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Four winners of Standard Bank’s Girlcode Hackathon jet off to San Francisco

Standard Bank continues to inspire women who love technology, with four winners of the recent Girlcode Hackathon jetting off to the globally popular Tech Inclusion Conference 2017 in San Francisco on 14 October.

The key objective of the hackathon – an annual event sponsored by Standard Bank that takes place in the first week of August to celebrate Women’s Month – is to develop projects that will make a difference to society.

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The four winners are Valerie Tshiani, Kungela Mzuku, Lorna Nqodi and Fadzai Mupfunya.

The hackathon is run as a collaborative learning experience where everyone walks away with new knowledge and a starter kit to help them continue their journey in exploring the ICT space.

Unfortunately, not enough South African and African women regard tech as a career option,” says Jayshree Naidoo, Head, Standard Bank Incubator at Standard Bank.

“While many would like to have careers in technology, not enough have been actively entering the field. The Hackathon and other concerted efforts to stimulate interest are changing that.”

Standard Bank firmly believes it can make a much greater impact by leveraging its core capabilities to develop innovative financial solutions for students and institutions of higher education.

“We want to encourage all women in technology to code and build awesome products,” Naidoo adds.

“By exposing our young stars of the future to global experts in Silicon Valley, and by numerous other strategic initiatives, we will start seeing a true start-up mentality take root throughout our continent.”

The bank and its partner Liberty are not stopping on their journey of growing the number of women in science and technology.

The upcoming Women in Tech Conference and the Women in Tech Accelerator are both set to considerably broaden the market and generate exciting future opportunities for those wanting to enter the field, or gain exposure for existing ideas.

Standard Bank’s 24-hour Femtech Hackathon in May drove home the power of technology, with female participants identifying and digitising challenges with a focus on the township economy, financial sector and the education space.

According to a recent report published under the auspices of the Women and Foreign Policy Program, strengthening women’s participation in the ICT sector is important for three reasons.

First, increasing employment opportunities for women enhances gender equality, which is fundamental to human rights and dignity. Second, empowering women leads to benefits for their children and communities. Third, bridging the gender gap in ICT jobs can help address the mismatch between the supply and demand for jobs in emerging countries.

“We believe that investment in improving educational outcomes is a crucial part of the effort to unleash Africa’s potential and drive her growth,” says Naidoo.

“This is why we continue to invest in education – from early childhood development to tertiary level – to nurture and develop our future employees, the young entrepreneurs who will start new businesses, and the girls and boys who will one day be the next generation of Africa’s leaders.”

Featured image (from left to right): Valerie Tshiani, Kungela Mzuku, Lorna Nqodi and Fadzai Mupfunya

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