In a significant step towards advancing gender equality and empowering women in the business world, African Bank has launched its inaugural Women Enterprise Development Programme.
Designed to support women in achieving professional success, work-life balance and entrepreneurial excellence, the programme aims to equip women with essential skills, mentorship, and the resources necessary to thrive in the workplace and become successful entrepreneurs.
With a commitment to fostering diversity and inclusion, African Bank recognises the unique challenges that women often face in the business sphere and how they are marginalised. The Women Enterprise Development Programme has been carefully crafted to address these challenges and provide tailored support for women entrepreneurs/businesses at every stage of their journey.
Key features of the programme include:
Mentorship and Guidance: Experienced entrepreneurs and industry experts will serve as mentors, providing invaluable guidance, advice, and networking opportunities to programme participants. This mentorship will empower women with the knowledge and confidence needed to navigate the complex entrepreneurial landscape.
Skills Development: A series of comprehensive workshops will cover a wide range of topics essential for entrepreneurial success, including financial management, marketing strategies, business planning, and negotiation skills. These workshops will equip women with the practical tools they need to establish and grow their businesses.
Access to Resources: Participants will gain access to a wealth of resources, including funding opportunities, market research insights, and industry trends. This support will help women entrepreneurs to make informed decisions and capitalise on emerging business opportunities.
Networking and Collaboration: The programme will facilitate networking through events, seminars, and forums, enabling women entrepreneurs to connect, collaborate, and share experiences. This platform will create a supportive community where women can learn from one another and collaborate on innovative projects.
Recognising the importance of work-life balance, the programme will offer strategies and resources to help participants effectively manage their professional and personal responsibilities.
Edna Montse, Chief Executive for Transformation and Sustainability says: “We are aware of the need for mental wellness and how important it is to strike that balance, and as African Bank we are committed to promoting a healthy and sustainable approach to entrepreneurship.”
African Bank Women Enterprise Development Programme underscores the institution’s dedication to promoting gender diversity and women’s empowerment. In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, this initiative not only aims to level the playing field but also to catalyse economic progress by providing women-owned businesses with the tools, resources, and financial support they need to flourish. By equipping women with the necessary skills and resources to excel in business, the financial service industry is playing a vital role in driving economic growth and building a more inclusive society.
“We believe that empowering women entrepreneurs is not only a moral imperative but also a strategic business decision. By launching this programme, we are investing in the future of our economy and creating opportunities for women to thrive as successful entrepreneurs, encouraging them that their success is our success as a nation,” concludes Montse.
The Enterprise Supplier Development Programme has worked with and supported other women. One such woman is Phumelele Buthelezi from Siphumelele Industries, who has successfully completed the FY22 ESD African Bank flagship programme and is now a supplier to African Bank. She says: “I had to change how I think, and how I do things, and this programme has given me the courage, resources and skills that I need to be a better business woman.”
The ESD programme is currently underway with the 2023 cohort, however enrolment applications are open for 2024 enrolment. Women entrepreneurs interested in participating are encouraged to visit www.africanbank.co.za for more information.