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Celebrating Women In Tech- Manic Creatives

“Technology is your friend. Take as much time familiarising yourself with technology as you would getting to know somebody, there’s no need to rush and it can be done in incremental steps. Trust the process and you will see results because numbers don’t lie.”

Words of Imanga Kayama, founder and CEO at Manic Creatives, a company that works with business leaders who want to optimise profitability but have challenges strengthening their customer base.

Imanga is passionate about digital skills and spearheaded the first-ever Hubspot Solutions Partner Certification in Zambia. At Manic Creatives, Imanga is responsible for the monetisation and sustainability of the company by developing a viable business model that aims at helping other companies become profitable.

Automation has been one of the key technologies that have enhanced the business. By automating tasks, they have been able to save time and money.

“One person can do the job of three! We use a lot of scheduling tools in our work to make life easier and eliminate the mundane repetitive tasks. Our entire business model is driven by technology from our website, invoicing, payroll, and most importantly customer relationship management. 

Technology has helped us make decisions based on data analytics to improve where the numbers are good and to change when the numbers are bad; we are also able to predict certain outcomes based on past trends.”

Imanga points out that helping AB Bank to implement an internal customer relationship management (CRM) and setting up an automation system for their marketing department has been one of the most exciting projects.

The scope of work with the Bank was recently expanded to include an additional business line called eTumba within the bank.

“ We also discovered that AB Bank has a partnership with one of our clients, Rent to Own, which makes it more convenient to pursue a common goal by having an intimate understanding of our clients’ challenges and therefore implementing the most appropriate solutions.”

Just like any other organisation, Manic Creatives faced challenges. The biggest challenge with establishing Manic Creatives was record-keeping and data entry. Having collected so many business cards during networking, they didn’t know what to do with them or have any idea how to convert them to sales opportunities.

 “This challenge was overcome by using CRM, back in 2015, I heard about Hubspot from a friend in the U.S,  I decided to try it out and never looked back since then.”

Technology has evolved over the years, making our work faster, better, and easier.

Do you want to be the next celebrated woman in tech? Apply for the Standard Chartered Women In Tech Incubator programme today.

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Celebrating Women In Tech: Asikana network

Asikana Network is a women in technology social enterprise that aims to empower young women and equip them with ICT skills. Asikana Network was formed as a community under BongoHive in 2012 and formally registered as a legal entity in 2013. 

Their activities include ICT skills training and capacity building, mentorship, facilitation of work placement for suitably qualified women, facilitating an interactive networking platform for like-minded women and advocacy for policies and legislation that endorse the active involvement of women in the ICT sector.

Who are the masterminds behind Asikana Network? 

Asikana was founded by three women:

Ethel Ella Maimbo, an Information Communication Technology (ICT) specialist, with vast work experience in the ICT sector from international NGOs to quasi-government institutions and currently in the banking sector.

Regina Mtonga, Co-founder and Director at Asikana Network. For the past few years, she has worked at helping women see their potential in the tech industry while rolling out digital literacy programs for children in various programs in schools.

Chisenga Muyoya, a proactive leader with a deep passion for social change. She is an experienced software programmer and a multidisciplinary ICT for Development researcher.

We caught up with the founders to find out how they use technology to further their cause.

How does tech impact your work?

Asikana Network enhances the active participation of women in the ICT sector through hands-on training and linkages to tangible opportunities. We have reached over 6000 young people through the following activities:

  • Over 50 free networking meetups, talks, conferences and career fairs
  • Over 100 free training sessions in web development, basic computer literacy, games development training, video production and editing
  • One-to-one mentoring of 50 women in technology
  • Computers skills training in over schools, reaching up to 5000 young minds
  • Created the first CrowdMap of African Women in Technology Initiatives
  • Launched the pioneering Women’s Rights App for mobile phones – WRAPP, currently featured on Facebook’s Free Basics Platform
  • Engaged 30 rural girls through the Taungana Africa STEM Fellowship 
  • Participated in Gender and ICT policy development 

What new technologies have you adopted to help advance your work?

We avidly use various social media platforms and mailing tools to maintain contact with our members and keep them updated with our activities. We use google forms and SurveyMonkey to collect feedback. We also use administrative tools such as Zoho for an end to end project management and Flutter Wave for financial management.

Due to COVID, we are also currently experimenting with the use of different online learning platforms that allow us to continue conducting training remotely.

But as the saying goes, Rome was not built in a day. Asikana Network has had its fair share of challenges that every entrepreneur faces before they get established.

Asikana Network shares the challenges they faced and how they solved them.

Our biggest challenge was access to funding to support our activities. To circumvent this, we initially relied heavily on voluntary time contributed by our founders and network members. We have since been able to establish mutually beneficial partnerships with local and international entities across the public and private sectors, such as BongoHive, ZICTA and Facebook.

 In addition, we run a consultancy unit that provides services such as web and applications development and social media management. The consultancy enables us to generate income to support our activities whilst giving Asikana Network trained members an opportunity to apply and be rewarded for their newly acquired or enhanced skills. 

 The journey as an entrepreneur can be a daunting one and you might find yourself constantly wondering if it is really worth it. If you are in such a situation, here is some inspiration from the Asikana network team.

“To all the aspiring female entrepreneurs, your ideas are valid! Zambia and the world are waiting for you to get started, there are problems that you can bring a unique perspective to, don’t let anything stop you!”

Technology has paved the way for Asikana Network to enhance the participation of women in the ICT sector, even during the pandemic by leveraging online platforms.

Do you want to be the next celebrated woman in tech? Apply for the Standard Chartered Women In Tech Incubator programme today.

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3 Reasons to apply for the SC Women in Technology Programme

The Standard Chartered Women in Tech programme, which was started in 2014, is aimed at supporting the growth of female-led enterprises by providing an opportunity for women business-owners who are using or want to use technology as a catalyst for the growth of their businesses.

In partnership with BongoHive, Standard Chartered Bank will be running an incubator and accelerator programme for women in Zambia who have technologically oriented business concepts that they have developed and are ready to scale up.

What’s in it for you?

If you are wondering why you should apply for this programme, here are the reasons:

  1. Mentorship and Coaching

The 3-month incubation programme will guide you on how to successfully transition from being an early-stage startup to an established company. You will get the opportunity to have one-on-one business advisory sessions as well as gain knowledge on business modelling, finance and legal advisory, among others. 

As an additional incentive, you will also be introduced to funding opportunities, promotional opportunities and access to regular webinars from experts.

  1. Digitization and Digital Transformation Support:

You will be provided with specialised technology support from a professional software development team.

We will help you leverage technology to significantly improve various aspects of your business; from streamlining sales and distribution to managing remote teams efficiently. We will also help your business to have a digital presence by developing mobile and web applications.

  1. Post Programme Support

We will provide 5 months of technical support towards the development and launch of the winning businesses digital solutions and an additional 3 months support in the promotion of the winning businesses online, in media and at industry events.

Are you ready to disrupt the tech industry with new and improved technological innovations? Apply for the SC Women in Tech Programme NOW!