South African companies selected for the 2023 Digital Equity Accelerator Cohort

South African companies selected for the 2023 Digital Equity Accelerator Cohort

The Aspen Institute and HP have announced the selection of 10 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and not-for-profit organisations across Malaysia, Mexico and South Africa as the cohort for the 2023 Digital Equity Accelerator (Accelerator).

South African NGOs, E-Cubed (DBE-E3), Digify Africa and Siyafunda Community Technology Centre CTC, have been recognised for their efforts in working toward the digital inclusion of marginalised populations and with the help of the Accelerator, are poised to expand their reach and impact over the next eight months.

The Accelerator, a project of the Aspen Institute in collaboration with HP, fuels innovation by investing in NGOs that are addressing social and economic inequalities exacerbated by unequal technology access and use around the world.

The Accelerator was announced as a part of Vice President Harris’s Global Initiatives on the Economic Empowerment of Women, a nearly US$400 million commitment to support key pillars of the Women in the Digital Economy Fund.

“At its core, the purpose of the Digital Equity Accelerator is to strengthen the work of organisations addressing social and economic inequalities in their communities,” said Hazami Barmada, Director of the Accelerator. “COVID-19 revealed to the world that without full and equal access to the digital economy, inequalities in access to employment, education, healthcare and social services are exacerbated. In selecting this cohort, we sought organisations dedicated to solving issues at the intersection of technology and socio-economic inequalities.”

The organisations were chosen from among 120 applicants in a highly selective process which prioritised reach, impact and commitment to digital equity. Selected non-profit organisations will be awarded HP technology solutions tailored to their needs, around US$100,000 in capacity-building grants and access to a robust network of international leaders, mentors and coaches with expertise in technology, social innovation, non-profit management and social impact. Additionally, the Accelerator will provide the cohort with opportunities for visibility on a global stage, including connections to local and international media.

E-Cubed aims to take TeacherConnect, a WhatsApp bot and digital community of practice, to every classroom across South Africa. Its goal is for young people to graduate with an entrepreneurial mindset and actively participate in the world.

SIYAFUNDA CTC will use the support to scale its Community Knowledge Centres by training existing community organisations and equipping them with curriculum and equipment. Its digital skills-building work focuses on unemployed youth, persons with disabilities, women and girls and teachers and learners across South Africa. 

The other organisation, DigifyAfrica, address youth unemployment by reaching ‘high potential, low opportunity’ young people across South Africa, providing them with vocational programmes, digital skills education and job pathways. Its offering includes Digibot, a WhatsApp Chatbot.

“HP is excited to partner with three South African organisations in pursuit of our shared goal to advance digital inclusion,” said Yesh Surjoodeen, Southern Africa Managing Director at HP. “Access to education and economic opportunities for our youth is critical and we are eager to see the power of the Digital Equity Accelerator at work in our local communities with each of their unique solutions.”

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