Barn Khayelitsha recently hosted TechWomen, an international delegation of 40 of the world’s top women in tech. TechWomen’s purpose it is to develop and mentor aspiring young women from the community by providing them with opportunities and skills that they would not have ordinarily come by.
The delegation saw Twitter’s Vice President of Engineering, Nandini Ramani, highlighting the need for youth women in tech to be supported and guided by individuals and organisations alike.
Barn Khayelitsha, a community-lead incubator with a strong focus on supporting and accelerating women and youth in tech and business, and proud host of the delegation, is proving to be gaining traction in this area.
“Since the announcement of Barn Khayelitsha’s Proof of Concept last year, this milestone event finds us one step closer to achieving this goal,” says Chris Vermeulen, Programme Lead for Enterprise Development at the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi), of which the Barn Khayelitsha is part of.
Continues Vermeulen, “Developing women and youths is an ongoing focus at the Barn, and is supported by programmes such as Girl Hype, a programme aimed at developing school-going youths in coding and, more specifically, mobile app development. This is in answer to the CiTi’s key strategic themes of supporting better living, sustainable business, a smarter planet and smart cities.”
As sponsor of Barn Khayelitsha and its programmes, the Western Cape Government is, once again, proving its strong support of a thriving culture of entrepreneurship and economic growth in Cape Town, especially in the tech and innovation sector.
As Helen Zille, Premier of the Western Cape said at the Premier’s Entrepreneurship Recognition Award last year, “We agree with the National development Plan that small and medium-size firms (SMEs) are the key to economic growth and job creation in South Africa. However, this is only possible if South Africa offers a welcoming and enabling environment for entrepreneurship.”
“It is gratifying to see the vision demonstrated by the Western Cape Government begin to come to fruition,” says Ian Merrington, CEO of CiTi. “We are enabling young women from the community to enhance their computer programming skills, and thereby providing a sustainable platform for growth and empowerment for women and youths in tech.”