Connect with us

Support for Women Entrepreneurs

Helping Women Entrepreneurs Reach their Goals

Recent studies have shown that more and more women are starting their own businesses, but that they face a number of challenges in doing so.

Chana Boucher

Published

on

Mentors offering a female entrepreneur support

Women entrepreneurs should turn to the many organisations that exist purely to support them in their business endeavours.

According to the White Paper on Female Entrepreneurship released this year by FNB, women entrepreneurs don’t make effective use of support services. Figures gathered by the South African Women Entrepreneurs Network (SAWEN) indicated that 42% of women were not aware of organisations that support business in South Africa. Of the women who had used the organisations a significant number reported that their needs were met, showing that female business owners will benefit from using these organisations.

Here are some of the local organisations and associations set up to assist women entrepreneurs:

SAWEN

The SAWEN is a networking forum for individuals and organisations that are committed to the promotion and advancement of women entrepreneurs. It facilitates and monitors the socio-economic advancement of women entrepreneurs and their positive impact on the country’s economy. SAWEN facilitates access to business resources, information and opportunities for South African women entrepreneurs.

For more information, visit:

http://www.trevenna.net/sawen/sawenmain.htm

BWA (Businesswomen’s Association)

The Businesswomen’s Association is the largest and most prominent association of business and professional women in South Africa, and the voice of women in business. Through strategic partnerships with sponsors, non-profit organisations, leading companies, business schools and international associations, it provides ongoing opportunities to advance the interests of women in business. Members include entrepreneurs, professionals and senior decision makers. The BWA is a non-profit, voluntary organisation committed to offering real value in the form of leading and training, connecting and supporting members and South African business.

For more information visit:

http://www.bwasa.co.za

WIF (Women In Finance)

WIF is an exciting and inventive organisation that is at the forefront of SME assistance & development and the empowerment of women. WIF exists to create an innovative environment that empowers individuals to develop successful businesses throughout Africa through collaboration, support, diversity and challenge. The aim of WIF is to enable individuals and companies to maximise their growth and through its diverse offerings that include networking, mentorship, training, collaboration, entrepreneurship development and support.

For more information visit:

http://www.womeninfinance.co.za/

Women in IT

Women in IT is an initiative that was launched by Fizz Marketing with the support of big IT players like Microsoft to provide a support structure for those women working in what is today a male dominated IT environment. Membership is free and the benefits include a bursary and mentorship programmes, a quarterly electronic newsletter containing articles relating to women in IT, knowledge sharing through the website and invitations to events where you can connect with and support other women.

For more information, visit:

http://www.womeninit.co.za/registera.asp

Women in Business

The Women In Business organisation is a forum established as a networking platform to empower economically marginalised women to empower themselves. This platform is for the purpose of information sharing amongst groups of entrepreneurial, diverse women. Through this platform women are encouraged to take control of their businesses, to set their own agenda’s and timetables, to gain skills and knowledge, for the purpose of increasing business confidence, facilitating equal access to economic and productive resources, and to facilitate poverty eradication, utilising gender empowerment principles.

For more information, visit:
http://www.womeninbusiness.org.za/

WOESA (Women in Oil & Energy South Africa)

WOESA aims to facilitate and promote business opportunities for and enhance the participation of South African women in the oil and energy sector. It is imperative for women to focus cohesively on addressing their unique position in order to address these facts. WOESA’s first priority is to facilitate women’s participation in business opportunities in the oil, gas and other energy sector in South Africa. WOESA offers services to its member companies, organisations and individuals focusing on developing a knowledge base and building capacity amongst women through education and training.

For more information, visit:

http://www.woesa.com/

SAWIC (South African Women in Construction)

The South African Women in Construction (SAWIC) initiative was founded in 1997 to empower women to gain access to contracts, training, finance and networks in the construction industry. South African Women in Construction (SAWIC) is a National Association of women entrepreneurs, including women employed in all areas of construction, from the skilled trades to business ownership, with International Affiliation to the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) in America and Australia. Members are invited to quarterly national workshops at the Development Bank of Southern Africa. Provincial quarterly workshops are held in the capital cities as well.

