As we aim to spotlight some of the best technologists, innovators, CEOs, and powerful women holding leadership roles in the technology industry in order to acknowledge and reward strong women who are advancing technology, it would be remiss to not highlight someone I truly admire and who I have had the absolute pleasure of working with, Hilda Moraa.
I met Hilda when she was still running Weza Tele, a startup she built and managed whilst still studying at Strathmore. Weza Tele is a mobile solution firm in the distribution, supply chain and financial services.
“The idea for the project came to me when I was working as a data analyst at a large global beverage and distribution company. I had attempted to innovate a product known as “MyOrder” together with some friends but we failed. Weza Tele won the top prize at the 2011 Mobile BootCamp and in 2015 financial firm AFB purchased it for KES 166 million. My role in this acquisition also involved designing the strategy of new channel innovations in the SME space as well as identifying the right strategic partners including the right external expertise i.e. legal, tax and compliance needed to successfully close the deal,” she recalled.
Hilda is currently the CEO of Pezesha, a digital financial ecosystem connecting and empowering the underserved in Africa through its robust value chain that entails financial education, credit decisions and connecting MSMEs with affordable financing. As CEO, she is responsible for overall strategy, innovations, talent acquisitions, resource management, partnerships and implementing the organization’s vision, mission, and overall direction. She led Pezesha to be the first company to exit from the CMA regulatory sandbox and get approval, a great fete.
Her ultimate goal is that Pezesha’s digital financial platform can address the $328 billion financing gap that exists for small and medium-sized businesses in Sub Saharan Africa — and that this, in turn, will create millions of job opportunities for African youths.
Hilda is a member of the Board of Directors at Konza City- The Silicon Savannah. In 2015, she was featured as one of the top 40 under 40 women and Quartz Africa’s top 30 innovators in Africa in 2018. She has continued to champion the local tech, innovation & Entrepreneurship scene in Kenya by supporting and mentoring other young techpreneurs through sharing her lessons, entrepreneurial knowledge and experiences in inspiring ways such as through her first book that was published when she was only 26 years old- “A Kenyan Startup Journey- 10 Key Lessons I learnt. She was a keynote speaker at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in 2015 and in 2019, she was among the few selected to be part of the Obama Leaders Program. She was named as one of the 50, Africa’s most promising innovators by Global Shaker in 2020 and in April 2020, the Loreto Limuru High School alumnus was appointed to the Covid-19 ICT & Innovations Advisory Committee for Kenya.
Hilda is truly a remarkable woman. Her dedication to discipline, structure and routine and her zeal to mentor the next generation of African entrepreneurs makes her one of the most phenomenal women I have ever had the privilege to interact with.
It is not only our responsibility to tell these stories, to document the impact, to drive the inclusion of women in Tech, but it is the greatest honor of our lives to highlight these stories and to talk about these women. If you are a woman in Tech and you would like us to shine a spotlight on your work, please email us on [email protected] and we will be in touch!