Emma Mphahlele

Kids Innovate Africa Pty Ltd

What does your company do?

We implement inclusive access to quality education through our SAB Foundation supported Robotics with Neurodiverse initiative. We deliver inter-active educational technology programs for K-12 focusing on Game Development, Animation, Robotics and Coding (including Virtual Reality).

What is your biggest success?

The privilege of being an Alumni of the U.S. Department of State Exchange Program -TechWomen which makes me one of the few global Emerging leaders in the STEM field in 2022. Hosting NASA Administrator’s Senior Advisor at my centre in 2023, and President Biden’s Deputy Assistant and White House Acting Deputy Director of Science, Technology and Society in 2022. Receiving an Award for my 'Robotics with Neurodiverse' initiative from the SAB Foundation in 2022. Leading a panel discussion with leaders in digital skills development with leaders of the Project Management Institute. Participating in panel discussions with Africa Comm, in Africa Tech Festivals, and with The Digital Cooperation Organization on Youth Employment and Skills Development in Africa in 2022 and 2023. Participating in a panel discussion with UN Women (New York event) on girls' access to education in the global South in 2021. Being selected a Trainer of Trainees with UN Women in Tanzania and being part of the Program Facilitators in South Africa in 2022 and 2023. Being a 2024 Inspire the Future: FIRST Educator Awardee. Concluding Academic Study with UCT on our robotics with neurodiverse project in 2023. Successfully and consistently running quarterly neurodiversity events. A top 5 Women in Tech Africa D&E nominee and Mentor of the Year with Wired4Women in 2024. Serving my country as a committee member in the accreditation of Science Centres.

What has been your biggest hurdle?

Talent retention has been one of the biggest challenges as a start-up as the remuneration to attract the most suitable young graduate females is not as where I would like it to be. Finance to run our planned quarterly ‘Celebrating Neurodiversity’ events in Gauteng, Eastern Cape, Free State, and Kwa-Zulu Natal. And, sponsors for learners living with Autism Spectrum Disorder to reduce the fee they need to pay to us, and to retain them as clients.