For more information, visit:

http://www.sawic.org/

TWIB (Technology for Women In Business)

Officially launched as a programme of the Department of Trade and Industry, the TWIB is located in the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). Its main objective is to ensure that women involved in arts and craft, manufacturing, mining and energy, construction, tourism, and information and communication technology are empowered to adopt technology and science as an integral business solution for strengthening their enterprises.

For more information, visit:

http://www.trevenna.net/thedti/twib.htm

Women’s Development Businesses

The vision of the WDB Group is to offer real hope to the women of South Africa to enable them to build a self sustaining future. The primary vehicle that it uses to achieve this vision is offering microcredit to rural women in order to help them out of poverty in a sustainable manner. Throughout the world there is a growing realisation of the crucial role microcredit can play in reducing poverty, particularly when women are the main recipients. Increasingly women’s contribution, as workers, entrepreneurs and managers of family and community welfare is recognised as central to the ability of households, communities and the nation to tackle the crisis of meeting people’s survival and subsistence needs.

For more information, visit:

http://www.wdb.co.za

Advertisement
Comments

Support for Women Entrepreneurs

A Great Time To Be A Woman In Business

South Africa’s growing band of female entrepreneurs have many lessons to teach us all.

Morné Stoltz

Published

on

women-in-business

South Africa’s growing band of female entrepreneurs have many lessons to teach us all. In our first article in this feature, Marine Louw showed us the power of passion.

In this article, Cresi Heslop offers living proof that opportunities are everywhere – if we can see them and are prepared to seize them. She is building a business by identifying opportunities as they open up and then working hard to exploit them.

“It’s all about using what you have and thinking a bit laterally,” Heslop says.

Heslop and her husband started a youth sports blog in order to provide a motivational platform for a new generation of South African sportsmen and – women. They saw the blog, Heslop Sports, as a labour of love, with no commercial intent. However, spending so much time among athletes did reveal a potential commercial idea: a towel specially designed with sports in mind and that South African athletes could use with pride, especially at international events.

Related: Funding And Financial Assistance For SA Women Entrepreneurs

The result was a new business, Wonder Towel. Its flagship product is a microfibre towel designed to look like the South African flag, supplemented with a range of other microfibre products.

“Microfibre is environment-friendly because it’s so absorbent – it dries easily and stays fresh longer, and it takes less water to wash,” she says. “It’s also super light, thus great for travelling.”

Since then, the business has grown, selling primarily to the travel, beauty, baby and household markets, as well as the sports industry. Much of the selling is done via her online store and agents in Cape Town, Durban and Pretoria – as well as the e-commerce platforms. She singles out Takealot.com which, she says, does a great job in helping small businesses put themselves on the map.

She’s also just signed up a new distributor who is targeting independent schools, and schools with big water-sports teams.

Mentorship provided Heslop with welcomed inspiration and stability. She has built a solid relationship with a businesswoman who she respects enormously, Hendrien Kruger, the head of Inoar SA, which distributes a range of imported Brazilian hair products.

“We met seven years ago and I can turn to her at any point for sensible advice or just a good chat over a cuppa,” she says. “You should find some worthy people who inspire you in your field. They could even be people that you admire from a distance or whose books and lectures have become part of your way of seeing things.”

Because mentorship can play such a positive role, it’s vital that women offer themselves as mentors. Many successful women don’t realise how great an influence they could have on the next generation, starting what she calls a “cycle of future goodness”.

We’ve always heard about the power of the old boys’ club, and how it gives men a head start in business, but says Heslop, networks seem to be opening up.

“Female small-business owners are still in a bit of minority in South Africa, I believe however we are in a wonderful season of change at present,” she says.

Related: How Women Entrepreneurs Can Change the SA Business Landscape

“I recently had dealings with one of South Africa’s oldest and most established suppliers in a particular market sector, and I found them both welcoming and nurturing to an industry newcomer – something for which I am very grateful.”

