The agreement was inked through the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi program), to implement the Digital Gender-Ethiopia Program aimed at solving the issues of gender disparity in the areas of technology and innovation.
The project will involve training of 250 female software developers and seed funding to 20 female entrepreneurs whose digital business ideas will be supported by Gebeya. The entrepreneurs will receive technical and strategic guidance on business development from Gebeya, alongside advisory services from IFC worth US$50,000—to support mentorship programs from globally recognized digital entrepreneurs.
“This commitment by the IFC in Ethiopia will allow us to prioritize women developers across our collective training modules and quickly mobilize them for the growing global demand,” stated Hiruy Amanuel, Co-Founder of Gebeya, Inc.
The need to recognize and address struggles faced by African women to receive proper education primarily in the areas of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) has for a while been the focus of change agents. Though the effort has been hampered by several economic and social factors which countries like Ethiopia are still fighting to address. The initiative by IFC and Gebeya will play a critical role in making these efforts worthwhile.
“The Project will enable the company to increase its scope beyond the current student-paid model to include a cohort of female software developers whose training will be financed through this scholarship program,” said Amadou Daffe, CEO and Co-founder of Gebeya.
He also added that, “African women constitute 50 per cent of Africa’s population but only contribute 39 per cent to its Gross Domestic Product. This is a result of their inability to afford tuition, societal misconception around women and career ability, inadequate familial support as well as gender stereotypes. We can no longer stand back and watch as intelligent, capable African women are pushed to the sidelines. We have to do our part to close the gender gap in technology where females are highly underrepresented.”
Gebeya will be responsible for identifying talented candidates who can benefit from the program based on needs. The training will be conducted in four, six-month cohorts.
“IFC is committed to helping women find opportunities through skills development that lead to good-paying jobs. Gebeya’s training differs from others in the market through its blended curriculum that includes basic and advanced programming and real-world, job-readiness skills,” said Henriette Kolb, Manager, IFC Gender Secretariat.
Since its establishment, Gebeya has grown rapidly, helping graduate over 400 candidates from its training programs. As of 2018, 140 graduate professionals are currently actively working in Gebeya’s marketplace, and the company has generated a significant amount of client orders through its platform every month. Gebeya is currently supporting three companies, two of which are founded or co-founded by women and are almost coming to the end of their program.
The first phase of the Digital Gender-Ethiopia Program will be funded by the IFC Creating Markets Advisory Window and the second will be funded by We-Fi.