Doing Good

Women of Reality Capture: Queen Ndlovu

August 1, 2023
Rebecca Lehman

Over the year we’re highlighting leading women in the reality capture industry. In this installment, we’re diving into the fascinating story of Queen Ndlovu, popularly known as “the Drone Queen”. As the CEO and founder of QP Drone Tech, Queen Ndlovu has revolutionized the drone industry in South Africa and beyond. Join us as we explore her background, her business and her unwavering commitment to empowering others.

Tell us about your background and why you started a business

My entrepreneurial spirit has always been strong. With a background in education and psychology, I ventured into management consulting and became a serial entrepreneur. However, as the market in South Africa became saturated, I looked for a new path. Realizing my strength lay in running successful businesses, I decided to delve into the world of technology. Even though I didn’t have a degree in engineering, I knew I had a lot to contribute. I  embarked on a journey of learning and partnered with people who had the right technical skills.

Why did you choose to focus on the drone industry?

The drone industry captured my interest due to its potential for solving real-world challenges. I started South Africa Flying Labs and we were invited to join the network of flying labs to represent South Africa. South Africa Flying Labs is a nonprofit focused on STEM interventions, seminars, conferences and humanitarian aid. By exposing communities to drones and disaster management techniques, we were able to change people’s mindsets about technology. South Africa Flying Labs in partnership with QP Drone Tech was the first entity to host a first Conference in South Africa on Incorporating Drones and Robotics into Disaster Management. The conference was also thanks to partnerships with organizations like UNICEF, ESRI and DroneDeploy.

How have you seen and helped drone use spread in South Africa?

We run a global company, and have always thought beyond Africa. While disaster management is incredibly important within South Africa, our company and nonprofit are global players. By becoming a thought leader and customizing drones to suit African climates, we aim to revolutionize disaster preparation and response on a global scale. We believe in pulling others up along the way, creating a ripple effect that will make a difference worldwide.

How do you promote diversity in the drone industry?

Inclusivity and diversity are at the heart of my vision. I believe in creating opportunities for all, with a focus on empowering marginalized groups. We want to recruit a diverse workforce and ensure that women, young people and individuals with physical challenges benefit from my organization. Through workshops and training programs, we encourage women to enter the drone industry, emphasizing the importance of showing up, raising your hand and letting your voice be heard.

If you had one piece of advice for other women looking to get into the drone field, what would it be?

Show up and seize opportunities. By attending conferences, reading and engaging with social media, women can gain valuable knowledge and network with industry professionals. It is also so important to engage. Raise your hand to ask a question or express interest. Make your passion known and contribute your perspective – this can open up countless opportunities and lead you to a career making a profound impact.

About the Author

Rebecca Lehman
Rebecca Lehman
Social Impact Program Manager

Rebecca finds innovative ways to leverage technology in addressing social and environmental problems. At DroneDeploy she manages both the nonprofit and education programs. She works with nonprofits and social impact organizations to enable the power of mapping and new technology to reach those who need it most. She has a master's degree in Environmental Management from the Yale School of the Environment.

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