development.
The free online course was designed to help tech-forward women entrepreneurs advance their skills and apply new technologies to grow, improve and digitise their businesses.
The course comprised of three sessions: Cloud Computing and how it benefits SMMEs, Digital Marketing for business success, especially in an increasingly competitive online market space, and an Introduction to app development and how mobile apps can benefit SMMEs.
The course ended with members of the Huawei team explaining how they support the development of apps for local businesses.
“With our ecosystem, we aim to support you as a customer and a business,” said Mahlakane Mafoko, Marketing Manager, Huawei Mobile Services Southern Africa.
“Once your (developer’s) app is built, we can help by offering facilities for ads, paid promotion and joint operations,” Mafoko added.
Michael Bratt, Multimedia Journalist and Marketing Manager, Huawei Mobile Services Southern Africa touched on the work that Huawei’s doing with its developer programme as well as its Apps UP app development competition.
Apps UP, which is now in its second year, offers developers a share of US$1 million if their apps are chosen as winners.
For the first time, in 2021, it will feature a ‘Women in Tech’ category.
Entries for the competition close on September 5.
Ropah Musvaire, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Kweza Technologies, spoke about her experience in using technology to benefit township Spaza shops, giving them the power of collective buying, ensuring they can source stock conveniently, at the best prices and have it delivered directly to their store.
During the early parts of the pandemic, Kweza built an Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) platform that enabled township communities to receive food hampers.
“It was exciting to see the uptick in technology while we were in that crisis,” Musvaire said.
Jacqueline Rogers, creator of the My Pregnancy Journey app and winner in the 2020 Apps UP competition, spoke about the app, which also earned her a place among Africa’s top innovators by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Like her first business, she started My Pregnancy Journey because of frustrations she felt during her own pregnancy.
“I started my first business when I fell pregnant and couldn’t meet my fashion needs,” she said.
“Later, I realised that there were no tech platforms guiding South African women through their pregnancy with locally relevant education and health information, services and products.”
Without app development experience herself, she physically mapped out what she wanted from the app and took it to various developers before settling on one that worked.
“Things really changed when we moved onto the Huawei AppGallery,” Rogers said.
Winning the Apps UP competition allowed her to complete the app and make it a viable business.
Slindile Khanyile, Head of Digital Publications and Co-Director at Likhanyile Tutoring and Media, said attending the Huawei Women4Tech digital skills training programme had been an eye opener.
“As a start-up business in the digital space the content and resources made available to us for free was invaluable,” Khanyile said.
Vanashree Govender, Media Relations and Communication Manager, Huawei South Africa, said the response was impressive.
“We’re incredibly happy with how the Women4Tech digital skills training programme was received by the incredible women entrepreneurs who attended, we are convinced that the training was relevant and of benefit,” she said.
“We look forward to updates from the women as they apply the technologies in their businesses, all our speakers and trainers are available to support those in need. The women are also keen to set up a network, to share experiences, and even source services from others in the group,” Govender concluded.
– CAJ News