“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.”
“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.
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.
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
Global Guide For Entrepreneurs, Innovators Launches In Johannesburg
Startup Guide partners with SAP Next-Gen, Tshimologong Precinct to bring global guidebook to Johannesburg innovation ecosystem; calls for nominations.
Calling all entrepreneurs, accelerators, innovators, co-working spaces and experts in the City of Gold: Startup Guide, the leading global guide for start-ups in high-growth innovation hubs in Europe, the US and Middle East, is open to nominations in Johannesburg.
Founded in 2014, Startup Guide is a creative content and publishing company that produces guidebooks and tools to help entrepreneurs to connect to communities and resources in the leading start-up cities around the world. Its global footprint covers some of the most innovative and thriving start-up ecosystems in the US, Europe and the Middle East, including those of London, New York, Berlin, Tel Aviv, and Stockholm. After launching in Cape Town earlier in the year, Startup Guide now moves to Johannesburg.
According to Sissel Hansen, Founder and CEO of Startup Guide, South Africa’s largest city is emerging as a key innovation hub for start-ups.
“Johannesburg has recently emerged as a growing ecosystem for start-ups and entrepreneurs in Africa, particularly in the tech industry. We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to create a comprehensive guide of resources for aspiring founders wanting to do business in South Africa’s largest city.”
Startup Guide Johannesburg was launched at Wits University’s Tshimologong Precinct, one of Johannesburg’s newest high-tech addresses in the vibrant inner-city district of Braamfontein. Tshimologong, which means “new beginnings” in Setswana, focuses on the incubation of digital entrepreneurs, commercialisation of research and the development of high-level digital skills for students, working professionals and unemployed youth. Lesley Williams, CEO of Tshimologong Precinct, says: “South Africa is fast-becoming a go-to source for innovation, especially in the tech sector. We believe the introduction of a dedicated resource for the startup ecosystem in Johannesburg will unlock significant opportunities for innovation hubs such as ours to more easily connect with entrepreneurs, experts and other roleplayers, ultimately providing a more supportive environment for growth.”
Startup Guide has partnered with SAP Next-Gen, a purpose driven innovation university and community for the SAP ecosystem enabling companies, partners and universities to connect and innovate with purpose linked to the UN Sustainable Goals for Development. Ann Rosenberg, Senior Vice President and Head of Global SAP Next-Gen says:
“We strive to connect digital innovators in an open innovation community to drive the future success and growth of industries through the use of technology. As we have witnessed in other high-innovation cities around the world, the introduction of knowledge resources – supported by opportunities for collaboration and partnership in an open ecosystem – enhances the overall success of entire start-up communities. Johannesburg’s world-famous energy and business acumen will greatly benefit from the launch of Startup Guide Johannesburg and the support of industry partners, including SAP Next-Gen and the Tshimologong Precinct.”
Cathy Smith, Managing Director of SAP Africa, adds that the partnership with Startup Guide aligns well with the company’s commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. “As an organisation we are committed to achieving the high ambitions set out by the SDGs. However, it is virtually impossible to do so alone: the concept of partnership with likeminded purpose-driven organisations and initiatives is vital not only to realising the SDGs but to foster a greater and more inclusive innovation ecosystem in Johannesburg and across the African continent.”
Nominations for the Johannesburg edition of Startup Guide are now open. If you know a start-up, entrepreneur, programme, space, accelerator, or experts and would like to see them featured in the book, please visit https://startupguide.com/shop/startup-guide-johannesburg and submit your nomination.
Aspirations For SMMEs In South Africa
Research released earlier this year, revealed that there are only 250 000 formal SMMEs in South Africa.
Entrepreneurs who have started up a business over the past 10 years have done so in an environment that has been largely negative, with slow economic growth and an unstable political landscape. “So, all in all, a very difficult setting to launch, grow or even maintain a business,” says Bizmod MD, Anne-Marie Pretorius.
Pretorius says that many entrepreneurs who operate in South Africa can be forgiven for often wondering if the slog is worth it. Yet they continue – despite economic uncertainty, strikes, retrenchments and downscaling. “It is this tenacity that sets entrepreneurs apart, and I often wonder how much more successful they would be in an easier and more supportive environment.”
Below, Pretorius shares her ideal pro-entrepreneur outlook for the future:
- Greater policy certainty on all key government policies from land reform to regulations surrounding labour broking.
