Women in tech impress

Young women entrepreneurs are making their mark in the digital economy.

Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille discovered this when she visited the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi) in Woodstock on Tuesday 21 August.

She says the women she met are “ambitious, energetic and future-focused young leaders for the Cape”.

One of the women was Salt River-based Lungile Kunene, a boutique owner.

She sat down with the mayor and shared information about her business called Izembatique, which uses technology to grow and attract more customers. Kunene recently opened a fashion shop, the Fashion Journal, at the Salt Circle Arcade. “Although it’s up and running, my partner and I are still doing final touch-ups. We create fashion for locals and tourists, both males and females,” she says.

Kunene is a graduate of CiTi’s Top Tech Tools for Women in Business Programme, supported by the City of Cape Town. The programme is run at the Woodstock and Khayelitsha Bandwidth Barn and supports small women-owned businesses. A total of 25 women have been trained through the programme at CiTi in Woodstock.

CiTi’s head of innovation, Michelle Matthews, says the 10-week programme “helps women business owners to grow their businesses using technology tools that are freely available in a digital economy and become competitive through that”.

De Lille adds: “So far this programme has delivered inspiring results and it is my hope that more women and young people look to this sector where they can use their energy and creativity to break through barriers through technology.”

The mayor’s visit, during Women’s Month, also sought to inspire the young women to become future leaders.

CiTi supports women in technology through career acceleration programmes and business incubation programmes, as well as through ecosystem support through their Bandwidth Barn tech hubs.

De Lille says the successes of CiTi and the women receiving training help build “a more vibrant and diverse economy that will enable Cape Town to be more competitive in the future”.

She also met some of the young women mastering coding and crafting a bright new career for themselves in the world of technology. “I also sat down with Nonkululeko Sogaqa, a young analyst and one of the students of CiTi’s CapaCiTI programmes. She struggled to find work but thanks to the programme she was trained and placed in an internship.

“Today she is a Microsoft Dynamics Nav consultant at GoSolutions. She said to me she found her passion, and the training gave her the extra push to excel.”

De Lille says the information, communication and technology sector is one of the key growth sectors the City has identified to act as a catalyst for investment and job growth in Cape Town.

CiTi has received R9.6m funding in the 2018/19 financial year in support of its programmes.

De Lille encourages all businesswomen, especially women interested in the IT and design sector, to apply for another opportunity. CiTi is currently searching for 20 women entrepreneurs from the Cape Flats to join the September Women in Business Programme. V For more information and to apply, visit http://www.citi.org.za/women-in-business­/