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Tshimologong to help grow female-owned tech businesses

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Wits University’s Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct kicks off its inaugural Ya Basadi in 4IR programme, with the financial support of J.P. Morgan. Ya Basadi, meaning ‘for women’ in Setswana, is an acceleration programme that will enable Tshimologong to support established small businesses in transitioning into both technology and/or technology-enabled companies with the purpose of optimising their operations quickly and efficiently. The programme is targeting primarily women-owned businesses which are already trading and have a clear understanding of how tech can scale their businesses. Ya Basadi will also include underserved female entrepreneurs from low income backgrounds.

Khwezi Fudu Cenenda, Enterprise Development Manager at Tshimologong, says the Ya Basadi programme taking place this month is well timed as the country dedicates the month of August to saluting women: “Entrepreneurship is fast becoming a chosen way to counteract the low economic growth and increasing unemployment. This is particularly prevalent when looking at the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) research, which notes that 72% of micro-enterprises and 40% of small enterprises are currently owned by women. Unfortunately, these businesses often require funding as well as support in terms of digital transformation.”

Of significance is the imminent rise of the Fourth Industrial revolution (4IR) and how this can be transitioned into each business. Developed with three main components –  technology training, experiential learning through immersions in industry and the development of a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), the programme will enable participants to understand how to apply and adopt new technology into their businesses such as Machine Learning (ML), data analytics, robotics and Internet of Things (IoT); this can lead to growth with smarter data-analysis, rapid prototyping and understanding of adaptive manufacturing principles. The ultimate goal of the programme is to help women-owned businesses scale, generate more value and create employment in Johannesburg economies.

The year-long Ya Basadi programme will consist of technology master classes in 11 areas of technology such as app and web development, 3D printing, AI, robotics, IoT, VR and cybersecurity. In addition to this, the entrepreneurs will get practical, on the job experience in industry, learning circles for the cohort to share experiences and will conclude with at least a MVP being developed for or by each start-up.  To partner with Ya Basadi and to get more information on the programme contact Khwezi Cenenda on khwezi@tshimologong.joburg.

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