Innovators are industrious people who are constantly looking for new ideas and solutions to the world’s great challenges however daunting these may appear to be. They are driven by their passion, and when they receive external recognition it serves to encourage them to raise the bar even higher.
Now it’s Linda Serra’s moment. She is the winner of Enel’s Women in Tech, a challenge launched by Enel Open Innovability with the aim of identifying and promoting the best startups and SMEs founded and/or managed by women. Serra is the CEO and co-founder of Work Wide Women, the first social learning platform that helps women acquire the digital skills needed to advance in professions relating to the internet and new technologies.
The Italian entrepreneur has been actively tackling the issue of gender inequality for over 10 years. “In Italy we have 52% female unemployment. This is a worldwide problem. At the same time, the job market and technology companies require digital skills but they have difficulty in finding people for the new professions that have resulted from advances in technological innovation. Furthermore, 80% of technology professionals are men,” Serra explains.
How can we respond to this situation? By empowering women to learn the technological skills required to meet the current demand on the employment market. This is the main objective of Work Wide Women. “We started this initiative in 2014. We have created a community where women can find high-level education and digital training at a very low price, and this is essential nowadays in order to find a well-paid job. We also connect women and companies to create mutual opportunities for inclusion, employment and growth,” Serra concludes.
With more than 5,000 women registered and a powerful mobile app, Work Wide Women is only getting started. Serra, who spent a month and a half in the United States with the programme Women in Technology learning alongside other women how to empower female workers, feels very strongly opinion about her purpose: “Without equality and parity there is no innovation and there is no future. The female perspective needs to be represented in the jobs of the future.”
The entrepreneur was awarded $20,000 at a special ceremony held on 17 April. The prize money is intended as a contribution to help her develop her company’s technology. As she explained in a featured article in MIT Technology Review, “Being recognized by a big company such as Enel is very important for us and we really appreciate it. Also, the financial grant is a big help because a company like ours invests in new ideas and solutions every day, and that’s very expensive.”
This Women in Tech challenge was born from Enel’s commitment to help close the gender gap in energy technologies. We are doing this by identifying the standout female business leaders and providing them with a unique opportunity to develop and scale up their solutions to a global level. The initiative is also perfectly in line with our commitment to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals concerning gender equality, affordable and clean energy, industry innovation and infrastructure and climate action.