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Women Empowerment: The Solution For The Future

It is whether we as women can retrain ourselves and understand that we have the right to lead, to make decisions and to take risks.

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Catherine van Heerden

“I am reminded of the movie titled “There is something about Mary”. Well, I want to raise my voice out loud and clearly state “There is something about Mary, Sue, Anne, Carol and every other woman out there!! I truly believe that the world can change if women in this world are awakened to their true self. If they can see their own beauty and if they can step into their own worth and value.” These are the words of Catherine van Heerden, Psychologist, Author, Speaker, Coach and Facilitator.

She further explains that our self-concepts and how we esteem our own worthiness – what we think and feel about ourselves – significantly impact our professional performance, and for women to be truly empowered in business they need to recognise and illustrate their self-worth. It’s important to acknowledge that the qualities, skills and competencies we develop do not have to be gender-based.

“Gender thinking can undermine women’s careers and impose self-limitations. In developing countries like South Africa, it’s important that the private sector intensifies its role in the economic empowerment of women, however it’s essential that we first understand that ‘empowerment’ does not suggest that women need to act more like men. I still find that view to be alive and thriving in the corporate space.”

Related: Funding And Financial Assistance For SA Women Entrepreneurs

“Boldness, decisiveness, strong leadership and risk taking are traditionally described as male dominant qualities, but these shouldn’t be ascribed to a particular gender – they are human qualities first and foremost,” explains Catherine. “I mean, aren’t women told that ‘they have balls’ when they show courage? Do we ever say to men that they have ‘boobs’ when they had compassion? I am just saying…..”

It is whether we as women can retrain ourselves and understand that we have the right to lead, to make decisions and to take risks.

Workplace gender-bias and equality is difficult to escape, even in this day – it’s a phenomenon throughout all industries across the globe. Addressing these issues requires a strategic approach that looks at the culture of the organisation, weighing up existing company initiatives and company priorities. “However, women can’t wait for corporations or even society to address this gender-bias and equality, we need to look at ourselves and our immediate environment to understand what we can do to change the situation, dependent on what each of us want and desire for our own individual lives.” Catherine advises.

“Speaking from my own personal experience, I know what it means to construct your own future by the way you think, how you conduct yourself and how you invest in controlling and guiding your own thoughts. There is much power in deciding who you want to be and how you want to show up in your life each and every day, despite your past realities or your current restraints. I know for some women this is extremely hard as culture and societal limitations often set clear boundaries for women.”

It’s about taking ownership of your career, having a clear vision and clarity of your life purpose and meaning and constantly emphasising and demonstrating the value of your strengths or value propositions to your world.

Related: 10 Successful SA Women Entrepreneurs’ Top Advice On Balancing Work And Family

To make this more accessible to women and providing them with a practical platform to be mobilised into a journey of self-discovery, Catherine has partnered with Susana Kennedy who is also extremely passionate about women empowerment – to create a three-day highly interactive and dynamic workshop uniquely designed specifically to empower women in business.

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The Success Portal workshop, which takes place from August 11 to August 13 at VENUE in Johannesburg, offers women career coaching, goal setting guidance and planning on how to identify the need for and implement change. Catherine has designed a cognitive model to mobilise people into making good decisions.

“Through the Success Portal event, participants can expect to gain a newfound inspiration and a sense of achievement,” says Catherine. “It provides women with a dynamic opportunity to become ‘unstuck’ in their careers, relationships and/or other areas in their lives and will help them design their own professional path in a welcoming environment of career-focused women.”

In an interview with FastCompany.com, Arianna Huffington, author of Lean In, said it was the voice in her head and negative self-talk that had the power to hold her back in her career. Catherine and Susana will work with delegates to address and overcome this negative self-talk that so many women experience.

Importantly, the Success Portal event provides the opportunity for delegates to network with like-minded women AND be introduced to successful women who have acquired ‘Celebrity’ status. The power duo is pleased to announce that PJ Powers and Kamini Patha will be their guests during the session in August and participants will also be treated to some of Kamini’s delicious creations.

“Our event is limited to just 20 to 30 women maximum, to encourage authentic and genuine engagement amongst participants and with myself and Susana,” explains Catherine.

“Strategic networking and mentorship is critical for career advancements – relationships are important and can often play an important role in success.”


To register for the Success Portal event, visit http://www.thesuccessportal.org

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Silver Linings For Smaller Businesses In Budget 2018

Comments by Pieter Bensch, Executive Vice President, Africa & Middle East at Sage.

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As expected, the Finance Minister and Treasury have proposed some tough measures to address South Africa’s tax collection shortfall, growing budget deficit, and new spending priorities such as free education. Higher VAT, fuel levies and import duties on luxury goods will no doubt crimp consumer spending, which could be bad news for smaller businesses.

