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Women in tech encouraged to #POWERUP

Women in tech encouraged to #POWERUP

Innovator Trust’s 6th Annual Women In Tech Awards commenced with red-carpet interviews, while guests embodied the spirit of African Glam.

Speakers and panelists sparked thought-provoking debates at this hybrid event attended by over 150 people, held at the iconic Vodacom World Dome. The aim was to motivate attendees to take action and #PowerUp.

190 black small business entrepreneurs in the technology sector have been successfully incubated by the Innovator Trust over the last few years. The core goal of the Innovator Trust is to give women entrepreneurs access to locations for connection, representation, support, and empowerment. These businesswomen are leveraging technology to drive change and make significant contributions.

The challenge set for women in the tech entrepreneurship space this year was to #PowerUp and challenge the status quo. Tashline Jooste, chief executive officer of the Innovator Trust acknowledges that “being a woman in tech in South Africa is no easy feat.”

Jooste discussed important issues such as under-representation, the devastation of covid, and Gender-Based Violence. Despite this, she encouraged those in attendance to find solutions in the face of adversity. “Let’s use our superpower as innovators using technology, and let’s “power up” a new dawn for us as women and entrepreneurs and “flip the script” on what it means to be a woman.”

The keynote address by Dr Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi brought the gravity of our responsibility to one another as women into the room. Dr Fraser-Moleketi delivered a weighty address about women’s realities in South Africa, continuing a thread that emerged throughout the day.”People in entrepreneurship in the ICT sector can look at the tools to deal with the violence of women and children in South Africa,” reiterating that “the world’s war on women is a personal protest.”

Co-host Iman Rapetti skillfully navigated the conversation about “The Power of Her Seat at the Table” in the first-panel discussion. Icon, Professor Thuli Madonsela demonstrated how awareness is key to some of our most significant challenges. “All the battles you were confronted with in your early journey were a blessing. They help you grow your psychological and social muscles to fight greater battles. It boils down to being aware of our own emotions.”

Fellow panelist Heather Sonn noted, “there is no substitute for the inner work. Make really good friends with yourself.”

The executive head of BBBE and Transformation for the Vodacom Group, Lynda Marthinus, alluded to the appalling stats on women-owned businesses in South Africa and said, ”Never apologise for being female. That does not define who you are! You’re a business owner, and being a woman is a bonus. Never apologise for being great and never for being you.”

Panelist Storme McDonald, COO of RMB noted that, “Having women in key leadership positions will enforce those changes that make the corporate space more inclusive for women.”

Vodacom managing executive for Public Enterprises, Poppy Tshabalala, reminded us that: “Women can bring everyone together. It’s a fact that most successful organisations and countries are woman-led. A wise woman builds a home. See the world as your home.”

After excellent keynote addresses ranging from an address to ICT SMMEs delivered by acting director-general for the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies, to a one-on-one discussion on Women’s Mental Wellness with clinical psychologist, Dr Lwanele Khasu, the day culminated in the grand awards ceremony and a congratulatory address by former UN Women Executive Director, Dr Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

In her congratulatory address, she remarked, “Technology has tremendous potential to make education more accessible and affordable for the girl child, no matter where they are.”

Attendees were then directed to the nominees and winners of the Innovator Trust’s Women In Tech Appreciation Experience.

Enterprise Development Top Female Achiever First Quarter 2022

  • 1st: Wahseema Roberts & Nicole Miller – Temo Digital, Western Cape
  • 2nd: Nompumelolo Mahlangu – Synergy Trading and Projects, Gauteng
  • 3rd: Yandisa Sokhanyile – Konecta

Enterprise Development Top Female Achiever Highest Percentage Growth 2021/2022

  • 1st: Nomphomelolo Mahlangu – Synergy Trading and Projects, Gauteng
  • 2nd: Wahseema Roberts & Nicole Miller – Temo Digital, Western Cape
  • 3rd: Mamokete Thlola – Serumula Business Solutions, Gauteng

Enterprise Development Top Female Achiever Highest Turn-Over Figures 2021/2022

  • Kim Palmer – On the Ball College, Western Cape

 Enterprise Development Top Female Employment Creator 2021/2022

  • Nomphomelolo Mahlangu – Synergy Trading and Projects, Gauteng

Youth Entrepreneurship Programme Top Female Achiever 2022

  • Lerato Moisi, Western Cape

Supplier Development Pinnacle Award

  • LIlian Kistan – Tekwecomm, KwaZulu Natal

Enterprise Development Pinnacle Award Women In Tech 2022

  • Nomphomelolo Mahlangu – Synergy Trading and Projects, Gauteng


Clare Petra Matthes

Hi, I'm Clare and I am a freelance writer and Tech journalist as well as the owner and founder of where I review tech devices and also cover emerging technology news. Outside of I write for a number of publications and have regular tech slots on chaiFM radio station and eNCA's Tech Matters national breakfast TV news show.

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