New programme launches to assist female-owned tech businesses

women entrepreneurs

Ya Basadi, meaning ‘for women’ in Setswana is a new acceleration programme aimed at supporting established female-owned businesses to transition into a technology-enabled company to optimise and improving their operations.

Ya Basadi’s programme will help female-owned businesses utilise the power of technology

Founded and created by Wits University’s Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct with financial support from J.P. Morgan, Ya Basadi in the 4IR programme is targeted at primarily female-owned businesses, which are already trading and have a clear understanding of how tech can scale their businesses. 

In addition, the programme is also aimed at underserved female entrepreneurs from low-income backgrounds. Tshimologong will facilitate the programme and provide the much-needed support for female-tech-owned businesses. 

Khwezi Fudu Cenenda, Enterprise Development Manager at Tshimologong says the Ya Basadi programme taking place this month is well-timed as the country dedicates the month of August to saluting women.

 “Entrepreneurship is fast becoming a chosen way to counteract low economic growth and increasing unemployment. This is particularly prevalent when looking at the Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) research, which notes that 72% of micro-enterprises and 40% of small enterprises are currently owned by women. Unfortunately, these businesses often require funding as well as support in terms of digital transformation.”

In line with the implementation of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the programme is comprised of the following components; technology training, experiential learning through immersions in industry, and the development of a Minimum Viable Product (MVP).

Through these main components, the programme will enable participants to understand how to apply and utilise new technology within their business. 

It will equip participants with the critical skill and understanding of how to apply Machine Learning, data analytics, robotics, and IoT in direct relation to rapid prototyping and understanding the basics of adaptive manufacturing principles. 

The programme 

The programme aims to assist women-owned businesses scale, generate more value, and create employment opportunities within the Johannesburg economy. 

Senior Country Officer for J.P. Morgan, Kevin Latter comments on the importance of supporting small businesses in revitalising the local economy. 

 “We are excited to support this innovative programme at a time in our country where small business growth is crucial. As a firm, J.P. Morgan globally focuses on supporting small business and the empowerment of women. This programme, therefore, fits perfectly with our global ethos. The devastating impact of Covid-19 in South Africa has made it even more important for the business sector to support the development of smaller businesses and job creation.”

In addition, Cenenda says that the programme will also focus on 4IR because of the opportunities that it presents for women’s businesses and how this evolution could assist them to flourish beyond micro and small business status. 

 “Only 13% of women graduate in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) while only 23% hold IT jobs. This means that the potential for women to participate in 4IR is limited. Our objective with the programme is to innovate and collaborate to find new ways of increasing access for women in technology.”

The selected cohort of participants will be required to develop a Minimum Viable Product and present this at the end of the programme. 

The cohort which has been selected to partake in the programme addresses a range of sectors focusing on a range of services.

This includes; the provision of a travelling nurse using an online booking system; automated recycling; the provision of WIFI to households in townships; offering assessments and career guidance purely through automated calendar bookings and video calls and using financial tools to protect Africa’s green assets.

Spanning over a year, the programme will include technology masterclasses in 11 areas including app and web development, 3D printing, AI, robotics, IoT, VR, and cybersecurity. 

In addition to this, the entrepreneurs will get practical, on the job experience in the industry; learning circles for the cohort to share experiences; and will conclude with at least an MVP being developed for or by each start-up.

Cenenda comments on the importance of implementing technology into small business models. 

“The key to success will be to support women-led businesses to transition to becoming tech or tech-enabled companies and to help them move to the next level as a business. Those companies that are already classified as tech businesses will get the opportunity to deepen their use of tech. This pipeline will need to be nurtured, developed, and grown, which is why we are looking to secure additional partnerships to assist in developing the programme moving forward.” 

To partner with Ya Basadi and to get more information on the programme, please contact Khwezi Cenenda on

Read more: SA TV and Film relief fund worth R8.3-million opens
Read moreNew early-stage Venture Capital Fund to back cohort companies launches
Read more: Shift Fund reopens applications for funding

Featured image: Christina @ via Unsplash 



Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest in digital insights. sign up

Welcome to Ventureburn

Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest in digital insights.