But we are pleased that the Finance Minister has raised his GDP growth projections and proposed interventions to help grow Small & Medium South African businesses. We welcome the steps government is taking to restore fiscal credibility, rein in spending, and hold off another credit ratings downgrade – it may be painful in the short term, but we should be rewarded in the longer term.

On small businesses, competition policy and market access

It was great to see the Finance Minister talk extensively about the hopes and concerns of entrepreneurs and small businesses in his Budget Speech today. We welcome his acknowledgement that low market access and high barriers to entry are constraining the growth of the country’s small businesses.

Minister Gigaba mentioned that government will take action against anti-competitive behaviour that harms these businesses.

That is a worthy goal, but we think we should also be looking more closely at how big businesses can play a constructive role in nurturing the growth of small businesses through mentoring and partnership. Small businesses are tomorrow’s customers, suppliers and employers, so it’s in everyone’s interest to grow this sector.

Related: How South African Small Business Owners Can Overcome Economic Uncertainty

On small business funding

We heard more about the R2.1 billion fund Departments of Small Businesses and Science & Technology and the National Treasury are developing to benefit small and medium enterprises during the early start-up phase. It’s good news that government is investing in innovative startups, but it’s important that the funding is spent in an efficient and productive manner. Picking winners and losers isn’t easy, so we’d like to hear more details about how government will choose to allocate this money.

On public procurement

It makes enormous sense for government to use public procurement to support black economic empowerment, industrialisation and development of small businesses. We are glad to hear that government sees its billions of rand in procurement spend as a lever to empower small business owners – we look forward to more detail about how government will enable more small and micro businesses to participate in procurement opportunities. And of course, it’s critically important that government follows through on its promise to pay small businesses within 30 days of invoicing.

Cash flow is a major challenge for small businesses and few of them can afford to wait three to six months for payment on a big project.

Related: How South Africa’s Small Businesses Plan To Invest Their Money In 2018

VAT

Most consumers and businesses have been preparing themselves for a VAT increase in this budget. As unpalatable as many people will find the one-percentage point hike in the VAT rate, it was an obvious choice for a Finance Minister wanting to raise more revenue without dampening business investment or consumer spending.

The VAT hike will take some money out of people’s pockets, but will probably have less impact on business confidence than higher corporate taxes and less impact on consumer spending than further personal tax increases.

As expected, government has preserved the zero-rated status of some staples to lessen the impact on the poor. Small & Medium Businesses will need to make sure their systems are ready to cater for the new VAT rate, but this should not be too much of a challenge for those with automated accounting systems. By international standards, VAT in South Africa is still relatively low – we can just hope that this increase is not followed by another in the next year or two.

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4 Budget Speech 2018 Outcomes To Know For Your Business

2018 Budget Speech commentary by Rob Cooper, tax expert and Director of Legislation at Sage.

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The increases to taxes across the board are less painful than I expected. The general improvement to the fiscal framework and the reduction of expenditure by R86 billion over three years seem to have gotten us over the hump – for now, in any case.

1. Personal income tax

There were no surprises as far as personal income tax (PIT) is concerned. The top 45% rate remains unchanged and tax bracket creep relief is given only to those who earn below R410 000 per annum. Bracket creep in personal income tax, along with fuel levies, offers low-hanging fruit for the Finance Minister.

Related: What It Will Really Take For South Africa’s Businesses To Scale And Create Jobs

National Health Insurance

It’s good news that the Medical Tax Credit is still with us, even if it has received a below-inflation increase. This Medical Tax Credit is relatively small – especially with this year’s low increase – but it does help to make private medical cover affordable for millions of low-income South Africans.

2. Travel reimbursements

Great news for taxpayers and employers from the Budget: Government has scrapped the 12,000km a year limitation for using the prescribed rate per kilometre to calculate travel reimbursements.  This will simplify travel reimbursement administration, but could open the door for increased levels of non-compliance in respect of travel reimbursements. On the whole, however, this will make life much easier for businesses.

Related: Silver Linings For Smaller Businesses In Budget 2018

3. Employment tax incentive

The Minister of Finance has decided that six special economic zones (SEZs) should be recognised by the ETI Act. Employers will thus be able to claim the Employment Tax Incentive for all employees working in one of these SEZs, irrespective of an employee’s age, but subject to qualification tests such as minimum wage and maximum remuneration. Outside of the SEZ, employers can only claim for the incentive for employees aged 18 to 29 years. This is a great way to generate more employment in the SEZs.

4. VAT

The VAT increase was expected and inevitable, and so were the VAT exemptions and increases to social grants the Finance Minister has applied to shield the poor from the impact of higher VAT.

