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Tech-I Finalist Profile: Women Innovators and Entrepreneurs

June 14, 2016

Over the next few weeks, we will highlight the GIST Tech-I Finalists participating at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES). During the conference, 30 up-and-coming global innovators will receive two days of intensive entrepreneurial skills training, mentorship, and networking access to leaders in their fields.

The GIST Tech-I Finals will culminate in a live pitch event to decide who will return home with financial and community-based resources to help grow their ventures.

In this third article in the series, we profile three women innovators working to address diverse challenges in education, health care and waste management within their communities.

Read other profiles on educational and agricultural startups. 

Tech-I Finalist: Daraty - Syria

While teaching Arduino to children in Syria, Sana Hawasly identified the need for basic electronics education in a simple and fun way. That inspired her to develop a kit to teach children the basics of electronics and improve their problem-solving skills. Her venture Daraty (“my circuit” in Arabic) designs hardware kits with a complementary mobile application that tracks a child’s circuit-building progress. The app also employs unique error-detection technology that offers children immediate feedback using animated tutorials.

Despite limited resources and slowed growth due to the ongoing conflict in Syria, Sana’s venture continues to push forward. Daraty plans to develop educational content for their kit in multiple languages to target a broader market. Daraty is also brainstorming new products that introduce children to other scientific fields such as physics and chemistry.

Tech-I Finalist: Carespare Tool – Pakistan

Pakistan has the second highest prevalence of hepatitis C in the world, just after Egypt. The high cost and limited access to screening and treatment exacerbates the issue. Saima Hanif, alumni of the National University of Sciences and Technology developed the Carespare tool, an affordable, accurate, and reusable testing device for hepatitis C. Poverty is a major obstacle for diagnosis and treatment of the disease in Pakistan. The tool provides lab test services for high-risk populations at a fraction of the cost of other clinical tests.

The project will initially address the dire need in Pakistan. After establishing a self-sustaining business within a few years, Hanif’s goal is to make the Carespare tool available in other developing nations with large populations affected by hepatitis C.

Tech-I Finalist: EcoFuture - Nigeria

A vast majority of Nigerian citizens and businesses do not have access to reliable trash collection. This has led to indiscriminate dumping and littering – and a host of health and environmental issues. EcoFuture developed a social enterprise that uses geo-mapping and SMS technology to collect recyclable waste such as plastic bottles and aluminum cans from restaurants, hotels and other organizations. The collected trash is channeled through a recovery facility where it’s processed through the first stage of recycling.  

The company offers incentives – household items, food or cash – to low-income households who participate in the trash collection process. EcoFuture’s efforts also provide manufacturers with access to higher-quality recyclable waste at a fraction of the cost of virgin materials.

To date EcoFuture has collected over 50,000 kg of recyclable waste and prevented an estimated 62,500 kg of carbon (IV) oxide from entering the atmosphere. Its social impact is equally impressive, introducing recycling clubs to five secondary schools and organizing regular community clean-up events and recycling education campaigns.

Photo credit: Sana Hawasly

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