Did you know that 90% of South African female entrepreneurs believe mentorship is essential for success[i]? This was one of the key findings that emerged from a recently released international women entrepreneurship barometer. The barometer also revealed that 87% of these women believe having access to a network of other female entrepreneurs is essential for support through the process of building their businesses[ii].
From February 2020, female entrepreneurs in the Western Cape will not only have the opportunity to access mentors and benefit from a supportive growth environment by participating in the next cohort of the Women in Business programme, they will also be exposed to the latest technology tools available to enhance and grow their business. Run by the Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi), the 10-week programme will provide entrepreneurs with a platform to implement effective systems and processes through the deployment of tech products and services that enable growth, sustainability and room to scale.
Over the past three years, more than 130 women from all over the Western Cape have been empowered by the programme. Now, the opportunity is available to another 120 women.
One of the previous participants, Yandisa Kaulela Mahlasela, says: “When this opportunity came about, it was nice because it was different women connecting and talking about our struggles. I also learnt about advertising my business on social media and was introduced to organisational tools and apps, which had the biggest benefits for me. Another highlight was learning about financial tools which was very useful.”
Lauren Baaitjies, another Women in Business alum, adds: “There’s this glamour created by society about entrepreneurship, but it’s really not that easy. A lot of people don’t understand that, and if you don’t have support, it can be a lonely road. So, when you come to a community like this, you meet women who are in business and experience similar struggles and it just helps you. I would definitely recommend this programme because, as an entrepreneur, you need as much support as you can get and that’s what you definitely get here.”
“From tech tools and networking, to collaboration, it is a holistic programme that can help take your business to the next level,” shares fellow cohort member, Yolanda Vusa.
During weekly workshops held at the Woodstock Bandwidth Barn, the successful applicants will receive guidance and mentorship from business leaders and industry experts on how to access free technology tools and implement them in their businesses. They will be exposed to tools such as financial management systems, cloud computing, social media and online marketing, amongst others. Additionally, they will receive online support as well as mentorship sessions once a month for a period of 10 months starting in May 2020.
Western Cape-based female founders and CEOs aged between 25 and 50 who have a registered business that has been running for at least 18 months are eligible to apply. Applications close on 31 January 2020.