Celebrating Inspirefest Fellows: Jamila Abass & Alex Bernadotte

Running from 30 June to 2 July, Inspirefest is an international festival of technology, science, design and the arts, which places diversity and inclusion at its heart. Incredible global thought leaders in tech and innovation will gather for two full days for inspiring talks and discussion. Ashoka Fellows Jamila Abass and Alex Bernadotte will be speaking at Inspirefest this summer in Dublin, as passionate sci-tech professionals.

Inspired by her childhood experiences in small-scale farming, Jamila Abass felt compelled to address the daily challenges faced by Kenyan farmers using her entrepreneurial and technical skills in a meaningful way. Jamila built M-Farm, a technology platform that links farmers to markets and creates an ecosystem of knowledge exchange, aggregation, and opportunity. This creates a path out of poverty for these farmers, enabling them to meet the growing demands for produce across the region.

A few winning runs at local business plan competitions, many accolades in the international press, and several years later, M-Farm is poised to spread far beyond its current membership and transform the lives of thousands of small farmers.

Born in Port-au-Prince, Alex Bernadotte spent her early childhood in Haiti in the care of her grandmother, after her parents immigrated to the US in the hope of making a better life for her and her younger sister. Her grandmother ingrained in her the notion that the path to paying back her parents’ sacrifice lay in education.

Alex founded Beyond 12 to increase the number of low-income students who successfully graduate from colleges and join the workforce. Beyond 12 creates technology applications that enable data sharing between students, high schools and colleges. Alex was recently profiled in the Silicon Republic about the Beyond 12 approach to offering information, connections and mentoring to students.

Jamila and Alex are just two examples of many entrepreneurs leveraging technology for societal change. Irish Ashoka Fellows Mary Nally, James Whelton and Mike Feerick are bringing digital skills to the young, the old, and the marginalised, further illustrating the positive impact of changemaking technology.

Care about the future of science, tech, diversity and inclusion? Book your tickets now for access to fresh perspectives on leadership and innovation and make incredible connections with like-minded professionals. Be on the lookout for the latest installment in our #TechForGood series with Silicon Republic. 

This post was written by Quincy White, Intern at Ashoka Ireland.