To say that Judith Owigar’s work is revolutionary would be massively understating it. As one of Kenya’s foremost social entrepreneurs, Judith is working on the frontlines to ensure that there is a significant increase in the number of women and girls working and thriving in the tech ecosystem in Africa.
Judith is the co-founder and president of AkiraChix, a social enterprise radically changing the lives of women in East Africa by providing training, mentorship, and outreach programs for women in technology. She and her friends started AkiraChix in response to the challenges and outright bias they faced as women working in the tech space in Africa. They created AkiraChix as a way to provide a space where women could come together and learn from each other. Judith’s work with AkiraChix has been a significant boost for women innovators in Africa. AkiraChix’s vision to ‘nurture generations of women who use technology to develop innovations and solutions for Africa’ has contributed immensely to empowering women in Africa both technologically and financially and has enabled women serve and lead their communities.
Judith Owigar is Kenyan by birth. She attended the University of Nairobi where she graduated with a degree and a master’s degree both in Computer Science.
Judith started her career as a tech support specialist at Turnkey Africa, a Kenya based company that provides solution to insurance and banks in Africa. In April 2008, she moved to Ibid Labs where she worked as a developer. Miss Owigar has also worked with the Japan Center for Conflict Prevention. In 2010, she attended iHUB’S maiden launch (iHUB is an innovation hub for the technology community in Nairobi) and noticed they were only a few ladies in attendance. This prompted her and her friends to co-found AKIRACHIX as a way to increase the ratio of women to men in technology. Programs at the organization are developed to reach young women at different levels including but not restricted to Primary Schools, High Schools and Universities; there are also programs for those working in the technology field and those who wish to have a career in technology.
In 2012, Judith founded Juakali, (which means GET IT DONE in Swahili) an online platform that creates opportunities for low income earners to have a better livelihood. The platform serves as a link between skilled manual workers from Kenya’s informal sector and jobs in construction companies. Through JuaKali, Judith is pioneering an original model to increase employment in Kenya through building the capacities of the informal economy.
Judith has received a number of recognitions and honors for her work, notable among them are the Anita Borg Change Agent award in 2012, the top 40 women under 40 award for women who have made a significant impact on Kenya, economically and socially. She is an East Africa Acumen Fellow and an International Focus Fellow. She was listed as one of 10 African voices to follow on Twitter by CNN. She was a speaker at the renowned Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in 2015 where she shared the stage with Former US President Barack Obama and President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya.
Judith currently serves in Africa WeTech (Women Enhancing Technology) Leadership Council and the St. George’s Primary School Alumni Association.
#TechHer loves Judith Owigar because she is passionate about technology and believes there should be no stereotype in the tech industry. Judith’s work provides an entry point for many women and girls who may want to enter the IT/Tech industry but feel discouraged because of the prevalent male dominance in the industry. We see her as a role model/ mentor to women and girls who want to identify their potential in the tech field. Also, her support for other young women in the field by creating training sessions to empower them with skills like coding, web development and technical skills truly excites us here at TechHer!
Hilda Moraa is a Kenyan with a B.Sc. in Business Information Technology from Strathmore University. She obtained a Masters in Entrepreneurship from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), Kenya.
By research, Hilda published and wrote numerous research papers and journals on the thematic focus of ICT, development and entrepreneurship. She is also the author of “A Kenyan Startup Journey”. She became a millionaire at 26.
Hilda is a co-founder at WezaTele Limited, a leading provider of innovative and mobile solutions in the supply chain, distribution and financial solutions in Kenya. Miss Moraa has over 5 years’ experience in technology, market research, entrepreneurship, and distribution of FMCGs in emerging markets in Kenya.
These are Moraa's awards:
From May 2009-September 2010, she worked as a Master Data Analyst for Coca-Cola; a global beverage and distribution company. She saw the challenges they faced within their distribution systems and decided to develop an ordering solution prototype as her final year project.
In October 2010, she dedicated her time to training and mentoring the Keri Residents. These were students from Strathmore University looking for advice and guidance in IT, programming skills and basic IT management skills to allow them innovate and grow viable businesses.
In January 2012, she founded AfriHive; a content hub and one stop shop for co-working spaces across Africa to access useful resources, services and lesson as to remain sustainable in the long run.
She was the Strategist and Senior ICT Researcher for iHub Nairobi from August 2011-December 2013. At iHub; a local innovation hub for the technology community, the 22-year-old Hilda met Sam Kitonyi and Newton. Hilda, Sam and Newton founded WezaTele Limited.
WezaTele started by building mobility solutions for commerce, supply chain, distribution, and mobile payment integration. Their first product; My order Enterprise solution; is a mobile customized solution that facilitates supply chain, circulation and distribution visibility. Hilda’s team grew from just two people to a full organization of over ten employees.
In 2013, Weza Tele won the IBM global smart camp competition at the Tech4Africa conference. By 2014, Weza Tele had worked with several SME’s in many countries including Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.
Miss Moraa started sharing her opinions, facts and experiences in the tech entrepreneurship ecosystem through Vc4Africa network.
Hilda founded a Kenya tech entrepreneurship network called Kenya Tech Entrepreneurship Virtual Network in July 2015. The network stemmed from the need of sharing local startup experience, knowledge and lessons to ensuring the young people are building scalable and valuable startups. These of course are to impact positively with return on investments. Since July, the network has grown with more than 100 tech start-ups in Kenya.
In June 2015, she became a consultant at FinTech; she worked with SME’s and startups on challenging opportunities in the Innovation and Fintech sector.
Miss Mora started running a peer mentorship series with iBizAfrica in April 2016. She shared her experiences, lessons and support to incubatees among other young upcoming/early stage entrepreneurs. She did this to encourage, empower and support in growing their ideas and businesses in the right direction from an early stage.
Presently, she works as the Managing Director/Business and Product Development Officer for PesaZatu which means “our money” in Swahilli. PesaZatu is a leading peer to peer/mobile lending market place in Kenya and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Why TechHer Loves Her
She is a problem solver, her entrepreneurial passion and drive is ignited every day due to the failures and successes she has encountered. Miss Moraa is an achiever and an extraordinaire who believes now is an incredible time for us young people to shine and do amazing things to impact our society/community.
Information gleaned from the Internet.