Meet the iHub’s Women in Business Cohort 1

By Sheilah Birgen
iHub
  Published 20 Nov 2019
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At the iHub, we are on a mission to grow the number of socially and economically empowered women entrepreneurs who run sustainable businesses working in the technology sector in Kenya. We’ve initially announced this during International Women's Day this year, opened our call for applications in July and the program kicked off in September.

The iHub Women In Business program has three key objectives:

  • To strengthen the capacity of women entrepreneurs to own and lead sustainable businesses working in the tech sector
  • To increase the number of women-owned and women-led companies working in the tech sector that can handle big money projects
  • To strengthen collaboration between different actors in the tech and innovation sector in order to utilise the learning and perspectives generated by the Women in Business program to make evidence-based and credible contributions to relevant national and global policy discourses.

The program kicked off with eight women led startups. The startups have been going through hands on and practical sessions on Legal, Financial, business modelling, technology infrastructure, product development and management sessions.

We will be writing monthly stories about their businesses. Here are the entrepreneurs in the program:

Ms. Terry W. Macharia, Founder & Managing Partner (I.T Security).

Terry’s professional objective is to utilize her knowledge, skills and experience, to be part of a working nation that participates in the economic, political and social development of our societies. Terry has over Six (6) years of experience in the I.T industry having worked as a System Administrator, Systems Consultant (Infrastructure and I.T security) and Project Manager. She brings a whole wealth of experience and her areas of expertise are; Business Development, Change Management, Strategic Planning & Leadership, Profit Growth, Product Development, Finance & Budgeting, Operations Management and Project management.

Terry has a Master’s of Science in Information Technology (MSc.IT) and Bachelor’s degree in Business Information Technology (BBIT) from Strathmore University. Further, she holds the following certifications; Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), Certified Information Systems Audit (CISA) and Certified Information Security

About Secvate Solutions

Secvate Solutions is a software solutions and cyber-security consultancy company. We specialize in providing customized software solutions and I.T Security consultancy services in various industries. We promote the use of information technology in day-to-day business processes in a bid to improve efficiency, maximize on profits, and overall improve the customers’ experience and satisfaction in the product or services they are seeking.

Our end results normally revolve around the creation of a solution suited to the customers’ needs be it a responsive web design, web – based system or even a mobile application. These tend to give the customer fingertip access to the business in question and help provide business intelligence in a bid to aid the decision making process.

Website: https://www.secvate.com

Harriet Kariuki is a co-founder at The Afrijob Network (Afrijob) and in charge of strategy and business development

After graduating from Harvard University (BA) and subsequently going on to complete Master's at Peking University as a Yenching Scholar, Harriet co-founded The Afrijob Network, where they help match fast-growing African companies with top local, regional, and global talent.

They source top talent for short-term, full-time, and remote work positions, and have a wide network of various talent pools (such as Ivy League and elite professional organizations). They currently source both technical (software development, machine learning, artificial intelligence, UI/UX, etc.) and non-technical (strategy, finance, marketing, business development, etc.) talent for African companies spanning various countries across North, South, East, West, and Central Africa - including Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Tanzania, South Africa, Egypt, and Ghana (to name a few).

About The Afrijob Network (Afrijob)

The Afrijob Network They provide African Companies access to a network of top talent from around the world through short-term fellowships, remote work programs, and full-time job opportunities. Afrijob seeks to bridge the current technical and soft skills gap in Kenya and across Africa, by matching companies with top talent from globally competitive universities with experience from leading companies across the world.Our goal is to make African companies globally competitive, and source excellent talent for companies, start-ups, and enterprises in all 54 African countries.

Website: http://www.afrijob.org

Rachel Ndungu, CEO, Biashara Africa

Rachel is a Chartered Marketer with 14 years’ experience in sales and technology. She holds an MSC in International Business Administration from the University of London and a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics & Computer Science (First Class Honors) from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture & Technology.

Rachel, talks and lives everything sales. She believes that the only way to create wealth is to grow sales, without sales you have no company or business and the proven way to achieve sales at scale is to adopt and integrate technology into the sales process.

During her free time, Rachel likes to horse ride.

About Biashara Africa

Biashara Africa is a sales technology startup headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya with focus on the adoption of technology to create sustainable livelihoods and employment by empowering African small-scale enterprises to grow.

With an African working age population of over 50%, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) remain the primary job creation engine and source of livelihood, accounting for over 80% of firms and 60% to 70% of employment. Despite the role they play; these enterprises are economically fragile with 70% to 80% of them failing within 5 years mainly due to low sales/ revenue, informal operations and lack of data. This is the challenge, Biashara Africa is solving. Our sales technology solution offers a unique combination of a multichannel sales platform to widen market and customer reach, business records management and data-driven insights to inform business decisions whilst allowing enterprises have a direct relationship with their customers.

Website: https://biasharaafrica.com

Gathoni Njoroge – CEO and Founder, Pink Sapphire Technologies

She is an IT professional with over 15years of experience both in Kenya and the US. She is also a wife and mother of 3 very energetic children, currently running a cybersecurity start-up and just learning the ropes about that entrepreneurial journey.

Gathoni loves spending time with her family and also attending women in technology events, especially those that cover cybersecurity as well as cooking, traveling and a fan of reggae music . Her nickname is “The Google” as folks seems to be able to get all sorts of information that they ask of her, she hopes to one day capitalize on this.

About Pink Sapphire

Pink Sapphire Technologies is an IT solutions company that mainly focuses on cybersecurity. We focus on awareness and training on cybersecurity topics to various organizations. We are still young but hope to learn from mentors and networking events that we attend to better our knowledge. Cybersecurity affects everyone and there is a shortage of professionals to keep up with the rate technology is growing and thus we also hope to train women from non-IT backgrounds on being cybersecurity professionals by training them on cybersecurity essentials. We are currently looking for funding to be able to run a lab for these trainings.

