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Social entrepreneur and founder of African Teen Geeks, Lindiwe Matlali has cracked a major award from the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship for her efforts to bring science, technology and maths to disadvantaged communities.


Johannesburg, South Africa (24 September 2020) – South African tech trailblazer, founder and CEO of Africa Teen Geeks, Lindiwe Matlali has today been recognised on a global platform for her incredible contribution to social innovation.

Matlali – who established Africa Teen Geeks to give South African children the opportunity to access computing education and to inspire Africa’s future generation of entrepreneurs in science and technology – is one of 23 changemakers internationally who is being recognised for social innovation by the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship in partnership with the World Economic Forum.

The Schwab Foundation will make the announcement today, recognising the internationally acclaimed innovators who have responded to the needs of those disproportionally affected by the COVID pandemic.

The Social Innovators of the Year 2020 represent a new ecosystem of leaders who are driving change and shifting organisations and systems towards a more just, inclusive and sustainable future.

Photo Cred: Lindiwe Matlali Twitter

The 2020 Social Innovators of the Year included a list of outstanding founders and chief executive officers, multinational and regional business leaders, government leaders and recognised experts – who have made deeply meaningful contributions to the world. From building hospitals in rural India, empowering black-communities in Brazil, providing financial resources to communities in Ghana, harnessing AI and big data – to promoting equity in education in South Korea, and breaking the glass ceiling in the public sector in Spain.
Lindiwe Matlali says she is profoundly honoured to receive such a prestigious recognition.

“Through my own personal experience as a young person struggling to access resources and observing that same struggle amongst poor communities today, I discovered my passion for computer education and its potential and this is what makes this acknowledgement all the more significant”, added Matlali.

The 2020 Schwab Foundation Awards are hosted in partnership with the Motsepe Foundation, founded on the philosophy of ‘Ubuntu’, the African concept of giving and caring for your neighbour and other members of your community.

“The 2020 Social Innovators of the Year prove that the complex work of reducing inequality and transforming society is possible by instilling human-centred innovation with principles of equity and justice into the levers of policy, finance, and research”, said Precious Moloi-Motsepe, Co-Chair, Motsepe Foundation.

Social innovators are needed more than ever, but face immense challenges to operate, serve and support communities during this crisis. The Schwab Foundation and the World Economic Forum responded to these needs and launched the COVID Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurs with the goal of aiding social entrepreneurs during the crisis and its aftermath. The Alliance, which consists of over 60 global members, representing over 50,000 social entrepreneurs globally, launched an Action Agenda outlining ways to support social entrepreneurs as first responders to the COVID-19 crisis.

The awardees were selected by Schwab Foundation board members in recognition of their innovative approach and potential for global impact. Board members include Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Prime Minister of Denmark (2011-2015), and social innovation expert Johanna Mair, Professor of Organization, Strategy and Leadership at the Hertie School of Governance in Germany, and H.M. Queen Mathilde of Belgium (Honorary Board Member).

Watch her inspirational TED talk below:

Sources: Lindiwe Matlali
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