Kenyan techpreneur and founder of Gwiji, Elizabeth Mwangi has been crowned the winner of the Aurora Tech Award 2023, taking home the $30,000 winning prize .
Gwiji is a groundbreaking startup that connects cleaners locally referred to as ‘Mama Fua’ in Nairobi’s slums with local clients.
Out of 400 applicants worldwide and the 11 African women who made it to the shortlist, Ms Mwangi’s win demonstrates the rising number of female innovators confronting Africa’s challenges.
Gwiji was launched in May 2022 and so far more than 2,000 cleaning orders have been completed.
Also, via the app, cleaners’ income has been increased from $2 to $10 per day.
Ms Mwangi noted through Gwiji, 150 women living in extreme poverty in Nairobi have been empowered economically, being connected to over 500 clients.
“These women are the breadwinners in their families and finding work ensures that their families eat, and their children go to school,” she added.
Executive Director of the Aurora Tech Award, Ekaterina Smirnova in a statement said, “This year’s Award not only recognizes the efforts of these remarkable founders but supports the winners with cash prizes to help them reach their goals. We will continue to support our participants by offering mentorship resources to contribute to their startups’ further development.”
Iva Gumnishka from Bulgaria won second place and a $20,000 cash prize with Humans in the Loop, a company providing data annotation services for computer vision to refugees and people in conflict situations.
The firm offers remote work that can be done safely from home and provide essential training for AI model supervision.
In the third position was Rocket Learning, created by Namya Mahajan from India, which scooped a $10,000 prize for organizing digital teacher-parent communities to make early childhood education accessible to low-income families.
The project aims to improve women’s empowerment, labor force participation, and children’s learning and life outcomes through early childhood development.
The award was founded in 2021 by inDrive, a US-headquartered global mobility and urban services platform and it supports women entrepreneurs who are using technology to develop their communities, with the overarching goal of challenging gender inequality in IT.