Website: http://www.pinksapphiretech.com

Muthoni Mwangi- Founder & CEO of Kladika

Muthoni Mwangi is a proud alumnus of the University of Nairobi where she graduated with a Bsc. Computer Science in 2016. In the four years in university, she was an active member of Nairobi University Computer Science Student Association (NUCOMSSA) in which she became the vice-chair of the association 2015-2016, with the major role of linking students with the administration and companies in the same industries. She was also active at starting the Girls In Technology Program which had a major goal of making girls in high school get interested in Tech with the hope they’ll choose Computer Science when they get to University.

She made the decision to be an entrepreneur after reading Richard Branson’s book, which inspired her by how he was able to turn his ideas into different ventures and created one of the biggest companies in the world, Virgin. She says she was encouraged as she had written down so many ideas since she was 16 years old. In her final year at University, she discovered that she always took so many screenshots of outfits from Instagram or even when watching a movie, with the hope that one day she will find the exact outfit and buy it, that’s when it dawned on her that there was a lack of an online aggregated platform where people could easily search for outfits and buy from different brands and that’s how the idea of Kladika came about. Starting the company at the tender age of 22, really pushed Muthoni out of her comfort zone,she had to learn all aspects of running a business from business development, marketing, customer care and while still handling software development. According to her, “This has been the most self- improvement exercise I have gone through and no matter how challenging the journey has been, I wouldn’t change it for anything.”

About Kladika

Kladika was founded in Jan 2017, after they realized that, Fashion Retail is highly fragmented in Kenya, with numerous different small medium enterprises (SMEs) operating in all the major cities. There’s lack of an aggregated place to buy all fashion products; apparel, footwear, accessories, beauty & cosmetics.This fragmentation makes it so inconvenient for customers as they have to move from one store to another looking for various products to buy.Hence they addressed this problem through a marketplace solution. They give the retailers space to sell their products both online and offline, giving our customers a chance to buy different products from different merchants with just a click of a button. Our target customers are both male and female at the age of 23-40, who are fashion enthusiastic but live a very busy lifestyle and would appreciate the convenience of an online alternative.

At the end of 2017, they started the Kladika Soko Sales, which were pop-ups organized in different malls with the purpose of bringing in different vendor's in one place to sell and interact with customers as at the end of the day, shopping is a social experience. We have been able to organize up to 8 pop-ups in different malls, such as Capital Centre, TRM, The Point, Prestige Plaza, Tmall and Nextgen mall.

At the beginning of this year, Kladika was selected to pitch at Startup Turkey Top 100 Demo Day. We’ve being featured in different local Newspapers such as, ‘The Standard’ and ‘People's Daily’. Currently they are in the process of integrating the 2 models which are really excited about as they believe they’ll revolutionize the retail space in general. That’s why they are excited to be part of the IHub Women in Business Program.

Hafsa Ali, Co- founder of Globofuse

Hafsa is a firm believer of Pan Africanism, meeting our Continents true potential, encouraging and utilizing our many talented youth and fusing the gap between Africa and the rest of the world.

She founded Globofuse as a solution to a pain point she had personally experienced as a millennial entrepreneur. It had come to her realization that we needed to provide an opportunity to our many talented youth. Having discussions and touring universities, she realized in a country were there were minimal opportunities for post graduates, they ended up either over worked or didn’t get the work experience opportunity at all.

During the start up of Globofuse they came to the realization that the majority of IT students had an impressive portfolio of skills that they had accumulated before they had even graduated, they needed to not only expose this talent but also nurture it. They are working on a virtual platform to give home grown tech talent the exposure they need for job opportunities around the world.

About Globofuse:

Globofuse aims to provide fast, reliable technical assistance to global tech firms, using the most talented software engineers we sell solutions & results.

By providing fast response, informed expertise, and building consistently high-quality tech products, globofuse aims to generate enough satisfied repeat clients.

Globofuse has a database of thousands of IT graduates and counting. With the combination of organically enthusiastic Young IT professionals and national/international expertise they want to be a harvesting ground for innovation and research, providing local solutions such as systems reform as well as Global solutions, in result fusing the digital gap.

Reina Kimeu – Founder & CEO Sugar Punch Beauty.

Caroline Reina Kimeu is a former model who was a Miss Kenya finalist in her early 20's and a Fashion and Beauty Editor at Kenya’s leading women’s digital magazine, Zumi Kenya for 3 years. She also holds a Bachelor Of Commerce Degree from the University Of Nairobi and a Level 6 CIM Digital Diploma in Professional Marketing. Reina is also an entrepreneur, she founded and is currently the CEO of Sugar Punch Beauty, one of Kenya’s leading digital makeup and skin care companies.

About Sugar Punch Beauty.

Sugar Punch Beauty is a Kenyan online makeup and skincare store that sells makeup and skincare products from around the world to East African women. The company was registered in April 2017. They started by selling through Facebook and Instagram then created a website to accommodate the orders.

When they started they were selling lip products then demand for other products from their loyal customers pushed them to diversify their offerings, they listened to their cistomers’s needs and slowly diversified into face, eye and skin care products. In 2019, they started stocking Kenyan beauty brands to ensure that they support other local entrepreneurs by exposing their brands and products to their ever growing online community and customers.

In their true customer centric approach, Sugar Punch We have also set up a small shop where customers who would like to pick up their orders are able to walk in, test the products and also buy.

A link to the website: https://www.sugarpunchbeauty.co.ke/

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