Jacqueline Aylett, 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. 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’.
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.”
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.