The Western Cape Government is working hard to empower many more women through the numerous programmes, like the SMME Booster Fund, run through the Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDAT), which has a clear focus on women, as well as youth and township-based businesses.
As a part of celebrating the immense contribution women make to the economy and in recognition of the work that still needs to be done to empower many more women in business, Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, Mireille Wenger, visited one of the beneficiaries of the 2022 SMME Booster Fund, WomHub in Cape Town.
Addressing female entrepreneurs at WomHub, Minister Wenger said, “The fact is that we need you to succeed because we know that SMMEs are the backbone of our economy and are responsible for up to 70% of jobs in South Africa. More than this, the research is clear on the positive impact of both women-owned businesses, as well ensuring gender parity in the workforce.”
“For example, statistics show that women-owned businesses present a lower risk for business financiers; and according to an article I recently read on Forbes, “research continually shows that gender diversity results in increased productivity, greater innovation, better decision-making, and higher employee retention and satisfaction.” So more than being fair and just, there is a clear economic case for enabling, supporting, and driving the participation of women in business and for owning businesses.” Minister Wenger continued.
WomHub, a South African company established in 2016 and which now has a global footprint, is a private women owned company that provides incubation and advisory services for women owned businesses in STEM (Science, Tech, Engineering and Manufacturing) and provides holistic support to these businesses.
The partnership between the Department and WomHub aims to address some of the challenges confronting SMMEs, especially women-owned businesses, and has provided customised business development support to 28 women owned businesses.
Minister Wenger said, “We are thrilled to have partnered with WomHub to support 28 women-owned businesses through the Western Cape Economic Growth Amplifier, over this past year. We are also proud to have been a partner in establishing this world class innovation and co-working space, designed specifically for women, by women.”
DEDAT runs various programmes which focus on empowering women, especially through the SMME Booster as well as the skills programmes run in partnership with the private sector, with the majority of beneficiaries being women, in a bid to address some of the challenges they face, which include:
- Barriers to access to capital and markets
- Higher barriers to entry in business
- Working in male-dominated sectors, the glass ceiling, balancing work and private life
- Lack of female role models in the business sector
- Fewer business-orientated networks in their communities; and
- Culturally induced challenges.
“One thing I have come to learn about entrepreneurs and SMMEs and especially those run by women, is that, even in the face of challenges, your drive to push forward, to go further and to succeed, is second to none. At the end of the day, it is clear that if we want to do better and achieve the breakout economic growth we need to pull many more people out of poverty, we need to back SMMEs, and more specifically, back female owned and run SMMEs. This sentiment is at the heart of our economic action plan, Growth For Jobs’.”
“I’d like to thank you, for the work you do, for inspiring me with your tenacity and for the wonderful examples you are setting for other women and girls each and every day.” concluded Minister Wenger.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Western Cape Finance and Economic Opportunities, South Africa.