Interview With Startupper of the year Challenge Finalist, Rebecca Nanono
TotalEnergies recently announced 90 finalists from Uganda for its 3rd annual Startupper of the year Challenge and we had a brief chat with one of the finalists, Rebecca Nanono, Founder of Shetective.
TotalEnergies through their annual challenge, the Startupper of the year Challenge support young African entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 35 to receive financial support, media visibility, and mentorship to help grow their startups. The challenge gathers African entrepreneurs across the continent to be a part of the challenge for a chance to get support to grow their business. Last week the Challenge announced 90 startups from 32 African countries to advance to the next level to pitch their business to a panel of a jury to get support. Among the 90 startups selected from Uganda is, Shetechtive, a startup founded by Ms. Rebecca Nanono to enable girls and young women to have access to quality, inclusive and equitable education.
Nanono told PC Tech Magazine, over 300 participants have benefited from Shetechtive and she notes they are helping more girls and young women benefit from the startup.
Through her startup, Nanono has been able to gain international exposure. Last year, she was among the twenty-five (25) Africans selected for the second cohort of the Future Is Female PR Mentorship Program which is run by a New York-based public relations agency; C. Moore Media International Public Relations (CMM) to teach African women the fundamentals of PR and communications.
At the time of the selection, Nanono told PC Tech Magazine “I am happy to be among the 25 women entrepreneurs from Africa selected for the Future Is Female PR Mentorship Program. The best part about this is the international exposure that my work will be gaining.”
With all going on with Shetechtive and Rebeca Nanono and her team, we caught up with her briefly to tell us more about the startup and her recent selection to participate in the Startupper of the year Challenge by TotalEnergies.
- What is Shetechtive?
Shetechtive is a social enterprise that sells study devices such as laptops and tablets to rural girls and women on installment payment plans
- Shetective is helping girls and young women mostly those from the rural areas, why is that?
Girls and young women from rural areas have fewer study and work opportunities compared to their male counterparts who usually enjoy privileges such as early access to employment, continuity to higher levels of learning, among other privileges. Rural areas are also low resource and low connectivity areas hence the need to make study devices affordable to underserved groups such as girls and young women.
According to UN Women, girls and young women from rural areas are also more likely to suffer from the negative impacts of the pandemic hence the need for Shetechtive to create a level playing ground by selling our study devices to ensure that even those in rural areas can afford e-learning, can continue with their studies remotely and also promote uptake of STEM programs and careers by girls and women.
- How many or who have benefitted from Shetechtive, and what is the way forward for them?
To date, over 1,000 learners have attended mobile “Tablet classrooms on rotation” where they have also gained literacy, numeracy, and computer skills. Of the 1,000 participants, over 300 girls and young women have benefitted from Shetechtive Uganda’s “study devices on installment”
- It is hard to run a startup, especially at an early age, do you by any chance have investors or funding companies or partners that are helping Shetechtive?
Yes! Due to the fact that gender equity and education equity are global problems and Shetechtive Uganda is providing local solutions, we have been able to attract expertise, resources, and funding from individuals and organizations with similar visions.
- How has international exposure helped you and Shetechtive?
International exposure has enabled us to attract expertise, resources, and funding from individuals and organizations with similar visions.
- Before we get into the Startupper of the year Challenge, briefly tell us about your enlistment in the Future Is Female PR Mentorship Program, how has it helped you?
Joining the Future Is Female PR Mentorship Program has been a great learning opportunity for creating various Startup PR strategies that are essential for propelling and sustaining the work we do. Being part of the program also helped us gain International exposure which has helped us gain social capital.
- How do you feel to be among the 90 out of the thousands of applications selected for the Startupper of the year Challenge and what is your opinion about the challenge?
Being among the 90 out of the thousands of applications selected for the Startupper of the year Challenge reaffirms that Shetechive Uganda is on the right path of bridging the gender digital divide and paving the way for affordable e-learning, especially for girls and young women. Based on previous participants and winners of the Startupper of the year Challenge, I think taking part in the challenge is an opportunity for startups or businesses that are solving the most pressing social problems to get noticed, scale, and do what they do better.
- 90 is a lot of startups participating in the challenge. Only 3 will emerge as winners. Do you believe you have the chance to be among those 3?
I am very confident in Shetechtive Uganda’s team abilities and commitment to create a world where girls and women have affordable study devices for equitable and accessible education. I strongly believe that Shetechtive has what it takes to emerge as Startupper of the year. Due to my strong passion and commitment for gender equity especially in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), I am convinced that I have what it takes to emerge as a woman entrepreneur from Uganda in the 2022 Startupper of the year Challenge by TotalEnergies.
- In case you’re looking for investors or partners, how are you doing so?
Shetechtive Uganda has an in-house partner relations function that works tirelessly and is always on the lookout for new opportunities that can help us achieve our vision.
- Media plays an important role in startup growth. In your opinion, how should the media help startup owners or entrepreneurs grow their businesses?
Media plays a great role in creating the right visibility for startups. I think matching the Startup PR needs to the media message/channeling is key in achieving whatever goal a Startup intends to achieve at a given time.
- What advice would you give to startups that are still staggering?
It is important for startups to segment their customers, partners/investors, and other stakeholders in order to determine the right channels/media to reach them. To perform most functions, an entity will always communicate directly or indirectly with its stakeholders and I think determining the right channel is key in ensuring success and efficiency. Take, for example, an entity that serves local and global customers might find it wise to segment customer channels of communication into billboards locally and social media marketing for global customers, unlike an entity whose customers are segmented by age within the same country.