Cisco and WomHub Collaborate to Empower Female Tech Startups in South Africa

Cisco partners with WomHub to establish EDGE Centres, supporting female-led tech startups in South Africa’s evolving landscape.

Cisco has announced its collaboration with WomHub, a boutique incubator for female science, technology, engineering, mining and manufacturing (STEM) business founders in South Africa, supported by the launch of two Cisco EDGE Centres at WomHub spaces in Johannesburg and Cape Town. The initiative aims to support Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) in the country’s technology sector with business mentoring, incubation and training opportunities, to help advance their market access and exposure. 

EDGE, which stands for “Experience, Design, GTM (Go to Market) and Earn”, provides access to state-of-the-art Cisco connectivity and collaboration technology, as well as tools and resources, to local innovators and entrepreneurs. The programme is designed to support the development of secure, intelligent and connected solutions to help shape South Africa’s digital future. 

Cisco’s vision, in collaboration with WomHub, is to support entrepreneurs with go-to-market strategies, creating a new-age network of female-owned, certified Cisco partners offering innovative tech solutions to the South African market. 

The partnership builds on Cisco’s existing commitment to empower an inclusive digital future for all, in this case by promoting gender equality and driving innovation and job creation in South Africa’s rapidly evolving technological landscape. 

This new, powerful collaboration further demonstrates Cisco’s commitment to fostering innovation and supporting local businesses and entrepreneurs, focusing on women who are often underrepresented in the tech sector. With Cisco’s digital skills development training and cutting-edge technologies, and WomHub’s network of aspiring female entrepreneurs in South African STEM sectors, we believe we can make an important and tangible difference in the industry and help to drive the country’s digital economy.

Francine Katsoudas, Executive Vice President and Chief People, Policy & Purpose Officer of Cisco.

The tech start-up scene in South Africa is evolving at a phenomenal rate. We are keen to proactively support these innovative small businesses, and foster a diverse, inclusive tech landscape by boosting support for women in the sector. Targeted collaborations with organisations like WomHub, that seek to empower female-led businesses and are already doing great work, is the ideal way to do this.

Smangele Nkosi, General Manager, Cisco South Africa

Through the Cisco EDGE Centre collaboration, participants in WomHub’s incubation program will have access to Cisco experts and receive specialised training and mentorship. This connected start-up ecosystem has the potential to create more female-run tech businesses with a direct impact on South Africa’s digital future. 

We’re excited to bring the power of WomHub and Cisco together to  create a lasting legacy in the South African tech ecosystem. Everything we do is about building the entire ecosystem to support women in STEM. With the help of a global tech leader like Cisco, we hope to give female business founders the skills, technology, and confidence they need to take their tech start-ups to the next level. We’re very excited to embark on what we know will be a prosperous journey.

Anjani Harjeven, CEO, WomHub

The EDGE Centre is part of Cisco’s Country Digital Acceleration (CDA) programme. In South Africa. CDA was founded in 2015 and has since evolved into programs in 49 countries, with over 1,500 active or completed projects – spanning more than two-thirds of the world’s population and 75 percent of global GDP. 

A key pillar to the CDA program is Cisco’s Networking Academy. In South Africa, 61% of the current Academy intake of 82,219 students are female. This dedication to inclusivity also translates to instructors: half of the 1,127 Cisco’s Networking Academy instructors are female.

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