Nigeria innovator Folake Owodunni shortlisted for the Aurora Tech Award 2024


...Aurora Tech Award 2024 Shortlist recognizes women founders challenging gender inequality in IT

…Winners will be announced on International Women’s Day

Folake Owodunni, the Co-founder and CEO of Emergency Response Africa, has earned a prestigious spot among the top 20 female contenders worldwide for the Aurora Tech Awards 2024. Her startup, which focuses on enhancing healthcare accessibility across Africa, was selected from a pool of 649 candidates, marking a significant achievement. This recognition underscores the growing influence and importance of impactful startups emerging from Nigeria.

Emergency Response Africa stands out in the African startup ecosystem for its innovative approach to healthcare. The company specializes in providing prompt and efficient emergency medical services. By leveraging cutting-edge technology and a network of healthcare professionals, they ensure that critical care is accessible even in remote areas. This startup is not only transforming the healthcare landscape in Nigeria but is also setting a precedent for similar initiatives across the continent.

Founded in 2020 by inDrive, a US-headquartered global mobility and urban services platform, the Award supports women entrepreneurs who are using technology to develop their communities, with the overarching goal of challenging gender inequality in IT.

Ekaterina Smirnova, Executive Director of the Aurora Tech Award, remarked, “Our venture capital partners have meticulously evaluated each of these submissions, which showcase the increasing participation of women IT leaders who are enhancing the quality of life in their communities, despite the challenges. This year’s Awards celebrate the work of these founders, and highlight both the diversity of projects and the vital role of local role models in inspiring change. The inDrive team passionately advocates for gender equality in IT. We are proud to recognize and support women through awards that honor their achievements, and actively promote their impactful contributions.”

Three cash prizes will be awarded to the winners: $30,000, $20,000 and $10,000 for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place respectively. In addition to the prizes, the entrepreneurs will gain access to the driver mentorship program.

Prominent members of the jury include Ms. Sadaf Abid, a social entrepreneur and CEO of Kashf Foundation (Pakistan); Leonor Cogneau, Head of User Experience at Carsome (Malaysia); Mai Medhat, CEO and co-founder of Eventtus (Egypt); Charlot Magayi Founder and CEO of Mukuru Clean Stoves (Kenya); Sullyen Almeida, Principal at monashees; and Tatyana Terentyeva, General Counsel at inDrive.

The winners of the 2024 Award will be announced at an online ceremony on March 8th, 2024 at Please register here to watch the ceremony.

Aurora Tech Award 2024 shortlist

Folake Owodunni from Nigeria: her startup, Emergency Response Africa, is dedicated to making healthcare accessible in Africa.

Sarah Molema from Botswana: founder of Deaftronics (Pty) Ltd. She believes that deaf people should live without limits, which inspired her to invent the first solar powered hearing aid made by people who are deaf for people with hearing loss in developing countries

Daniella Castro from Brazil: leader of Huna, a startup focused on the development of cutting-edge AI models for the early detection of chronic diseases in women.
Marwa Hage from Colombia: her startup, Munily App, uses software to create secure and connected communities.
Candace Chen from Taiwan: CEO & founder of Fluv, a pet care marketplace for urban pet parents in Asia.

Joselyne Del Rosario from Ecuador:her startup, DREx, is developing a platform that unlocks the potential of sustainable finance, avoiding E.S.G. greenwashing practices, and building in traceability and transparency.

Nadejda Anpilogova from Kazakhstan: co-founder of Your Accessible Guide, an ecosystem of inclusive digital products designed to develop accessible tourism for people with disabilities and special needs.

Maria Dmitrieva, based in Kazakhstan: CEO & co-founder of EcoDisclosure, a premier company revolutionizing the way businesses approach environmental, social, governance (ESG) scoring and disclosure.

Sandra Montes Pérez from Spain: with the ScrapAd startup, a marketplace platform for recyclable materials.

Paula Monticelli from Argentina: through her startup, CryptoMate, she wants to improve access to web3 with innovative digital solutions.

Rim Jourdan from UAE: her startup, Skatch, is a professional platform for blue and gray-collar workers. Focusing on the MEA region, Skatch aims to help technicians, workers, vendors or other professionals with lower education levels to secure jobs, and upskill through AI, gaming and community building.

Aidana Aituarova from Kazakhstan: as founder of Porte Tech, she contributes to the sustainable development of her hometown. Her company’s ESG-friendly web application with automated “key to all doors” helps to reduce financial and time costs by integrating RFID cards, parking remotes, paper passes and magnets in one application.

Hannah Töpler from Mexico: founder and CEO of Intrare, a social tech that builds proprietary AI to eliminate bias from recruitment. Intrare’s mission is to match millions of refugees, marginalized women, LGBTIQ+, and other diverse talents with fair jobs, to break the poverty cycle.
Firouza Eshonova from Uzbekistan: creator of Mila4AI, an app that aids those with speech disorders to improve their speaking ability. The app employs AI to prescribe oral motor and articulation exercises without needing a therapist present during their treatment, giving those who live in places that lack access to speech therapists an opportunity to improve their condition.

Assem Tazhiyeva from Kazakhstan: founder of Ozim Platform, a social project dedicated to supporting families with children who have special needs, by connecting them with research-based educational and psychological resources.

Aira Mongush from Cyprus: her startup, Mathhub, seeks to create global high value deep tech projects, building accessible tech education and reinforcement Learning and Group theory applications in Machine Learning Research.

Chinwendu Nweke from Nigeria: founder of Bridge Merchant Enterprises. Her vision is to see world hunger and poverty eradicated using technology and people-empowered solutions.

Alena Shchavleva based in Indonesia: founder of Effelp, a startup that matches up a patient’s needs for help and support with the resources available in his/her surroundings.
Megan Lam from Hong Kong: co-founder & CEO at Neurum Health. She is excited about meaningful changes in mind and lifestyle health.

Jasmijn Kok from Netherlands: founder of, a database of reliable and loving nannies and au pairs. Her super-fast app arranges everything in no time.

Press contacts

Public Relations Manager – inDrive Africa
Lineo Thakhisi
Phone: +2781 3636 872

About Aurora Tech Award

Aurora Tech Award is a non-profit initiative of inDrive, a global mobility and urban services platform. The Aurora Tech Award is an award for women tech startup founders whose projects have had a profound impact on global development. The objective is to support women in the field of advanced technologies, especially women entrepreneurs

inDrive is a global mobility and urban services platform. The inDrive app has been downloaded over 200 million times, and was the second most downloaded mobility app in 2023. In addition to ride-hailing, inDrive provides an expanding list of urban services, including intercity transportation, freight delivery, task assistance and courier delivery. In 2023, inDrive launched New Ventures, a venture and M&A arm.

inDrive operates in over 700 cities in 46 countries. Driven by its mission of challenging social injustice, the company is committed to having a positive impact on the lives of one billion people by 2030. It pursues this goal both through its core business, which supports local communities via a fair pricing model; and through the work of inVision, its non-profit arm. inVision’s community empowerment programs help to advance education, sports, arts and sciences, gender equality and other vital initiatives.

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