TechHer Spotlight

Sheila Birgen: Ensuring Technology with a difference.

Sheila Birgen holds a BA in Public Relations from Daystar University. In 2014, she obtained a certificate in Executive Education Programme and Investing in early-stage growth companies from Graduate school of Business; University of Cape town.

In 2016, she attended the Arizona state university community partnership for social action research where she was certified in empowerment for peace through leadership in Agribusiness and sustainability.
Sheila has held several positions in different organizations listed as follows:

In 2011, she was a Public Relations Assistant at Square gold PR & marketing firm.
Between March 2012- August 2013, she was the Communication & outreach lead at M: Lead Africa.
Between September 2013- March 2014, she became the community lead at M: Lead Africa where she progressed to become the lead in March 2015.
In April 2016, she became the Head of Community at iHub Nairobi.

Her work:
Sheila Birgen is the CEO and Team lead of M: Lab East Africa. M: Lab East Africa is a consortium of four organizations that aim to become the leaders in identifying, nurturing and helping to build sustainable enterprises in the knowledge economy. These organizations are eMobilis, World Wide Web Foundation, University of Nairobi and iHub.
Sheila became a part of M: Lab team because she is passionate about technology and entrepreneurship. In her words, ‘You can’t get any faster than technology’.
Sheila receives support from Africa’s premier mobile start up pitching competition. The support gives her clients a platform to connect with the entrepreneurs in the sub region.
The M: Lab team also organizes sector-specific forums on how to best utilize technology. These forums offer opportunities for developers to tap into on-the-ground challenges in the markets in which they hope to operate.
She has also partnered with Microsoft and Intel on capacity development for developers. These kind of partnership ensures the growth of game developers. It also helps to bring more developers into the market.
Her work with M: Lab has impacted a great deal to different sectors in Nairobi. Here are a few of them:

In Education, Eneza now has over 50,000 users.
In Finance, Kopo Kopo has created jobs in Kenya and has over 40 employees. Kopo Kopo is a company that helps small businesses to use mobile money for their businesses.
In Health, ToTo Health is helping over 30,000 mothers monitor their maternal health and Childs development. Toto health uses SMS technology to help reduce maternal and child mortality.
In Agric, Mfarm is multiplying sales of farmers and increasing income for their families. Mfarm provides up-to-date market prices via an app or SMS direct to farmers ensuring there is Price transparency.

She also provides a platform for a market driven training on different platforms, business incubation and testing lab for apps.

Why TechHer loves her:
Sheila collaborates with partners such as Akirachix to offer internship opportunities to women training from high school. These internship opportunities will lead to an increase in the number of women who apply to Pivot East. Pivot east is East Africa’s premier mobile start ups pitching competition. It is also an M: Lab East initiative.

She is currently seeking for partnership both in the public and non-profit sector because technology offers solutions for many of the challenges they face.

At TechHer, we appreciate women like Sheila who does not let the circumstances in Africa limit them. She consistently thinks of ways to use technology to make a difference. This alone is worth celebrating.

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