By Sinazo Mkoko
It’s not everyday that a financial institution offers financial literacy education to equip women entrepreneurs with business skills and give them a platform to connect and network with other business women and potential investors.
This is exactly what Standard Bank is doing with the “Empow(Her)” Entrepreneurs Development Series. This three-part series offers female entrepreneurs an opportunity to upskill themselves, with access to knowledgeable and experienced mentors.
Young women entrepreneurs should grab this opportunity with both hands and form part of this crucial series for their businesses to grow.
Reasons why you should take part in the Standard Bank Top Women masterclasses:
- Opportunity to pitch at the Standard Bank Top Women Virtual Conference
By attending the masterclasses, young women entrepreneurs stand a chance to participate in a pitching den at the Standard Bank Top Women Virtual Conference taking place on 13 October a panel of diverse and experienced Top Women judges will assist them with the feedback to grow their businesses.
10 pre-selected entrepreneurs will pitch their promising business models to a well-rounded panel of high-level thought leaders and business experts in the form of a three-minute elevator pitch followed by an interactive five-minute Q&A where participants will receive feedback on how to successfully grow their businesses into market leaders.
The Virtual Conference will, on its own, bring together global thought-leaders and experts to offer inspiration, practical solutions, networks and support 10,000 women entrepreneurs in Africa. Topco Media states: “With 100 global industry leaders, futurists, award-winning entrepreneurs, policymakers, industry bodies, and philanthropists, this anticipated to be the biggest global digital event for women entrepreneurs, allowing unprecedented access, networking and engagement.”
- R50 000 Cash Prize
The top 5 finalists will be entered into the 19th annual Standard Bank Top Women hybrid awards which will be taking place on 10 November in Johannesburg and one winner will walk home with the trophy and a R50 000 cash prize.
- You will be awarded a certificate
You got that right. Standard Bank will award you with a certificate which will show that as an entrepreneur you care about your financial literacy and you want to grow your business.
- Networking opportunities/ building a community
As you’re reading this post right now, there’s already a community of young entrepreneurs on social media who connected through the Standard Bank masterclasses. Amongst the topics that are often discussed there are networking opportunities and tips for those who are still new on this journey. Giving a tip on how to master this, a member of the Standard Bank Top Women Community advised: “ Be approachable and when you speak to people, be humane. It’s always awkward to approach a person who is a speaker or well versed in the entrepreneur world. I would suggest making it a speed dating method so that we can have a chance as well because speakers will be speaking to only a couple and they leave as they have other appointments and things to do.”
Sharing her sentiments, another member states: “A stranger will be piqued to know interesting stuff about you. If you don’t feel you have enough experience to promote yourself well, rest assured, many people feel that way! Speak about the experiences and moments that have shaped your passion and be sure to pose a question at the end, leaving the person to engage with you further. The quality of your questions reflect insight, inquisitiveness and emotional intelligence.”
- It’s free
Mahala! You literally have nothing to lose but everything to gain. The masterclass you attend will open wide doors of opportunities for you to thrive as an entrepreneur and grow your business.
Part two of the series took place on Thursday, 8 September 2022 where women entrepreneurs learnt how to work smarter as the masterclass focused on the basics of developing a business plan and strategy. They were equipped with the skills necessary to navigate the business environment and lead teams with a focus on the day-to-day running of a business.
Forming part of the latest masterclass speakers were Naledzani Mosomane, Head of Enterprise Development of Standard Bank South Africa; Jenine Zachar, Head of Enterprise and Direct Banking Propositions of Standard Bank South Africa and Nondumiso Mthwa, CEO of Idwala Property Group who all shared their expertise and wealth of knowledge with women entrepreneurs.
If you missed the masterclass, you can catch up here:
Jenine stated: ‘I’ve got the privilege of working with entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs in the moments that matter, to help them, to help their dreams come true as they are looking to start, manage or grow, scale their businesses.”
Nondumiso said it’s inspiring to see a company like Standard Bank willing to take up bets on entrepreneurs and walk this journey with them. She encouraged entrepreneurs to stretch themselves and see how far they can go. “Don’t hold back on yourself, don’t be afraid to take a chance on yourself. It doesn’t matter how your story starts, you can change it and become greater than you ever thought you’d be,” she said.
The first instalment of the Standard Bank Top Women ‘Empow(Her)’ Entrepreneurs Development series focused on financial wellness, with an aim to empower entrepreneurs to manage their finances and grow their businesses. Financial experts, Natalie Kolbe, Managing Partner at Norrsken22 and Money Coach, Busi Selesho were panellists and gave their insights on the matter.
Missed it? Catch up here:
Part three will take place on Thursday, 22 September and will focus on wealth management and teach entrepreneurs how to invest back into their business, invest and set aside an income for themselves. Register for the session here.