Huawei has officially closed out its Women4Tech digital skills training programme, held in partnership with the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies, with a session focusing on how South African SMMEs can benefit from app development.
The free online course was designed to help tech-forward women entrepreneurs advance their skills and apply new technologies to grow, improve, and digitise their businesses.
More than 100 participants attended the course, which comprised of three sessions: cloud computing and how it benefits SMMEs, digital marketing for business success, especially in an increasingly competitive online market space, and an introduction to app development and how mobile apps can benefit SMMEs.
Tech entrepreneur Ropah Musvaire, CEO and co-founder of Kweza Technologies, spoke about her experience in using technology to benefit township Spaza shops, giving them the power of collective buying, ensuring they can source stock conveniently, at the best prices and have it delivered directly to their store. During the early parts of the pandemic, Kweza built a USSD platform that enabled township communities to receive food hampers.
“It was exciting to see the uptick in technology while we were in that crisis,” she says.
Serial entrepreneur Jacqueline Rogers, creator of the My Pregnancy Journey app and winner in the 2020 Apps UP competition spoke about her journey in creating the app, which also earned her a place among Africa’s top innovators by the World Health Organisation.
Like her first business, she started My Pregnancy Journey because of frustrations she felt during her own pregnancy.
“I started my first business when I fell pregnant and couldn’t meet my fashion needs,” she says. “Later, I realised that there were no tech platforms guiding South African women through their pregnancy with locally relevant education and health information, services and products.”
Not having any app development experience herself, she physically mapped out what she wanted from the app and took it to various developers before settling on one that worked.
“Things really changed when we moved onto the Huawei AppGallery,” she says, adding that winning the Apps UP competition allowed her to complete the app and make it a viable business.
The session ended with members of the Huawei team explaining how they support the development of apps for local businesses.
“With our ecosystem, we aim to support you as a customer and a business,” says Mahlakane Mafoko, marketing manager at Huawei Mobile Services Southern Africa. “Once your app is built, we can help by offering facilities for ads, paid promotion, and joint operations.”
Michael Bratt, multimedia journalist and marketing manager at Huawei Mobile Services Southern Africa, touched on the work that Huawei’s doing with its developer programme as well as its Apps UP app development competition.
Apps UP, which is now in its second year, offers developers a share of $1-million if their apps are chosen as winners. For the first time, in 2021, it will feature a ‘Women in Tech’ category. Entries for the competition close on 5 September 2021.
“Attending the Huawei Women4Tech digital skills training programme has been an eye opener for me in so many ways. As a start-up business in the digital space the content and resources made available to us for free was invaluable,” says attendee Slindile Khanyile, head of digital publications and co-director at Likhanyile Tutoring & Media. “As an online media platform, digital marketing gave me ideas on how to grow brand awareness and audience reach. The insights from the app session gave us a good foundation for when we eventually embark on our own app journey.”
“We’re incredibly happy with how the Women4Tech digital skills training programme was received by the incredible women entrepreneurs who attended, we are convinced that the training was relevant and of benefit,” says Vanashree Govender, media relations and communication manager at Huawei South Africa. “We look forward to updates from the women as they apply the technologies in their businesses, all our speakers and trainers are available to support those in need. The women are also keen to set up a network, to share experiences, and even source services from others in the group.”