Gwiji Co, a Kenyan startup that empowers low income women from the slums by providing them with access to decent and well paying cleaning jobs in suburban estates has won the Aurora Tech Award which recognizes women founders challenging inequality in Information Technology.
Launched in May 2022 by Elizabeth Mwangi, Gwiji connects cleaners in Nairobi’s slums with local clients. Since inception, the starup has been able to complete more than 2,000 cleaning orders and increased a cleaner’s income from $2 to $10 per day.
According to the founder, Elizabeth Mwangi, the startup has been able to economically empower more than 150 women who live in extreme poverty in Nairobi by connecting them to over 500 clients.
Mwangi was among the 11 African women shortlisted for the awards. Her win is a testament to the rising number of women innovators and the critical role that female innovators are playing in Africa’s development.
These women are the breadwinners in their families and finding work ensures that their families eat, and their children go to school,”Mwangi said.
“This year’s award not only recognizes the efforts of these remarkable founders but supports the winners with cash prizes to help them reach their goals,” said Ekaterina Smirnova, executive director of the Aurora Tech Award.
The winning project will get a $30 000 cash prize as well as mentorship resources to contribute to the start-ups’ further development.
According to Smirnova,Mwangi’s win sends a powerful message that women can make a difference in the tech industry and overcome gender inequality. “These women are proof that with hard work, determination, and creativity, anything is possible. We are proud to support them and look forward to seeing the impact they will continue to make in their communities.”
In the second place was Iva Gumnishka from Bulgaria , Her startup Humans in the Loop won a $20 000 cash prize. Humans in the Loop, provides data annotation services for computer vision to refugees and people in conflict situations.
Rocket Learning, created by Namya Mahajan from India, won third place and a $10 000 prize for organising digital teacher-parent communities to make early childhood education accessible to low-income families.
Aurora Tech Award was founded in 2021 by inDrive,a global mobility and urban services platform headquartered in the US. The company supports women entrepreneurs leveraging technology to develop their communities, with the overarching goal of challenging gender inequality in IT.
The Aurora Teach Award aims to ecognise women who have become the driving force behind development and that connect communities to vital educational, health, and financial services.