German software maker SAP is hosting Africa’s first ever #sheinnovates Festival in Cape Town on 6 – 8 August 2018.
#sheinnovates was founded last year under the UN Women’s initiative Global Innovation Coalition for Change (GICC), a partnership between UN Women and partners from the private sector, academia and non-profit sector. It aims to build awareness of the potential of women-developed innovation, identify barriers and work collaboratively to address such barriers.
The African event, which is in partnership with The Female Quotient and Startupbootcamp AfriTech.
Cathy Smith, MD of SAP Africa, says the initiative is part of the firm’s ongoing mission to boost science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) development among women and girls across Africa.
“Closing the STEM skills gap for the next wave of female tech leaders and entrepreneurs will be essential to strengthening economic growth and further unlocking technology’s capacity for social good,” says Smith. “Having initiatives such as #sheinnovates, SAP hopes to play a leading role in driving the diversity narrative to the broader ecosystem.”
According to the 2017 Global Gender Gap Report, only 13% of SA graduates in the STEM fields are women, despite the country being ranked 19th out of 144 countries.
The Department of Science and Technology has in the past year highlighted the importance of developing necessary scientific and technological skills in the country, with Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane saying that partnerships are key to many of the country’s success in science, maths and innovation.
As part of the initiative SAP Next-Gen will be establishing #sheinnovates Girls’ Lounges at universities globally where young women will be encouraged to pursue STEM education and gain skills as innovators.
Ann Rosenberg, senior VP and global head of SAP Next-Gen notes, “Following the launch of the first South African SAP Next-Gen Lab at the University of Cape Town in April, the new #sheinnovates Girls’ Lounge will provide female students with a space to think, create, and develop innovation-led projects that support girls’ career development in STEM areas while preparing a new generation of female workers for the 21st century economy.”
The #sheinnovates Festival will take place at Startupbootcamp AfriTech in Green Point. Entry is free, but seats are limited. To register visit sheinnovates on sap.com.