South African women benefit from entrepreneurial programme

The Department Of Water and Sanitation recently launched a three-year entrepreneurship programme which gives women the opportunity to mentor each other and learn about business.Water and sanitation minister, Nomvula Mokonyane, was in Johannesburg on Friday 14 October to launch the Women in Water Empowerment Programme that will support 90 female-owned companies.

Besides offering knowledge and support, the initiative will also help the entrepreneurs become more effective and efficient in delivering water and sanitation related services to the public, said the department.

Mokonyane said they are especially targeting rural development initiatives. She added that the goal is to create jobs, empower women and invest in skills.Watch the minister talk about the benefits for the youth:

The programme

The Women in Water Empowerment Programme has three divisions: the Mentorship Project, the Entrepreneurship Incubator Project, and the Women’s Forum.The Mentorship Project aims to:

  • Build a network of partners.
  • Provide knowledge in dealing with partners, networks and clients.
  • Refine the product or service offering.
  • Provide introduction workshops, interactive follow-up sessions, and training where there are gaps.

The Entrepreneurship Incubator Project focuses on growing and transforming the economy, creating jobs and attracting investment.The project will cover:

  • Skills development, assessment and support.
  • Business and entrepreneurship analysis.
  • Clear achievable short term (three to six months) and longer term (one year) milestones for beginners and intermediates.
  • A clear mechanism for preferential procurement.

Listen to a few of the women talk about their companies:

Money already spent on small business owners

According to Mokonyane, the spending on past initiatives didn’t support entrepreneurs well enough.She said the department spent R13.5-billion on procurement between 2015 and 2016, of which R2.2-billion was spent on small business. That is 16% of the total procurement for the period.Of that portion, just R1.1-billion was spent on black-owned companies. Of the amount dedicated to black business, R102-million was spent on women-owned companies and R738 000 spent on youth. Persons with disabilities received nothing, said Mokonyane.

The other R1.1-billion of the small business expenditure went to procurement of goods and services from white-owned businesses.

Mokonyane said there has been a 12% improvement in spending on SMMEs over the last two years. “It is, therefore, against the backdrop of this poor showing that we go over our commitment for transformation. [We] have made it a point to focus on tangible procurement transformation by ensuring that women, youth and persons with disabilities are specifically targeted in the current procurement processes,” she said.

Mokonyane said the incubator forms part of government’s year long programme in celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the 1956 Women’s March.She said the project options being considered are:

  • Full scale dam projects (small and large) and large upgrades.
  • Sanitation projects.
  • River rehabilitation projects.
  • The Rehabilitation of Canals programme.

Sources: The South African Government, Department: Water and Sanitation, Facebook, and SouthAfrica.info reporter.

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