Electric firm pledges continued support for finalists at female tourney

The project is intended to ensure women recognition and to promote women in technology.

Ajibola Akindele, GM Process Automation, Schneider Electric (West Africa)

Sub-Saharan Africa’s General Manager for Schneider Electric Process Automation, Ajibola Akindele, announced this at the finals of the selection process which was held virtually on March 8, 2021 to mark the International Women’s Day (IWD).

From across the country, 474 promising start-ups applied and at the end of the screening phase, only 10 finalists were selected to proceed into the last qualification phase for the Accelerator Program.

The 10 finalists interfaced with the panel of judges who in turn assessed their technical abilities, critical thinking and soft skills after they pitched their innovative ideas.

The keenly contested competition eventually produced six winning female tech start-up founders who would go into the Accelerator Programme.

According to Akindele, one of the panel of judges, “six of these last standing techpreneurs will be enrolled in the Accelerator Programme and shall receive cash rewards; they will also be supported with coaching and mentoring by Foresight Seeds Fund and Schneider Electric."

The first winner got N2 million; the second and third winners got N1 million apiece; while the fourth, fifth and sixth winners got N500 thousand each.

There was a tie between two of the finalists which resulted in 6 female Start-up Founders as joint runner-up winners, as against the projected five. Consequently, an additional N500,000 was added to accommodate the sixth winner.

Akindele confirmed that Schneider Electric will continue to support and sponsor the NDES Accelerator Programme, because the objectives of NDES fit into Schneider Electric’s sustainability mandate.

According to him, “Schneider Electric is very big on female empowerment and we have a global initiative called “He 4 She” where, even the men in the organisation are also committed to ensuring gender balance across the organisation”.

He further added, “Gender balance is one of our KPIs when it comes to Schneider Electric’s sustainability index and there are key goals we have set for ourselves.

“By 2025, 50 per cent of those that will be hired are going to be female, 40 per cent of front-liners are going to be females too. Also, 40 per cent of frontline managers will be female by 2025; while 30 per cent of senior leadership will be female by 2025.

“For some of these, Schneider Electric has already exceeded its targets. We have also implemented global pay equality framework, as well as global family leave. All these are intended to ensure women recognition and to promote women in technology.

“Based on the theme for the IWD, the young female entrepreneurs on the NDES Accelerator Programme have chosen to challenge the stereotypes, to challenge gender bias and inequality, and are really doing wonderful things in an area that is dominated by men”, Akindele noted.

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