Of course, entrepreneurs must also learn how to cope with challenges all the time. Heslop says that she keeps strong by sticking to a set of habits and actions. Her religious faith is an important mainstay and she daily affirms her commitment to making a difference, to being alert for hidden opportunities, and to spreading love and respect always.

“At the end of the day it will all boil down to confidence, belief in ourselves, joyous passion and delivering extremely high quality of products and services that will command respect and ensure us our rightful place in our beautiful nation’s economy,” she concludes.

MiWay is an Authorised Financial Services Provider (Licence no: 33970).

Continue Reading

Company Posts

Celebrating Women In The Signage And Printing Industry

The event will take place from 13-15 September at Gallagher Convention Centre.

Published

on

sign-africa

Women are increasingly making their mark on the traditionally male-dominated signage and printing industry. For those who want to enter this industry, or want to grow their businesses, the Sign Africa and FESPA Africa expo, co-located with Africa Print and Africa LED, offers many opportunities for entrepreneurs. The event will take place from 13-15 September at Gallagher Convention Centre.

Diane Jacobson, Managing Director at Ellis Lehman Signs, has been in the industry for 25 years, and enjoys being in a career that is dynamic, creative and interesting. ‘No two jobs are identical, and because it is an industry that serves a variety of businesses, it offers exposure to many types of people and companies,’ she said.

Related: Ideas To Start Your Own Business In Signage And Printing

‘I’ve worked with fantastic people and managed very interesting projects, from manufacturing plants to religious institutions, to petrochemical companies to retailers and sports events. I have met wonderful people over the years and have had the opportunity to travel to interesting places. It is an industry that has allowed me to grow my business skills in a creative space.’

Sign Africa candidates

Lehman’s key to success is understanding and servicing the needs of customers. ‘They are the lifeblood of all business. There is so much poor service out there, so doing things better and paying attention to detail and the final finished item sets anyone apart,’ she said.

Printing SA, the official trade federation representing printing, packaging and associated businesses in the industry, has a number of projects to empower women. The organisation runs a screen printing programme, which most recently trained 10 unemployed women from Cottonlands. The programme includes three elements: the theory of screen printing, practical application, and basic business skills that would assist in growing a small business.

A success story from the programme is Eunice Ngwenya, Managing Director of Eunique Printing, who completed Printing SA’s very first screen printing pilot course during 2014. Printing SA recommended Ngwenya to Konica Minolta South Africa.

Eunique Printing, which operates from Konica Minolta South Africa’s Johannesburg campus, has been in business for almost a year, employs three people and prints books, magazines, business cards, calendars, receipt books, brochures, invitations, photographs, as well as offering ring binding and glue binding services.

Ngwenya has always been interested in printing, and had done silk screening on plastic for 25 years. She is glad that she applied for the Printing SA training as it has led her to where she is today. ‘I’ve learnt so much from Printing SA, I wouldn’t be where I am without them, and with the help of Konica Minolta South Africa, I see myself going very far,’ she said.

Related: Celebrating The Multi-Faceted Woman

Sonja Groenewald is CEO of Colourtech Design & Print CEO, which has operated for 26 years. Its main focus is the publishing and education markets. The business has a unique set up as in addition to printing, there is also an in-house dispatch and deliveries division, which helps service 350,000 students.

Being in the printing industry, you’d think technology would be Colourtech’s most important asset, but it’s not. ‘Our staff are our most valuable resource – we consider each and every one of our employees as part of our family,’ said Groenewald.

They are integral to the business’ success. ‘I’ve always told my employees to treat each customer like royalty – whether a client is just popping in for a small pack of business cards, or taking on a major order. Good service is crucial.’


For more information about the Sign Africa, FESPA Africa, Africa Print and Africa LED expo’s, and to pre-register online, please visit: www.signafricaexpo.com/entrepreneur

 

Continue Reading

Company Posts

Celebrating The Multi-Faceted Woman

Fedhealth celebrates #WonderWomen this August for the multiple roles they take on and excel in.

