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If South Africa is to meet the National Development Plan’s target of creating 11 million jobs by 2030, entrepreneurship – especially among women –...

If South Africa is to meet the National Development Plan’s target of creating 11 million jobs by 2030, entrepreneurship – especially among women – needs to be encouraged.

In this regard, the North-West University (NWU) is stepping to the fore as an entrepreneurial enabler by means of its annual Enterprising Women Programme.

This year marks the eight rendition of this impactful programme as offered by the NWU’s bhive Enterprise Development Centre (bhive EDC), and in 2020 the programme will continue to empower women across the university’s geographical footprint.

The first intake for the year will focus on fempreneurs in the Vanderbijlpark and Sasolburg region.

Heeding the call of entrepreneurship

If you wish to take part in this year’s short learning programme for business start-ups aimed at female entrepreneurs – which will run from March to August – then join us on 19 February at the bhive EDC at the campus in Vanderbijlpark for an exciting boot camp.

During this session you will be briefed about what the programme entails, after which you will undergo an idea enhancement boot camp, followed by selection of the programme participants.  The first programme session is set to kick-off early in March.

A proven track record

Through this programme, start-up female entrepreneurs are empowered to not only achieve their business ideals, but also to actively contribute towards the local and national economy.

Since its inception the programme has seen female entrepreneurs breaking new ground in numerous fields, such as app development, catering, property development, fashion and interior design, as well as maintenance management.

Others have developed and introduced unique products and services to cater for various niche markets. Examples include the upcycling of plastic bags into designer rugs for the tourism industry, an eco-friendly mobile carwash for corporates, bricks manufactured from recycled plastic bottles and even a taxidermy service tailor-made for the wildlife and hunting industry.

Several of these programme participants are now offering employment to other women in their respective communities and even taking in youngsters as interns, showing them the ropes and teaching them the power of entrepreneurship.

According to Leonie Greyling, EWP coordinator, the success of the programme lies therein that it provides real-time business support services to women. Participants are taken through a comprehensive curriculum to assist them in identifying business ideas and markets, development of a sound business model and finally successfully initiating their start-up venture. During the process the women not only become part of a dynamic peer network, but are also mentored by seasoned entrepreneurs and knowledgeable members of academia.

The Sasolburg rendition of the programme is proudly sponsored by Sasol, while MooiVaal Media is the Enterprising Women Programme media partner.

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