Enhancing the Role of Women-owned SMMEs in Innovation

Enhancing the Role of Women-owned SMMEs in Innovation 2016-11-28T16:52:17+00:00

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Moderator: Adv Pria Hassan, Women of Africa, South Africa
Panellist: Ms Nneile Nkholise, iMED Tech Group, South Africa
Panellist: Ms Larissa Uwase, Carl Group, Rwanda
Panellist: Ms Sheila Storey, Nema Bio, South Africa
Panellist: Ms Yolandi Schoeman, Baoberry; Innovation: aWetbox, South Africa
Panellist: Ms Louise Williamson, Mashesha Stoves, South Africa
Panellist: Ms Nosipho Khonkwane, Small Enterprise Development Agency, South Africa
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In over 20 years of democracy, South Africa is still grappling with challenges of transformation. Key to this is gender inequality, and more pronounced in entrepreneurship. The latest Global Entrepreneurship Monitor statistics show that only 6.2 percent of South African adult women are involved in entrepreneurship. While many strides have been made, the gap between male and female entrepreneurs continues to widen. Globally, women make up about 50% of the world population and 40% of the global workforce. However, they own only about 1% of the world’s wealth.

Despite these challenges however, there are many women who continue to beat the odds, producing some of the most impactful technologies that solve real societal challenges. This panel brings together women who have established companies on the back of innovative technology solutions that have won them acclaim around the world. A south African world first, the panel will feature, Nneile Nkholise, CEO of iMED Tech Group, a Bloemfontein-based young South African who went on to win the inaugural WEF “Africa Top Women Innovators Challenge 2016” in Kigali, Rwanda.

The session will thus enquire into four key questions:

  1. What are the unique traits of women who have developed innovative technologies?
  2. What informs their choices of solutions they develop?
  3. What challenges must they overcome to succeed in bringing technologies to market?
  4. What support is available to women-owned SMMEs?
  5. How do we measure up to the world?

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hassanAdv Pria Hassan
Women of Africa, South Africa
Moderator

Adv Pria Hassan is the CEO of Women of Africa (WOA) Investment Group, a company she established in 2005 to enter the traditionally male dominated industry sectors and create the first women’s empowerment group in KZN. In 2007, Pria established WOA Fuels and Oils and expanded the groups portfolio into fuels, minerals, pharmaceuticals, lubricants and energy sectors. Top Black Female Entrepreneur at The Metropolitan Oliver Empowerment Awards in 2011. Women of the year 2012 by CNBC All Africa Business Leader, and the country and regional winner in the Wholesale Sector for the South Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government Award 2014.
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nkholiseMs Nneile Nkholise
iMED Tech Group, South Africa
Panellist

Nneile Nkholise (27), from Thaba Nchu in the Free State is a social entrepreneur and the founder of iMed Tech, that manufactures custom made breast prosthesis using Computer aided design techniques and Additive Manufacturing technologies. She hold a Btech Mechanical engineering degree from Central University of Technology and is currently pursuing her MEng in Mechanical Engineering at Central University of Technology, with her research focus in the applications of Additive Manufacturing in Medicine.One of the finalists in the SAB Foundation Social Innovation awards 2015, and in the development category and people’s choice award. She has been recognised as Africa’s top female innovator at the World Economic Forum on Africa held in Rwanda, 2016. She was also one of the 100 entrepreneurs out of the U.S who were selected to represent their countries at the Global Entrepreneurship summit, 2016.
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uwaseMs Larissa Uwase
Carl Group, Rwanda
Panellist

Larissa Uwase, a Built Environment and Architecture graduate from the College of Science and Technology under the University of Rwanda. She is the Chief Operations Officer of her own company specializing in food processing, the Carl Group ltd, for which she has been awarded the title of “Best Young Entrepreneur” in the “Youth Breaking the Cycle of Poverty” competition, organized by Rwanda’s Ministry of Youth and ICT. One of 5 WEF Africa Top Women Innovators Challenge 2016. Before she started developing her idea, she did different entrepreneurship training under “African Innovation Prize” and an international organization called “These numbers have faces.” Recently, as an entrepreneur in food security, she took part in a participatory slum upgrading research in Kigali aimed at selecting the best project for feeding hungry cities. Larissa is a member of Rwanda’s National Youth Council and of the Bright Future Cornerstone network, as well as vice co-ordinator of the activities of “Les Elites Slum Upgraders” NGO.
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storeyMs Sheila Storey
Nema Bio, South Africa
Panellist

