Rachel Sibande: Malawi’s Female Techpreneur – Founder of MHub

Rachel Chimwemwe Sibande is a Malawian technology expert, computer scientist, STEM educator, social entrepreneur and innovator. She is the Founder and Director of Malawi`s First innovation Hub and incubator for emerging start-ups, entrepreneurs and innovators, mHub. Rachel is an entrepreneur in the technology and energy space. Apart from the Hub, Rachel is Chairperson at Girl Effect Malawi and Board member at GiveDirectly Malawi.

Rachel Sibande founded Malawis first innovation hub and incubator (called MHub) in 2013. Since MHubs establishment, Rachel has impacted over 40,000 young innovative entrepreneurs with digital and entrepreneurial skills to champion and develop sustainable business solutions. Through mHub, Rachel created an entrepreneurship curriculum and implemented projects aimed at supporting promising entrepreneurs on three pillars; Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship. She also pioneered initiatives called Childrens Coding Club and Girls Coding Club (cf Code Club) to show young people and especially girls how to develop games, animations and mobile technology applications, creating a generation of technology creators. Through the coding initiatives, Rachel’s mHub has trained over 1,000 children and 5,000 girls in basic ICT skills and software development.

In March 2018, Rachel won first prize on her pitch concerning generation of electricity from maize cobs using a thermal chemical process at the Next Einstein Forum (NEF) Global Gathering in Rwanda. Later in October 2019, Sibande was listed by Forbes Woman Africa as one of the new wealth creators.

In the 2014 Malawian general election, Sibande worked as a technology expert, leading the development and deployment of a mobile and online voter verification system and a citizen journalism for real time monitoring of elections for independent observers and citizens. Almost 400,000 citizens were verified voter IDs through digital platform. Over 1,500,000 messages sent through citizens’ reports and from observers on incidences related to the electoral process.

Sibande offered technical support on a similar initiative for the 2015 Tanzanian general election. She also led as ICT expert in the 2016 Zambian general election. Moving to 2019, as Malawi draws near to the Tripartite elections on 21 May, comes Rachel`s latest Election Monitoring System called ‘Maso Athu'(Our Eyes). Through the Hub, Rachel has partnered with The National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) to develop an ICT led reporting platform for independent observers and citizens on incidences as they happen around the elections.