Fedhealth

Published

on

women-entrepreneurship

Vital Stats

Fedhealth celebrates #WonderWomen this August for the multiple roles they take on and excel in. Whether you’re the CEO of a multinational company, the CEO of your home, or managing both, we’ve got plans to cover you every step of the journey — so you can focus on what you do best.

In celebration of Women’s Month, Fedhealth celebrates the strong women in our lives, and the various roles they fulfil with commitment and enthusiasm.

From mothers to caretakers to business owners and mentors, “Sisters are doing it for themselves.” And, since women are the backbone of so many families and communities, women’s health deserves to be cherished, during pregnancy, the childbearing years, and beyond.

Related: Why Donna Rachelson Believes The Secret To Your Business Success Lies With Women

Fedhealth’s family focus recognises the maternal role and how important women are in the family decision-making process. Fedhealth will take care of your family and your children through family-focused plans like Maxima Basis.

Fedhealth’s role in each stage of a Woman’s health

When you are young and single, Fedhealth looks after you by providing the contraceptive benefit

Oral contraception, contraceptive patches and certain contraceptive injections, as well as IUDs, are covered from Risk on Maxima Plus, Maxima Exec, Maxima Standard, Maxima StandardElect and Maxima Basis.

When obtained at a pharmacy, GP or a gynaecologist, the cost will automatically be covered by the Scheme and funded from the Major Medical Benefit.

When you are ready to start a family, Fedhealth has amazing maternity benefits

The experience of becoming a parent is priceless, but sooner or later you’re going to run into the expenses involved with a pregnancy.

The actual cost of pregnancy and childbirth can be steep, especially if you don’t have medical aid. The price tag of a healthy pregnancy can really add up, starting with prenatal care to ensure a healthy baby and a healthy delivery.

You’ll need to visit your gynaecologist throughout your pregnancy. If you have medical aid, prenatal visits and diagnostic tests such as ultrasounds, will be covered. They are generally considered as ‘preventative’ care.

An ultrasound could cost anything between R600 to R800 upwards, while delivery could cost up to R13 000 at a private facility. Every day, scores of women in South Africa scramble to find a medical aid that will cover their pregnancy and childbirth.

Maxima Basis is an excellent medical aid option to consider if you’re thinking of starting a family in the future.

Related: Funding And Financial Assistance For SA Women Entrepreneurs

At the later stages of your health, Fedhealth provides screening benefits

Yes, fifty being the new thirty would be particularly true for those who can afford good health care or have access to good health care.

Because of this, people are staying healthier for longer, and lives are starting later due to longer education times and difficulty finding jobs. People are settling down into careers in their mid to late twenties instead of earlier, making traditionally older ages, like 50, feel younger.

Women should have a general check-up every year, especially as you get older (even if you don’t feel like it yet). Have you scheduled yours?

Protect yourself against some of life’s nastier surprises by learning more about the most commonly misdiagnosed women’s illnesses:

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: When tasks such as getting ready for work, which usually require an hour take several hours, you may want to look into why. CFS affects women in their 40s and 50s. Women are four times more likely to suffer from this disease than men.

Multiple Sclerosis: Women are three times more likely to be diagnosed with MS, and it generally appears between ages 20 and 40. Having a mother with MS can be the strongest risk factor. Blurred or double vision, fatigue, tingling, dizziness, lack of coordination and tremors are symptoms to look out for.

wonder-women

Fedhealth has a strong social presence and, through the use of its blog, Fedhealth’s team will produce great articles along the #WonderWomen theme, such as women in the workplace, breastfeeding in your lunch hour and celebrating being single. To follow the blog, go to www.fedhealth.co.za/healthy-living-tips/

Continue Reading

Trending

FREE E-BOOK: How to Build an Entrepreneurial Mindset

Sign up now for Entrepreneur's Daily Newsletters to Download​​