Sophia Bekele demonstrates her long-standing commitment to giving back to the community by engaging in different philanthropic activities and social entrepreneurship schemes through targeted support for education, women and youth talent development.
“…Finally, Social Entrepreneurship has always been important to me personally, since I started my entrepreneurship, therefore, we have successfully launched an education program for youth and girls now, which we recently consolidated under a DCA Academy, to provide digital opportunities and empowerment.” –Sophia Bekele, Keynote Address, May 2015, Berkeley HASS School of Business, USA“
In 2015, the Miss.Africa Initiative that Ms. Bekele founded set up an annual Pan African “Miss.Africa Seed Fund” to awards those women and girl initiatives that participate in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields in a competitive call for applications. In February 2016, the inaugural award disbursed a total of Seven Thousand United Stated Dollars (USD 7000) to various initiatives throughout Africa. Kenya based eMobilis was the grand prize winner of the Inaugural Miss.Africa Seed Fund for an amount of USD 5,000, while the other two winners of the USD 1000 prize each were Madagascar based startup Tech MDG / Pyladies Antananarivo and Pycon of Cameroon.
In January 2015, Bekele established the ‘Sophia Bekele Scholarship Fund‘ which provides scholarships and bursaries to students. To commemorate the Diamond Jubilee – 60th Anniversary celebration of the Nazareth School in Addis Ababa, the scholarship fund provided a total of Birr 200,000.00 (Two hundred thousand Ethiopian Birr) in scholarship awards and grants for the benefit of Nazareth School and its students. The sum of Birr 100,000 was allocated to fund merit-based scholarship awards to support and encourage students that excel in preparatory subjects who wish to pursue academic degrees and careers in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields. The balance sum of Birr 100,000.00 was availed as a grant to cover the cost of a full-service, interactive Internet Web Site for Nazareth School that was donated by Ms. Sophia Bekele. In the coming years, the Sophia Bekele Scholarship Fund will continue to provide merit-based scholarship awards and need-based bursaries for different beneficiaries.
“…You need to educate yourself with the tools of the future – ICT and internet to contribute to this fast, evolving and competitive, global landscape. Getting educated in ICT is no longer nerdy, it is trendy.” Remarks by Sophia Bekele, Founder and Executive Director at DotConnectAfrica for the ITU’s Girl’s ICT day 24 April 2014.
In 2010, under the Yes2DotAfrica Campaign she founded and led since 2007; while traveling to different African countries to campaign and create awareness for the new DotAfrica generic Top-Level Internet Domain Name. Sophia Bekele saw the problem of women and youth marginalization, and set up the Miss.Africa and Generation.Africa as empowerment programs under the charitable trust objectives of DotConnectAfrica organization.
In 2005, Bekele was presented with a Rotary Paul Harris Fellow award for her contributions and support for the works of various International Rotary Clubs, at the Alamo Country Club, in Alamo California.
In 2002, in furtherance of her social entrepreneurship goals, Bekele set up a local community youth development & outreach program, and sponsored a group of youth soccer team under her various Companies in Addis Ababa for over a period of 6 years ,after which some of the talented young soccer players graduated to professional clubs in the senior Ethiopian soccer league.