Ya Basadi hopes to strengthen women’s role in the technological industry.   

Wits University’s Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct has established a women-centric programmecalled Ya Basadi. The year-long programme aims to help 12 female entrepreneurs grow their businesses through the integration of technology 

The programme will help female entrepreneurs incorporate digital innovation into their businesses, based on their unique and individual needs, in order to improve their efficiency and market reach.  

Ya Basadi was launched on Tuesday, August 11, and according to Khwezi Fudu Cenenda, Ya Basadi’s programme manager, the first week of workshops were “well attended and received great feedback”. 

The programme is free for the 12 entrepreneurs, as it’s fully funded by JP Morgan, a financial services firm, who’s foundation funds the development of entrepreneurs and small businesses across the globe. 

The course comes at a time when the growth of small businesses is vital for South Africa, with the covid-19 Small, Medium and Micro Enterprise (SMME) relief fund currently aiding 1497 SMME’s in need. 

Ya Basadi was essentially created as a response to women not being central in the technological space. According to Women in Tech ZA, which showcases South African women in the technology industry, women occupy only 23% of all tech jobs in South Africa.  

Cenenda told Wits Vuvuzela, “We hope to raise women’s contribution and allow women to play a bigger role.” 

The holistic programme will include businesstechnology and entrepreneurial skill development workshops, which will be facilitated by experienced entrepreneurs in order to provide context and perspective.  

Mia van ZylYa Basidi’s coordinator for makerspace training and coachingsaysOur team of digital hardware development entrepreneurs/facilitators will use a combination of online teaching, and physical and experiential learning.”

The programme will also facilitate the development of a new minimum viable product that will satisfy their consumers, and will entail a six-week industry immersion, in which the entrepreneurs will interact and learn from people within their industry. 

The entrepreneurs come from a ranging variety of industries, such as finance and education, and are predominantly based in Johannesburg, with only two operating outside the city in Pietermaritzburg and Port Elizabeth. 

The women were required to meet certain criteria, such as having an already existing women-led or majorityowned business that generates income, and had to provide a strong motivation as to how they could digitally transform their business.   

Cenenda hopes that the programme will be the first of many“We’re only supporting 12 women now, but if we could run this on an ongoing basis, we could support a lot more.” 

FEATURED IMAGE: Wits’ very own Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct has launched a women-centric entrepreneurial programme focused on digital innovation, and is helping 12 entrepreneurs incorporate technology into their businesses. Picture: File