“It’s still going to take a long time to achieve gender equality but we are well on the way. A lot of entrepreneurs have to figure things out as they grow, which then affects our growth and productivity. Young people have a lot of amazing ideas for business but they don’t know where to start.” – DJ Zinhle
Ask any entrepreneur what the first hurdle is they have to overcome in business and most will answer – ‘figuring out where to start’. How do you create a business plan? Where do you get financing? Do you need a website? The list goes on. Luckily, in South Africa, there are a number of networks and programs that have been set up to support entrepreneurs. To celebrate Women’s Day we’re listing the top programs you should look into if you’re thinking of starting a business or if you want to find ways to take your business to the next level.
1. Lionesses of Africa
This is an online community that shares inspiring stories about the successes and learnings of African entrepreneurs. They aim to inspire and mentor the next generation of women-led startups in Africa. Become a member, share your story or simply immerse yourself in their collective wisdom.
2. Businesswomen’s Association
The BWA ‘s aim is to give a voice to all women in business, inspiring them to dream big, personally and professionally. For R550 per annum, you can become a member and receive access to mentoring, networking events and finance opportunities.
3. Fine Women Business Network
“It’s a lonely place if one is a Sole Trader, but being part of this organisation means that there is always a sounding board for ideas.” – Ann Mackrill.
The FWBN provides a platform for entrepreneurs to grow their business through powerful networking, events, and training at a cost of R100 per month. The benefits of networking sessions include access to new trusted suppliers, solid referrals, a shared knowledge base and much more.
4. South African Women Entrepreneurs Network (SAWEN)
SAWEN is for women entrepreneurs who operate with the South African SMME sector. They have support networks for both startups and fully fledged businesses. R350 per annum gets you access to a number of member benefits that include joint product marketing, group buying of input materials and a number of workshops and seminars.
There are a lot of options out there so be sure to find an organisation that suits you and your business. Although you may not always need the help, you never know what opportunities you’re missing out on.