WomHub and Partners are Igniting the Ecosystem by accelerating growth through intensive entrepreneurial support, leadership development and access to funding for women entrepreneurs in science, technology, engineering and manufacturing (STEM) businesses. In partnership with the Royal Academy of Engineering, WomEng (a non-profit subsidiary of WomHub) has powered the Africa Innovation Fellowship (AIF) programme, with more than 100 female founders in STEM businesses having participated between 2019 and 2022.
AIF is a premier pan-African programme for female innovators who are developing early stage engineering start-ups. Alice Radley, Programme Manager for the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation at the Royal Academy of Engineering shares that the AIF programme “has been an incredibly successful and popular programme,” and that, “One of the goals of the Africa Innovation Fellowship is to encourage and support female entrepreneurs to apply to the Africa Prize programme. Many of the women who’ve been recently shortlisted for the award are AIF alumnae, which really speaks to the quality of innovators who have come through the programme.”
Since the inception of the programme in 2019, a number of founders from the AIF programme have featured as finalists in the annual Africa Prize, which aims to stimulate, celebrate and reward innovation and engineering entrepreneurship in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2020, AIF alumna Charlette N’Guessan, CEO and co-founder of Ghana-based software company BACE Group, was the first woman to win the award, with Aisha Raheem being a finalist. In 2021, AIF alumnae, Elohor Thomas (AIF 2019), Armelle Sidje (AIF 2020) and Faith Adesemowo (AIF 2020) were all finalists for the Africa Prize.
The much anticipated finals took place in June this year and all members of the shortlist had the opportunity to pitch, including AIF alumna Juveline Ngum from Cameroon. She is the co-founder of Bleaglee, which is a smart cooking system made entirely of recycled materials. It includes a smokeless cook stove made of metal scraps, a clean cooking fuel made in solar-powered bio-digesters from plastic and agricultural waste, and a digital platform that allows cooks to track and offset their carbon footprint. Formerly working in metals and materials engineering, Juveline shifted her focus to sustainability and studying climate change, recycling and renewables in the process of starting the company.
As well as selling the system, Bleaglee empowers women by teaching them to source scrap metal and make the stoves, which are 80% less expensive than using firewood, and cook food 5 times faster than traditional ovens used in Cameroon. With the global economy under strain and countries that have high unemployment rates, such as those across the African continent, suffering further set backs on unemployment and growth projections, we look to entrepreneurs like these to create jobs and opportunities to promote economic growth, and we celebrate that sectors like the circular economy are generating ways to create more jobs, as well as environmental sustainability.
WomHub shares the Royal Academy of Engineering’s commitment to building a sustainable society for all and an inclusive economy that works for everyone, which is reflected in the equal gender split for the Africa Prize for the first time this year. To learn more about the founders and programmes powered by WomHub and its valued partners, visit www.womhub.com, and contact the team if you’d like to participate in igniting and building the ecosystem to support economic growth and prosperity by investing in women entrepreneurs in STEM businesses across Africa and around the world.
About the Royal Academy of Engineering
The Royal Academy of Engineering is a charity that harnesses the power of engineering to build a sustainable society for all and an inclusive economy that works for everyone. In collaboration with their fellows and partners, they are growing talent and developing skills for the future, driving innovation and building global partnerships, influencing policy and engaging the public. Together, they are working to tackle the greatest challenges of our age.
WomHub is a boutique Pan-African ecosystem builder with a focus on the entire women in STEM value chain from attraction to ownership. In unlocking the potential across the STEM value chain, they have created verticals to support women by focusing on unblocking bottlenecks. Their strategy is to ensure a comprehensive, holistic approach and create systemic change. WomHub is the only ecosystem builder in the world providing end to end support that focusses on:
To find out more, go to www.womhub.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.