New Women in ICT competition and Summit offers unprecedented opportunities for growth

Women are increasingly making inroads into the IT arena- an area where access to markets is a ‘make or break’ activity. Ensuring that they get the opportunities are Standard Bank and the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services (DTPS) whose ‘ Women in ICT’competition seeks to open doors to future growth for women entrepreneurs.

Through the competition, women running their own IT companies have a chance to win development and funding support to the tune of R 300 000, access to international and local markets, and an opportunity to break into the corporate world and win contracts with the potential to boost their businesses’ development and growth.

The opportunity to raise corporate and industry interest will be provided through Standard Bank and the DTPS who will be hosting five women IT entrepreneurs at a ‘Women in ICT’ Summit in Johannesburg on August 23.

Present will be representatives of major corporations, leaders from the IT industry and financial services sector who will listen to business pitches from the five women. Where presentations of services and products match the specific requirements of corporate buyers, opportunities to network and take matters further will be created.

Women being sought are those that have already proved that they have what it takes to compete in the competitive IT environment. This means that to qualify to go through to the Summit, they must already own businesses that are registered and trading. The companies must have at least 51% black-women ownership and have annual revenues of less than R 51 million.

Entrants must be personally involved on a full-time basis in the daily operations of the business.

The objective of the Women in ICT competition and Summit is to help entrepreneurs who need assistance in breaking through the glass ceiling that is preventing their businesses from growing into substantial enterprises. Inevitably, the major problem of achieving this breakthrough is that of meeting and developing partnerships with the country’s major buyers of IT services and specialist expertise.

Therefore, says Standard Bank and the DTPS, companies that are at the conceptual stage are excluded from entering. Those who are buying and only selling on social media are also excluded. However, companies who have created platforms to sell on the internet can apply e.g companies like Amazon can apply. Key judging criteria are, therefore, whether the company being assessed can scale up their offerings and grow, the impact the company can have on the industry and the effective use of Technology.

As the competition and event require a company that’s currently in business, all online entries must be accompanied by a two-minute video in which specific questions must be answered. Being able to effectively outline what issue the business addresses and the benefits its solution holds will be important to the judges.

Keeping the final judging event exclusive means that the Summit will be open to only a small audience. Keynote speaker at the event will be the Deputy Minister, Pinky Kekana. The ‘Top Five’ will then each have seven minutes to make their pitches and three minutes to answer questions.

The winner will be announced at the end of the Summit proceedings.

Women who feel that they ‘have what it takes’ to compete and are ready to take their businesses to the next level should apply by completing the information required on https://standardbank.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_cBdokQkG0ksdDTf.

Closing date for entries is 9 August at midnight.

To attend the event, they can go here to rsvp: https://standardbank.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_aUVpP8HFys47dNX

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