- Being able to do away with bad policy faster. An example of where this did not happen was in the changes of visa requirements; leading to an unnecessary dent in our tourism industry, an industry that should be targeted for growth.
- Lower compliance requirements for companies with a turnover under R50 million. The cost of compliance for smaller enterprises is significantly higher in comparison to their income and the cash they have available. Smaller companies need simpler frameworks where compliance is required. A portal similar to SARS e-filing, which makes compliance across various pieces of legislation clear and simple, would be ideal.
- The Labour Relations Act is a key piece of legislation that has done a lot to protect the rights of the employee. It has attempted to balance the power relationship between employee and employer. Some innovation is however required in labour practices, allowing for mutually beneficial flexible working relationships that keep pace with the changing work environment.
- Buy small, buy South African! A framework whereby large corporations and government would have to allocate a certain minimum percentage to buying from smaller local companies. There are encouraging signs that this is happening more, however this is still not an ingrained practice. In addition, consumers should be more informed on what items are South African produced, in order for them to be encouraged to purchase locally.
- Easier access to funds enabling entrepreneurs to grow their businesses. There are currently a few options available, but all of the options require significant governance and red tape. Whilst this is understandable from the lenders perspective, it does hamper the agility and growth of companies.
- Make good financial governance aspirational, attractive and easily accessible.
- The process for tenders to be corruption free and fair, enabling more companies to add value.
- Pay SMME’s on 30 days or less. Enormous pressure exists on smaller companies when not paid on time. They simply do not have the cash flow to carry a debtor’s book of 90 days and this inevitably hampers their growth.
- Tax SMME’s at a lower tax rate. Profit tax should be lowered in order to drive entrepreneurship.
- Creating a platform that makes it simpler to employ young individuals with potential and create support programmes for SMMEs to upskill them. There is a significant financial and time investment required to train a young person, which can make SMME’s sometimes wary to do so.
“If we are able to make only some of these ideals a reality, there is no doubt that we would see economic growth, entrepreneurial growth, and more employment opportunities,” concludes Pretorius.
Related: A – Z Easy Small Business Ideas
South African Students Win R50 000 In The Universities Business Challenge
Students from Mangosuthu University of Technology beat 500 students from 13 different universities across South Africa.
The Overlings from Mangosuthu University of Technology are the 2018 winners of Cognity Advisory’s Universities Business Challenge (UBC), sponsored by General Electric (GE). The winning team of four students are walking away with R50,000 to turn their business idea into reality.
Launched in July this year, the UBC has seen 500 students from 13 different universities across South Africa participate in a business simulation competition designed to develop entrepreneurship skills.
When the competition launched, all teams were challenged to form virtual companies and to virtually manufacture and sell bicycles.
The final 10 teams were from the University of Limpopo, Mangosuthu University of Technology, Vaal University of Technology, University of KwaZulu-Natal and North-West University.
During the two-day final, the teams played six rounds of simulations. Each simulation gave the teams a chance to re-evaluate their progress and better certain areas that needed improving. The winning team realised during one of their simulations that in order to maximise profits they would need to introduce two new products and market it differently from their initial product. They paid special attention to their customer’s needs.
The aim of the UBC was designed to tackle South Africa’s high level of youth unemployment. Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) that South Africa’s official unemployment rate increased by 0.3 of a percentage point to 27.5% in the third quarter of 2018.
Nkosinathi Sokhulu from the winning team said, “Even though we didn’t have a great presentation we made the most profit. This experience taught us a lot about ourselves and business. Most of the decisions that we made came from serious debates. We learnt that market research is crucial when starting a business. We learnt that marketing starts and ends with the customer.”
“Based on this market research information we realised that it was important for us to introduce two new products and this, in addition to the main product we were selling, helped us to maximise profits. We saw an opportunity to add more products and it paid off” said Mbali Tshozi.
Tope Toogun, development advisor and CEO of Cognity Advisory said, “All the teams showed tremendous promise and I was very impressed by their levels of engagement with one another and their tenacity.”
“We really want to ensure that students are equipped with the necessary skills to not only start a business but to run it effectively. While we have selected one winner, our hope is that each team has benefitted by having learned the skills needed in the workplace.”
“The competition is designed to develop the ‘soft skills’ that are important for those wanting to set up their own business or simply be successful at work. With rising unemployment and ongoing talent shortages, having these skills is crucial for those wanting to get a job.”
The UBC, now in its second year in South Africa, will continue into its third year in 2019 and will run as the Africa Enterprise Challenge (AEC).
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