Who we are
Founder & Director
Founder, Impact Entrepreneur, Inspiring Fifty Brand Ambassador and first Managing Director to Silicon Cape. Ellen is woven into the fabric of the tech industry.
Head of Communication & Marketing
Having grown a marketing agency from the ground up. Yumna has brought a personalised and humanist understanding of communication and positioning to our operations.
Change Manager & Digital Transformation Specialist
With a longstanding background in Incubation Management, Pezisa is a champion in creating safe spaces for people and organisations to foster transformation and change. No-one gets left behind.
With over 10yrs experience within the customer service industry. Joslyn has mastered the subtle art of moving projects from ideation to implementation.
Where we began
I’ve been passionate about business and tech for as long as I can remember. As I have grown professionally, empowering women along the way has become increasingly important. I am lucky enough to have found myself in a place where doing the things I am passionate about allows me to do just that.
As the founder of StoryRoom, I get to participate in designing and implementing inclusive, digital and socio-economic impact programs. Coupled with my role as co-founder of boutique, innovation consultancy Innocircle, I get to play an active part in cultivating an inclusive and multicultural landscape within the tech and startup industry in South Africa.
Before we can create unicorns we need to create spaces where they can thrive.
The 23 years I spent in Amsterdam have certainly shaped my outlook on tech. Despite the variety of cultures and the fact the diversity contributes greatly to innovation, the European tech scene has a persistent diversity problem.
Witnessing how startups come up with solutions to issues like the lack of diversity has inspired me to do the same here. Grant schemes, accelerator programmes, support networks, and other support initiatives have been established to increase the number of startups by women, ethnic minorities and other sidelined groups.
It’s why I am proud to be a South African ambassador for Inspiring Fifty, an initiative that celebrates the 50 most inspiring women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and maths). Like me, Inspiring Fifty values the positive impact that increased diversity has on business growth, innovation, culture, and productivity.
I returned home with an honours degree in social work and community development, a handful of small business and technology certificates and the ambition to set up community initiatives based on social entrepreneurship principles.
I choose to focus on personal development, digital literacy and increasing the employability of marginalized young women through STEM initiatives because I know that inclusion, and diversity, will only empower the sector.
We also understand and handle failure well, a necessary skill set since the failure rate in the tech and startup world is quite high.
Women are an asset to tech because we pay attention to detail and are good at building and sustaining communities. We also understand and handle failure well, a necessary skill set since the failure rate in the tech and startup world is quite high. Inclusivity is a win-win for all.
Most of my career highlights have involved some capacity for mentorship. As Enterprise Development Manager for the SEDA NMB ICT Incubator and Incubator Manager for Propella Business Incubator at the Nelson Mandela University, I got to hone the skills that I now use to counsel tech start-ups and volunteers in various community outreach programs. My appointment as the first Managing Director of Silicon Cape in 2017 was a definitive point in my professional life. It provided me further access to the Cape Town tech startup scene and allowed me the chance to play a role in helping to shape it.
Unicorn is a 4IR buzzword that I believe a lot of African startups have the potential to be. However, before we can create unicorns we need to create spaces where they can thrive. A thriving tech startup scene will grow the economy and create job opportunities. Everybody wins and we get to come up with some cool ideas along the way.