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As the 4th Industrial Revolution gathers pace, Africa needs more young women in tech. This award is open to all companies involved in information technology hardware, software and computing service industries, that are able to show women making great strides through tech-based application and innovation. This award is open to all companies involved in information technology hardware, and software and computing service industries.


Dell’s Legacy of Good Plan captures the idea that technology should be the driver of human progress and is central to how Dell thinks as accompany. It spells out our commitment to put our technology and expertise to work where they can do the most good for people and the planet. As a global technology provider and corporate citizen, we see firsthand how a lack of access to quality education and technology can prevent people from reaching their full potential. To help our communities overcome these challenges and thrive, we believe we need to do much more than just provide funding. To drive real change, we go beyond funding to apply technology, expertise and volunteerism toward solving pressing social issues.
The Dell Development Fund South Africa (DDF) was established with the aim to create literate and connected communities through education, supporting developing businesses and investing in the community. We have a holistic approach that includes creating partnerships with our employees, government and the communities we call home. The future belongs to those who can use technology to solve problems and drive human progress. That’s why Dell views access to technology not as a luxury but as a necessity.
Through our Youth Learning program, Dell is working with nonprofit partners worldwide to give underserved youth better access to technology and education. Going beyond access, we’re also creating a culture of inclusion, wherein science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning is seen as being for everyone but more especially young girls and women, who are otherwise less advantaged in the field of IT. “Providing world-class education is an ongoing challenge across the developing world. Dell remains committed to advancing initiatives that make a difference, we also take the promotion of women in IT very seriously and it’s my personal goal to help play an impactful role in designing strategies that speak to exactly this.”, Natasha Reuben, Head of Transformation for DellEMC.
in 2014 Dell launched the first Solar Learning Labs in South Africa. These labs are designed to harness the energy of the sun, having no electricity impact on the community. Each Learning Lab, housed in a converted, well-ventilated shipping container, use solar panels to power Dell’s Wyse Thin Client workstations that use 7 watts of energy, as compared with 180 watts for traditional PCs and have been built with fresh air-cooled servers. This model is an unconventional setting for education that students and teachers love. Dell has now made it into a replicable model, suitable for many locations. 

Dell’s Solar Learning Labs are more than just a technological contribution to bringing access to underserved youth and communities, it’s governed by a well-run curriculum which we work with our strategic partners on delivering. The Sci Bono Discovery Centre, Code for Change and SHAWCO are instrumental in designing and delivering IT content to the students and communities who use the labs. The current curriculum has been designed to cover basic IT training all the way through to HTML, software such as scratch, blender and FL studio and coding.
The underlining factor that set’s Dell’s Solar Learning Labs apart from any others previously done lies in our innate ability in reporting and measuring the impact of the labs. To date, Dell has a total of 12 labs at schools and communities in South Africa. In the past 12 months approximately 3500 students, 950 educators and 2000 community members have been impacted by the labs, many of these being from women led households in South Africa. Further to South Africa, the impact is astounding. Due to the success of the labs in South Africa, Dell is now expanding these to the rest of Africa and South America.
“The success of the Solar Learning Labs doesn’t lie in the volume we can produce, but rather the sustainability and impact that the solution makes on the students, teachers and communities” said Natasha Reuben.
Further to the implementation of the Solar Learning Labs that is helping to drive the promotion of women in IT, Dell’s Khulisa Academy is making huge ground in this regard. The Khulisa Academy brings High Performance Computing (HPC) to youth in rural communities. Its aim is to promote the development of women in the IT industry in South Africa, within High Performance Computing. Khulisa takes in 30 students annually on a two-year program, from various rural communities such as Fort Hare, Qwa Qwa and Umtata to name a few. The academy currently has more than 77 % of its students and 100 % of its staff being female. We are also pleased that the class of 2017 have all been placed in employment at Dell, its partners and clients.
This is no ordinary IT training academy. Dell’s mission when designing the Khulisa Academy was to speak to scarce and critical skills in South Africa, whilst having a link to getting more girls excited about IT. The curriculum was cautiously designed with the help of the Centre for High Performance Computing and the CSIR to help bridge the learning gap. The program intakes both matriculant and graduates so the curriculum had to be carefully considered in order to allow both streams of students to get onto the same level. The curriculum spans from C# and server infrastructure to linux, business intelligence and Red Hat certification. Red Hat certifications are few and far between in South Africa, so the Khulisa Academy is truly a benchmark for have students receive such certifications. Khulisa also drives innovation in the learning environment. Dell works with the students to help promote innovative thinking and ideas. In 2017 Dell helped a student from Khulisa Academy start up her own business in the area of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, through its New Venture Creation competition that runs concurrently to the HPC program at the Khulisa Academy.
Dell is committed to accelerating the increasingly powerful role that women play in driving global economic growth. Women share a unique approach to business; they are using innovative technology to reach customers and utilize data in unprecedented ways. Women especially understand that it’s not the technology itself that is important in business, but what connections, solutions and changes it enables you to make. Through the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network, Dell is connecting female entrepreneurs across the globe with networks, sources of capital, knowledge and technology, giving them the power to do more.
“As a woman in business, I can relate to the challenges our female entrepreneurs face. Therefore, I believe that our global Women’s Entrepreneur Network and our local Enterprise and Supplier Development programs provide Dell with a greater platform to promote women in business”. I believe that every small business initiative or enterprise we help start or grow will contribute to the advancement of many”, concludes Natasha Reuben.
Dell South Africa played host to the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network summit in 2016 which brought together 200 of the most inspiring female entrepreneurs, international media and Dell executives for two days of collaboration, thought leadership and networking. The event has grown into a thriving international network with hundreds of women business owners who connect throughout the year to share their knowledge and support their peers in accelerating business growth. In 2017 alone, Dell supported 22 small black businesses of which 55 % of those are black women owned businesses. Through Dell’s contribution, these small businesses were able to create 22 new jobs within their organisations. As the visionary outcome of a true entrepreneur, Dell is committed to help power the success of entrepreneurs by developing technology solutions that enable human potential. Dell is an organisation that truly believes in the value of women, be it in education, in the boardroom or in our supplier chain.