South African female tech entrepreneur nominated for Global Women’s Award | 22 September 2020

Jacqueline Aylett, the founder of a travel technology startup in Cape Town, has been nominated for the Stevie Awards, the world’s premier business awards. Affectionately known as the Stevie, this is taken from the name Stephen, derived from the Greek word stéfanos meaning crown. Since 2002 the Stevie Award trophy has been presented to organizations and individuals in over 60 nations for achievement in business and is regarded as one of the world’s most coveted business awards. The Stevie Awards for Women in Business are one of eight Stevie Award categories and are open to all organizations worldwide to recognize the achievements of women executives, entrepreneurs, and the organizations they run. Each of the awards programmes is judged by an elite panel of more than 200 judges every year including many of the world’s most respected executives, entrepreneurs, innovators, and business educators. Jacqueline has been nominated in the categories ‘Female Entrepreneur of the Year in Europe, the Middle East & Africa’ and ‘Most Innovative Woman of the Year – Technology’. The top-scoring qualifying entry in each category will receive a Gold Stevie Award. Finalists that receive a final average score of at least 8.0 out of a possible 10 will be designated as Silver Stevie winners. All other Finalists will be designated as Bronze Stevie winners. The prestigious Gold Stevie Award features a crystal pyramid held aloft by Stevie representing the hierarchy of human needs developed by psychologist, Abraham Maslow, in the 1960s.

Jacqueline is fascinated with harnessing the power of technology to improve lives and is passionate about people connecting globally with freedom. In 2017, she discovered a unique and disruptive data roaming solution pioneered in Asia. Via a mobile app, convenient and affordable data can be purchased on demand. Using a microchip sticker on your own SIM card or your eSIM, your data roaming solution rests in the palm of your hand. Jacqueline recognised the huge potential in introducing this disruptive technology to Africa where data is expensive and people struggle with staying connected when travelling in Africa and internationally. She invested to become a global partner of Flexiroam Asia and negotiated distribution rights in Africa. Flexiroam Africa (Pty) Ltd was founded by her in 2018 and since then the company has established a B2B and B2C customer base, becoming profitable less than two years later.

As a result of the worldwide pandemic, the largest global AIDS NPO, the International AIDS Society (IAS), was forced to turn their July 2020 23rd international AIDS conference for 20 000 participants from a physical to a virtual event. A core tenant of the IAS is accessibility and the challenge they faced was how to close the global digital divide and provide online access to the virtual conference to their group of almost 1 000 scholarship and educational fund recipients. They asked Jacqueline to create a solution to provide unlimited global data Flexiroam SIM cards and smartphone devices to be shipped worldwide to over 900 delegates to connect them to AIDS2020:Virtual. Emily Blitz, Director, Conferences at the IAS recounts “When our team first approached Jackie about finding a solution to connect low-income delegates from around the world for our upcoming conference, she was immediately enthused with the project. Given this was way beyond our technical expertise, it was up to Jackie to envision how this accessibility project came to fruition. After our initial discussion, she immediately reported back with a detailed proposal that highlighted key obstacles, potential solutions, and all necessary information to make the venture a success. With Jackie’s technical guidance, our scholarship team assessed the data and mobile device needs of our 2 000 recipients ultimately determining that 1 000 were in high need of support in order to take part in AIDS2020:Virtual. The connectivity project had to be completed in only ten weeks. Even with the short timeline, Jackie was determined to meet each deadline at every step. She demonstrated incredible leadership in envisioning a project beyond the scope of any other entrepreneur or organization our team met with to discuss the potential of this project. While others came up with limited solutions, Jackie went above and beyond in finding creative solutions to individually source and provide data packages in each of the different countries and continents where our delegates needed access, including over 500 delegates on the African continent”.

In spite of the global crisis, Jacqueline was able to pivot her business from providing data roaming for international travellers to providing virtual global data to connect people to a virtual conference. Once international travel starts up again, the original business model will spring back into life but now there is an equally attractive new solution aimed at providing online access to virtual events. Jacqueline’s vision is to establish a footprint for the company across Africa by building a strong country network of Flexiroam Africa partners. Her message to female entrepreneurs in technology is to look out for disruptive solutions that have the power to improve lives by solving big pain points.

About Flexiroam
Flexiroam provides worldwide mobile data coverage with over 580 network providers in more than 150 countries, without owning a single cell tower by partnering with more than 800 mobile operators globally. The company’s core capabilities are in research and development, scalable consumer app development, Big Data and Artificial Intelligence. Flexiroam Africa was founded by female South African entrepreneur, Jacqueline Aylett after her discovery of the disruptive technology pioneered by Flexiroam. She is passionate about the power of connectivity to improve lives and saw the potential of investing in becoming one of Flexiroam’s global partners to bring affordable and convenient data roaming to Africa, one of the world’s fastest-growing regions. Visit www.flexiroamafrica.com to find out more.

About the International AIDS Conference
The International AIDS Conference is the premier global platform to advance the HIV response. As the world’s largest conference on HIV and AIDS, it sits uniquely at the intersection of science, advocacy and human rights, bringing together scientists, policymakers, healthcare professionals, people living with HIV, funders, media and community. Since its start in 1985, the conference continues to serve as an opportunity to strengthen policies and programmes that ensure an evidence-based response to HIV and related epidemics. Visit www.aids2020.org for more information.

Testimonial

“The connectivity project had to be completed in only ten weeks. Even with the short
timeline, Jackie was determined to meet each deadline at every step. She demonstrated
incredible leadership in envisioning a project beyond the scope of any other entrepreneur or
organization our team met with to discuss the potential of this project. While others came up
with limited solutions, Jackie went above and beyond in finding creative solutions to
individually source and provide data packages in each of the different countries and
continents where our delegates needed access, including over 500 delegates from the
African continent.

While this particular project was created to provide connectivity for our delegates to
meaningfully participate in AIDS 2020: Virtual, this project has the potential to expand far
beyond its initial scope. Already, there has been an interest by other international institutions
who have lauded this project as an example of what future virtual events and organizations
must do in order to ensure equity and accessibility for the foreseeable future. Many
delegates who received data and/or mobile device packages from Flexiroam had zero or
very limited prior access to data. Now with access to this technology, these individuals have
the opportunity to continue to be connected digitally worldwide.

Jackie has been an invaluable partner and leader in helping us to pilot this incredibly
innovative project. Without her and her Flexiroam team, we would not have been able to
provide digital connectivity and accessibility to almost 1 000 delegates most in need of
support."

Emily T Blitz
Director, Conferences
International AIDS Society