Bekele Stresses Opening Up The Business Sector To Women And Youth In The Age Of The Digital Revolution at the 2019 Crans Montana Forum
At a high-level International meeting of African Women’s Forum, organized by Crans Montana, Sophia Bekele addressed a room of delegates sharing her thoughts and experiences about being an entrepreneur and women-in-tech as well as the success of the Miss.Africa Digital foundation she runs.
The forum’s aim was to highlight African Women’s experiences, which can be described as life-enhancing and contribute to the global development and integration process. The forum ran from November 14 to 16 in Brussels (Belgium) in association with the New Leaders for Tomorrow community.
The meeting discussed African Woman as a “Born Entrepreneur” who clearly brings an innovative approach to issues concerning the challenges of employment and inclusive development in our societies. It also sought to find answer to the strategies of how we can facilitate the necessary synergies between businesses, women and the training of youth in order to build sustainable economic growth?
Bekele touched on ways to leverage the strengths of the African women and youth to drive business and entrepreneurship through use of technology. She stated that ” women are a highly visible part of the African economy, thus they run it, and this can be seen from testimonies in major African media covering Women’s work in all sectors of the economy. Our Miss.Africa digital 300 Plus women led initiatives also adds to this testimony”.
She noted, ” just before I sat to speak here, I saw an alert from my staff on my on my tablet, where I was informed via a retweet from our past Miss.Africa Digital Seed -Fund from Ghana – ‘Kumasi Hive’ – were voted in as a finalist in the Equals-in-Tech award led by ITU, a United Nations Telecom outfit. Miss.Africa Digital was recognized as the same few years ago by the same awards. Our winners therefore are tweeting thanking us – Miss.Africa digital- for this early opportunity we gave them to be where they are now” , Bekele shared with audience.
Bekele went on “Therefore, as the our honorable Chairwoman here was asking us to relate our most proud moments, I would say this is worthy of a mention, as well as the many testimonies we have on our website from women and girls across Africa that benefited from our training or seed-fund grant awards, as well as being empowered by our continued partnerships. Thus, setting the stage to benefit someone and to further see such successful role modeling is one the proudest moment in this work that I do. ”
Expressing her confidence in women-in-tech, Bekele cited examples from her own foundation where the past 4 year annual competition seed fund of the Miss.Africa Digital program has seen an amazing growth. Thus, the impact of their work ranging between web and mobile app development, graphic design and entrepreneurship has created numerous opportunities for women and girls throughout Africa. This includes the Miss.Africa Ambassadors who go and champion not only our work, but use our established social media and network platforms to champion and share their own vision and work.
“Sub-Saharan Africa has shown highest number of female startup entrepreneurs relative to established businesses at 11 percent. Even our yearly Miss.Africa Digital competition exhibits a high number of application from this area, the rate of female entrepreneurship is higher in Africa than in any other region of the world thus women in the private sector represent a powerful source of economic growth and opportunity.” she said.
Women are very quick to adapt to the new digital platforms and form part of the biggest users of the emerging technologies. Thus digital technologies can enhance women’s access to finance, with mobile banking and fin-tech innovations, Bekele asserted.
Bekele concluded saying whereas challenges of Women in Digital and TechPreneruship in ‘Africa’ still exists, these will be solved with time, and urged the audience for the need to building synergies between businesses, women & training of youth to continue investing heavily in girls and young women, so they can dream, tinker, experiment, and invent to be tomorrow’s social innovators, disruptors.