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Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs Takes On 30 New Businesses

22 Women and 20 men – attended a three-day induction at Tsogo Sun’s Crowne Plaza The Rosebank hotel in Johannesburg from 31 January to 2 February.

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With new hope burgeoning throughout the South African business environment as fundamental political change sweeps through the country, the Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs programme has inducted 42 new beneficiaries from 30 different SMMEs for a year of intense training, coaching, mentorship and support – to assist them to professionalise and grow their businesses. This brings to 242 the total number of entrepreneurs supported by the programme.

The inductees – 22 women and 20 men – attended a three-day induction at Tsogo Sun’s Crowne Plaza The Rosebank hotel  in Johannesburg from 31 January to 2 February. This represented the commencement of the programme’s 2018 development year, which incorporates the provision of customised analysis and strategic plans tailored to the specific needs of each enrolled business, business management courses provided by the University of Cape Town and facilitated by GetSmarter; Financial literacy courses through the Colour Accounting system, Microsoft Office courses, and Sales & Marketing training.  The beneficiaries are each assigned a business analyst, a financial mentor and a leadership coach who work with them to implement their business strategies throughout the year.

Related: Before Time In Soweto – The Décor Hire And Catering Entrepreneurs That Are Growing Their Business Annually

This year’s class of 2018 entrepreneurs is made up of 30 small businesses operating in provinces across six provinces in South Africa in a diverse range of market sectors that include: tourism, ICT, cleaning, professional services, manufacturing, retail, health and beauty, agriculture and secretarial and administrative services. Candy Tothill, Tsogo Sun’s GM of Corporate Affairs, says “Part of the value of such a diverse group is that it creates opportunities for the businesses to trade with each other.”

She adds, “Job creation is increasingly crucial in South Africa, as unemployment has reached unprecedented levels, particularly among the youth. Through the Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs programme, we identify and assist people running their own businesses to professionalise their operations in an effort to make them viable employers who are sustainable businesses and contributors to the growth of the country’s economy.  At the same time, we encourage them to be “conscious” consumers who procure local products and services and support each other by keeping it local and proudly South African.  We are interested in changing their approaches from “managerial” mindsets to “leadership” mindsets, and so we motivate them to be fearless in their approach to growth with purpose. The programme provides them with the skills to enhance their strategic planning and performance and the wisdom to “pay it forward” by training them to become leaders in their communities.  The role that the programme’s mentors and coaches play in instilling these values is of great significance to the achievement of our objectives.”

Belinda Francis, MD of Tych Solutions, a generalist recruitment agency based in Durban with offices in Johannesburg and Eastern Cape, was enthusiastic about joining the Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs programme. “Tsogo Sun is an amazing brand to be associated with, but more so, having met the team at a Supplier Showcase and heard others’ success stories, I was hungry to learn more and be a part of this journey. I don’t have an active partner and so I believe this programme will help to grow and empower me and my entire team even further. I am big on empowering and developing people and small businesses – and this will certainly create the platform for me to do so.”

Related: Gemkids – From Montessori Method To Micro Enterprise

Entrepreneur Carol Mlangeni, director of Enhle Creatives Photography & Design, also based in Durban, says she was browsing the internet looking for guidance on how to resolve issues within her company when she saw a Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs advertisement – and immediately responded. “I have issues within my business and I have been looking for answers on how to resolve them and grow my business and my brand awareness – I hope to achieve this through this programme.” Mlangeni adds that her future plans include providing job opportunities for “other aspiring enthusiasts like me”.

Thato Senosi is Founder of Magauta Designs and Projects, which supplies custom-made curtains, upholstery, and furniture repairs, and is based in Katlehong in Ekurhuleni. He was introduced to Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs by his mother, Carol Senosi, who joined the programme in 2016 and was a finalist in the Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. He says he joined the programme because

“I believe that entrepreneurship is a science, and one needs to put together all the necessary tools and formulas to build a successful business – and this programme offers that. My expectations this year are to identify missing formulas and find solutions, to be monitored and supported, and helped to become a great version of myself so I can inspire others, because no man is an island.”

His plans for the future include starting his own textile manufacturing company and bringing industry into the township to help combat some of the social challenges in his local community.

Says Tothill, “It’s encouraging to see the growing reach of Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs throughout the country and in a diverse range of businesses, and we wish our new beneficiaries – the Class of 2018 – every success through the year as they discover new ways to develop themselves and their enterprises.”

Tsogo Sun has a portfolio of over 100 hotels and 13 casino and entertainment destinations throughout South Africa, Africa and the Seychelles. For more details, visit https://www.tsogosun.com, follow on Twitter @TsogoSun or like on Facebook /TsogoSun.

Visit the Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs on Facebook: Facebook/TsogoEntrepreneurs and follow #TsogoEntrepreneurs on Twitter and Instagram.

Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs Class of 2018 with Hezron Louw

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