Entries are now open for the recently launched LeadTech Incubation Programme, a continental initiative by Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) and the Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P) in Morocco, to support early-stage African women-led digital startups with the tools they need for their growth and success.
The new programme was unveiled for the first time during the AWIEF 2020 International Women’s Day event in Lagos on March 9. The programme is motivated by the fact that despite Africa being one of the fastest-growing technology markets in the world, women’s participation in the technology sector remains considerably low.
Based on their shared belief that entrepreneurship and women’s leadership are key drivers in transforming Africa, the 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.
LeadTech offers participants tailored training and capacity building; three weeks residency at UM6P in Morocco; space and infrastructure, including Living Labs, Digital Lab, Data Center, Prototyping Labs; world-class mentors and experts to work with them; five months virtual incubation; and venture showcase at AWIEF 2020.
Ms 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”.
Ms Lamia Housni, Head of P-Curiosity Lab at UM6P, explained that the “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”.
According to her, “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.”
The programme is open to early-stage female digital startup leaders who are 18 years of age or older and residing in any African country.
Participants are expected to be innovative and have a scalable offer that integrates digital technologies into the process. They should be passionate, committed, and have the capacity to engage fully in the programme.
Application for the LeadTech programme can be made at this link: https://leafunder.um6p.ma/leadtech
Application closes on April 24, 2020.
More information can be obtained from Ms Astou Sene at: Astou.SENE@um6p.ma or from Ms Beryl Visser at: Berylvisser@awieforum.org
AWIEF is a not-for-profit and pan-African women economic empowerment organization which nurtures and actively promotes women innovation and entrepreneurship through its development programmes, accelerators, and networking events, including the annual AWIEF conference, exhibition and awards, which is said to be Africa’s largest women entrepreneurship event. AWIEF says it has a track record in designing and implementing bespoke women entrepreneurship programmes and capacity building in Africa. It has established corporate partnerships, including with commercial banks, telecommunication companies, and other multinational corporations across the continent, and globally.
Inaugurated by King Mohammed VI on January 12, 2017, the UM6P is an institution oriented towards applied research and innovation. The university aims to tackle challenges in research, innovation and education in Africa, and particularly in Morocco focusing on industrialization, food security and sustainable development. The university aims to position itself among world-renowned universities in its fields. Committed to economic and human development, the university puts research, innovation and entrepreneurship at the service of the development of the African continent.