Founders Spotlight:Tlamelo Cindy Melemo (Founder & CEO,Softberry Solutions)


As a tech entrepreneur, Tlamelo is always looking for new ways to use technology to improve lives. From running her own tech business to running a non-profit organization whose goal is to facilitate more participation by women in the field, calling her a life changer would be an understatement. In this interview, she takes us through her journey in tech as well as her future goals and aspirations.

In your own words, please tell us who Tlamelo Cindy Melemo is?

Tlamelo Cindy Melemo is a Motswana woman passionate about technology. She is a graduate from the University of Sunderland with a BSc (Hons) in Applied Business Computing. Cindy has worked as a Technology for Development officer for UNICEF Rwanda. She is the CEO of SoftBerry Solutions which is a company that specializes in technology solutions such as software, web, and phone application development, digital marketing, and data science. She is also a CEO of a start-up called Sebaga Africa which exports African products to international markets. She is also certified in SAP Terp10. She is the founder and president of WoTech Botswana (women in technology.) 

Briefly take us through your journey to a career in tech

I started my journey as an intern at Water Utilities Corporation. Then I went on to become an IT Auditor whilst I was moonlighting by providing software development and web development services. I then worked for UNICEF as a Technology for Development officer. Currently, I have transitioned to being a full time entrepreneur as the Founder of Softberry solutions which has a new product coming really soon to Botswana called Ko Dishopong. I am also an independent consultant to organizations and governments across Africa. 

What motivated you to pursue this career path?

My journey with technology started when I was still in junior school when I chose to study Design and Technology. I was more invested in being an entrepreneur ended up studying Applied Business Computing which is a union between technology and entrepreneurship. That's where my love for technology developed and grew. I’m now learning to appreciate both technology and entrepreneurship. 

Unfortunately, tech still has a big gender gap problem with a paltry number of women participants in the sector in executive and decision-making positions. What has your experience been as a woman in such a field and how have you dealt with the challenges that come with such a wide gender gap?

The biggest challenge I have faced along with many women in this industry is being underestimated/being overlooked because technology is generally considered a male-dominated industry. Its not only from colleagues but also from clients as well who usually expect a man to handle the work. The only way to overcome this challenge is to deliver and show them that you are capable. I usually motivate myself and say “I am definitely the girl that I think that I am”

On the other hand, what has been the upside of being such a trailblazer in the field?

The upside is there is so much room for women and nowadays opportunities are opening up for women to take up spaces in the industry. Also, technology is forever changing, it will keep you on your feet so you will never be bored when working in this industry.

You are involved in tech as both an entrepreneur as well as being Technology Development Officer for UNICEF Rwanda. What have been your experiences in both fields i.e. tech entrepreneurship and tech 9-5?

The challenges are actually the same between tech entrepreneurship and tech 9-5. You need to keep reinventing yourself, work hard and know the latest trends. The only difference is that entrepreneurship is more flexible. 

Please tell us more about your company SoftBerry Solutions

Softberry Solutions is a company founded in Botswana whose primary focus is to provide and build technology services within Africa. Currently, we are a team of 11 young amazing people. Through providing different products for different markets, we aim to bridge the technology divide gap in Africa. Currently, we are developing a product called “Ko DiShopong” which translates from Setswana to English as “At the shops”. Ko Dishopong is an online e-mall where vendors sell their products to consumers through the website and phone application.  Covid-19 has impacted Africa more severely due to the lack of adoption of technology which resulted in a high need of technology solutions and through the birth of Softberry Solutions, we aim to provide these solutions. Currently, we offer the following services; Digital Marketing, Business Development, Business Analysis, Software Development, Digital Transformation, Technology for development, Networking and Data Sciences. We plan on introducing Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and more. 

What was the motivation for starting SoftBerry Solutions?

My main motivation is how far behind Botswana is in terms of adopting technology as well as the SADC region. I want to see the technology industry change in Botswana but most importantly create sustainable jobs.

You are also involved in various social initiatives including being the Founder of “WoTech Botswana”. Please tell us more about WoTech Botswana

WoTech Botswana is an organization that aims to bridge gender parity within communities. We would love to see more girls and more women actively participating in the technology industry. We do this by having motivation sessions, training sessions, competitions, camps and many other activities. 

How important do you think initiatives such as WoTech Botswana are in growing women's participation in tech?

It boosts women’s confidence and it shows more young girls that it is possible to have a career in the technology industry and be successful. It also forms a sisterhood that offers support through the career.

From being involved with such initiatives for a couple of years now, how would you gauge their effectiveness, and if there is a need to, what can be done to improve their effectiveness?

Throughout the years I believe we have created change through the initiatives. We have donated laptops to schools, we have trained students on technology and we have inspired many others. More support from the government and from the private sector would help us perform better and deliver better results. 

Your rather impressive CV also includes being part of the African Union Youth Parliament as well as having been involved in the drafting of the innovation policy for Africa through i4Policy. Through this experience, how important do you think legislation and policies are in enabling more women's participation in tech?

Currently, legislation and policies still lack the inclusion of women and measures that promote the active participation of women. Currently in Botswana, we still need to revise our policies.

Most young girls shy away from tech-related courses because traditionally they have been considered a career path for boys. What advice can you give to them?

The best advice I can give them is that if they can dream it they can do it. But what really needs to happen is to tell more stories of successful women in the technology industry to inspire young girls to pursue a career in the industry. 

Apart from the aforementioned, please tell us anything you are currently involved in now and in the near future either with WoTech Botswana or in your personal professional capacity

Currently, the focus is growing both Softberry Solutions and WoTech Botswana. I look forward to introducing Ko Dishopong to Batswana and to the SADC region. I look forward to earning new members to WoTech Botswana and expanding across Botswana.

Lastly, please share with our readers your contact details in case they want to get in touch with you

You can contact me via, or WhatsApp/call:74610608 or Cindy Melemo on Facebook or Young African Hustler on Instagram

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