Sheila Storey obtained her BSc (Agric) in 1981 majoring in Entomology and Plant Pathology. In 1985 she obtained an MSc (Agric) in Nematology. After a sojourn as researcher in the then Dept of Agricultural Technical Services in Potchefstroom and Elsenburg as well as lecturing at the University of the Western Cape she established Nemlab in 1987. South Africa’s local fruit industry is continuously seeking for greener pest control solutions. Nema Bio (Pty) Ltd developed, demonstrated and conducted field trials of entomopathogenic nematode-based biological control products based on unique and endemic isolates. Her expertise as a nematologist has led to travels to neighbouring African countries as her nematology expertise is in great demand. Sheila has gained a fair insight into the problems nematodes cause in the agricultural industry. In the last few years her interest has turned to soil health with particular reference to the role beneficial nematodes play in soil health. In this regard she has recently started a Soil Health Support Centre to help growers make the transition from conventional farming to more environmentally friendly agricultural practices.
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schoemanMs Yolandi Schoeman
Baoberry; Innovation: aWetbox, South Africa
Panellist

Yolandi is the founder of Baoberry, an Ecological Engineering Company that develops solutions to address current sustainability challenges. Baoberry is South Africa’s first specialized Ecological Engineering company and has current solutions in water quality improvement and conservation. Her achievements include winning the Gold Eco-Logic Award in the category Eco-Innovation at the Eco-Logic Awards 2015/2016; winner in the Green City startup Challenge 2015 and most recently. She is the founder of the South African Environmental Management Association, EcoNeering Technologies and the Ecological Engineering Institute of Africa (currently the Executive Director) and a DTech Civil Engineering candidate specialising in Industrial Ecology. She has extensive experience in Sustainability Science and Ecological Engineering, including Industrial Symbiosis. Yolandi is also on the list of the Mail and Guardian’s 2015 200 Young South Africans announced earlier in 2015. Yolandi is also a final round winner in the Green City Startup Competition with the AqueouSphere (floating treatment wetland system) she developed. Yolandi also developed the following Ecological Engineering innovations: BaoWetland (Hybrid Constructed Wetland), BaoScapes (Sustainable Landscaping initiative and services), BaoSphere (Industrial Symbiosis innovation), BaoBog (floating treatment wetland system), BaoPod (growth pod). She is currently busy with phytotechnology trials and a publication on the subject. Previous employers include Evraz Highveld Steel and Vanadium Limited, CSIR, SANParks, Singita Lebombo, Private Game Reserves, Engineering Consulting firms and Tertiary Education Institutions.
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williamsonMs Louise Williamson
Mashesha Stoves, South Africa
Panellist

After qualifying as a nature conservationist, Louise has been working in rural communities and environmental education for 15 years , specialising in community projects that enable environmental sustainability and cleaner, greener energy. This professional development positioned me to become an entrepreneur and translate a burgeoning idea into a socially inclusive product and business. I now have a practical mechanism that gives concrete expression to my passion for the environment and social upliftment. Achievements: 2012 ETA awards- Energy savings in the household category winner, 2015 African Energy awards for innovation winner, 2016 GCIP SA –Social impact award, SAB foundation Social innovation award at the Innovation summit winner, GIBS- Top prize for Social innovation at the festival of ideas.
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khonkwaneMs Nosipho Khonkwane
Small Enterprise Development Agency, South Africa
Panellist

Nosipho Khonkwane holds a Btech in industrial engineering and a Masters of Business Leadership (MBL). She has been involved in the enterprise development space for over 15 years and is currently the Executive Manager at SEDA responsible for the SEDA Technology Programme.
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