By Sinazo Mkoko
Embarking on an entrepreneurial journey is not a walk in the park and this journey is even worse for women entrepreneurs. The findings of the Gender Series Volume IX: Women Empowerment, 2017 to 2022 report that were released by Statistician-General of South Africa, Risenga Maluleke in October last year showed that there are still gender disparities despite the progressive laws and interventions aimed at women empowerment.
Stats SA stated: “Empowerment of women is core to South Africa’s processes of sustainable development. Leaving no one behind means addressing multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination and inequalities.” Here are three entrepreneurship programmes young entrepreneurs can participate in to boost their businesses in South Africa.
Women Founders Africa Program
This is an initiative by Google that aims to empower and assist African women who started businesses by giving them resources and opportunities to grow their businesses and solve problems faced by the African continent. This is aimed at women founders who are building tech start-ups in the continent.
In a statement released by Google last week, the head of Startup Ecosystem, Africa at Google, Folarin Aiyegbusi, said they believe that investing in women founders in Africa is critical for economic empowerment that will enable the creation of jobs for the growing African youth population. “Elevating the participation and leadership of women in the entrepreneurship ecosystem is crucial for promoting gender equality and driving economic growth in Africa,” she said.To apply, visit: g.co/acceleratorafrica before the 20 February 2023 deadline.
Isivande Women’s Fund
Known as the IWF, this is an exclusive fund that aims to accelerate women’s economic empowerment by providing more affordable, usable and responsive finance than is currently available. The programme focuses on formally registered businesses that are 50% or more owned or managed by women and have been in business for at least six months and offer loans ranging from R30,000 to R2,000,00.
IWF assists with support services to enhance the success of businesses. It pursues deals involving start-up funding, business expansion, business rehabilitation, franchising and bridging finance. For more information visit: https://industrialfinancing.co.za/economic-sector-trends/
Ethekwini Furniture Cluster Business Accelerator
Funded by eThekwini Municipality through the eThekwini Furniture Cluster and facilitated by BMA, the business accelerator aims to identify and develop high-potential SMEs as strategic suppliers to industrial lead enterprises through market access, standards upgrading, and capital investment interventions. They are looking for South African-owned business with 51% or more black ownership aiming to provide services in the furniture sector.To apply visit: https://furniturecluster.org.za/the-business-accelerator/
Dunlop’s business-in-a-box programme
Sumitomo Rubber South Africa (Pty) Ltd (SRSA) – Dunlop’s manufacturer and distributor, is calling for young entrepreneurs to participate in their business-in-a-box programme.
The programme is a plug-and-play solution for informal tyre businesses often trading from makeshift facilities, to be transformed into Dunlop-branded fitment centres.
The company also values diversity, so women, young people and disabled persons are encouraged to apply. Through this public-private partnership, SRSA is aiming to create 24 viable youth entrepreneurs and over 100 job opportunities by the end of this year.
To apply visit: https://www.dunloptyres.co.za/business-in-a-box