LeadTech programme seeking entries from women-led digital startups

Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) has partnered with Mohammed VI Polytechnic University, Morocco (UM6P), an institution that  puts research, innovation and entrepreneurship at the service of the development of the African continent, to launch LeadTech Incubation Programme. The new programme was unveiled for the first time during the AWIEF 2020 International Women’s Day event on March 9, 2020 in Lagos, Nigeria.

Despite Africa being one of the fastest growing technology markets in the world, women’s participation in the technology sector remains considerably low. LeadTech is a continental programme to support early stage African women-led digital startups with tools needed for their growth and success.

Sharing the belief that entrepreneurship and women’s leadership are key drivers in transforming Africa, the Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P) through its entity P-Curiosity Lab, in partnership with AWIEF, will support 15 African young female entrepreneurs as part of the 2020 LeadTech cohort.

Irene Ochem, Founder and CEO of AWIEF, said: “We are extremely excited and proud to work with UM6P to map the path for women empowerment in the technology sector in Africa. With LeadTech, we will build a pan-African network of female tech leaders who will serve as role models and demystify the notion that women are not as capable for leadership in technology”.

Lamia Housni, Head of P-Curiosity Lab at UM6P said: “LeadTech programme is designed, in partnership with AWIEF, to strengthen African women’s presence in the technology sector by selecting and incubating promising and innovative tech startups in Education, Healthcare, Finance, Environment, and Biotechnology”.  Housni further noted, “The launch of this programme comes at a particular moment when our African citizens are having to change their habits and isolate themselves to reduce the spread of the global pandemic coronavirus disease, COVID-19. LeadTech programme becomes more than ever necessary for the development of our continent since it places digital as a solution to deliver services to our communities, essential to their socio-economic inclusion, environmental health, and sustainability of their activities.”

Through LeadTech, the partners aim to build a pan-African network of female tech leaders who will serve as role models and demystify the notion that women are not as capable for leadership. This will be achieved through: tailored training and capacity building; 3-week residency at UM6P in Morocco; space and infrastructure support (Living Labs, Digital Lab, Data Center, Prototyping Labs); availability of credible mentors and experts to work with those taking part in the program; 5-month virtual incubation; and Venture showcase at AWIEF 2020.

The LeadTech programme is open to early stage female digital startup leaders who are 18 years of age or older and residing in any African country. They will have to demonstrate that they have an innovative, scalable offer that integrates digital technologies into the process.

The deadline for applications is on April 24, 2020.


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