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Cape Town and Stockholm Team Up to Support Women in Tech

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Stockholm – the birthplace of fast-growing tech companies like Skype, Spotify, Mojang (the makers of Minecraft), and King (creators of Candy Crush) – is joining forces with Cape Town, Africa’s Tech Capital, to launch Cape Town / Stockholm Connect (CSC).

CSC aims to bring together companies, developers, customers, investors, entrepreneurs, and institutions from across South Africa and Sweden via a series of activities. The meetings will serve as a meeting point and provide participants with well-organised matchmaking opportunities and company visits while also supporting individual requests.

According to Håkan Juholt, the Swedish Ambassador to South Africa, “It’s time to accelerate and intensify business exchange between Stockholm and Cape Town. Geographical boundaries don’t exist in the digital world, but we have identified gaps when it comes to knowledge and understanding about the respective markets. By connecting these two nodes of digital excellence, we want to close those gaps and create new business opportunities.”

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Cape Town / Stockholm Connect (CSC) will be hosting a solution-oriented Women in Tech webinar on Thursday, 30 September 2021 to help empower more women into tech as female-owned startups are vastly outnumbered by male owned start-ups.

Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities in the City of Cape Town, Alderman James Vos, adds: “Connecting Cape Town’s startup businesses with other markets across the globe is an important aspect of growing our local economy and creating opportunities for growth and job creation. Cape Town is the startup capital of Africa and, to build on the possibilities we possess, we need to connect with cities such as Stockholm and share knowledge and insights. Cape Town’s tech industry has boomed in recent years and is on the precipice of even greater things. Last year, about R1.2 billion in disclosed investments were pumped into tech start-ups in the metro, across 46 deals – the highest in the country. But for the Mother City’s tech space to realise its full potential, we must strive to create a more diverse sector that really empowers women.”

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The webinar is expected to address challenges such as the many structural inequalities that pervade in the tech sector and society at large, access to venture capital, networks and mentorship and barriers to entry due to traditional gender roles are some examples of obstacles facing female start up entrepreneurs.

Launched earlier this year, CSC is a co-creation platform with the aim of strengthening ties between the tech industry in both countries.

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Topics to be tackled at the event include the latest trends in technology on both continents, whether female tech entrepreneurs receive sufficient support from industries and government, as well as what can be done to create a more equal situation. With the convenors committed to ensuring that the event delivers measurable results, matchmaking and/or networking opportunities will be taking place during the breakout sessions, the foci of which will be raising capital, scaling multi-nationally, and the female quotient.

It is envisaged that, in the long term, the discussions arising from the event will lead to intensified networking and cross-border collaboration between Swedish and South African female-owned startups and entrepreneurs.

“I hope that women tech entrepreneurs from Sweden and South Africa start a conversation that leads to change and hopefully concrete business opportunities too. The digital world sees no borders, we build it together, let’s make sure that we make it gender equal!” added Juholt.

In South Africa, only 26% of tech startups are founded by women. What’s more, according to the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, only 10% of the country’s startups have at least one female founder.  This is just one of the many examples of gender inequalities that pervade the tech sector of both countries. The event will address these and other issues such as the lack of mentorship for women in tech, the scarcity of investment into female-owned startups, and barriers to entry due to traditional gender roles.

“With Cape Town being the ‘Tech Capital of Africa’, it has an important role to play in fostering inclusivity and bringing more women into the tech sector. Although some strides have been made to advance women in tech, more needs to be done, which is why we fully support initiatives such as these. I strongly believe that this will not only help introduce new viewpoints and ideas to the sector but will also impact both countries’ potential for economic growth,” concludes Wesgro’s Acting CEO, Yaw Peprah.

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Milcah Lukhanyu
Milcah Lukhanyu
I cover tech news across Africa. Drop me an email at [email protected]

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