SA women entrepreneurs hit Chicago

first_imgAnna Phosa, who has grown a tiny smallholding into a million-dollar pig farming operation supplying one of South Africa’s largest supermarket chains.Christina Baloyi, who started out in a butcher’s shop and now owns a successful construction company with infrastructure projects throughout South Africa.Sbongile Sambo, the dynamic young founder of Africa’s, possibly the world’s, only fully woman-owned aviation services company.Nelly Shezi, who has built a successful chemicals company.Bernice Mannya, who went from selling tupperware to owning an agri-processing venture that exports to Europe.Soweto-born telemedicine pioneer Dr Moretlo Molefi.Tebogo Mashego, who turned a struggling backyard mom-and-pop operation into a thriving steel and aluminium fabrication business. 24 October 2011 An extraordinary group of 30 South African women entrepreneurs who have launched businesses running the gamut from construction, aviation and security to fashion, telemedicine and commercial farming are in Chicago this week to inaugurate the US-South Africa Women’s Business Forum (USSAWBF). Outstanding examples of the energy and creativity unleashed by South Africa’s vibrant young democracy and its commitment to gender equality, the entrepreneurs will be connecting with their counterparts in the Chicago region, and beyond, to share experiences and inspiration and build partnerships to the benefit of both countries. Their stories are testament both to the drive and resourcefulness of South African women in overcoming historical challenges, and to the exciting opportunities South Africa, and the growing economies of the continent of which it is a part, offer not only major multinationals but businesses of all sizes.Inspiring stories In the week ahead, Chicagoans will have a chance to meet women like: They will also meet Lillian Masebenza, a visionary social entrepreneur whose Mhani Gingi program provides training, skills development and mentorship to help more South African woman lift themselves, their families and communities out of poverty through entrepreneurship.High-level support The businesswomen are accompanied by South Africa’s Minister for Women, Children and People with Disabilities, Lulu Xingwana, Deputy Tourism Minister Tokozile Xasa, and the deputy director-general for trade and investment at South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Pumla Ncapayi. The USSAWBF initiative is the brainchild of the South African consul-general in Chicago, Ambassador Nomvume Magaqa, and is being made possible with support from the DTI, Brand South Africa, and South African Tourism. Partners on the US side include the Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council, the Women’s Business Development Centre, the Chicago chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners, Women’s Enterprise USA, the International Trade Association of Greater Chicago, and World Business Chicago. Background on members of the delegation and details of the USSAWBF programme can be found on the forum’s specially created mobile website, m.ussawbf.org Source: Brand South Africalast_img read more

Hope floats for women in politics

first_imgThe women’s wings of the three major political parties in Odisha have become more active since the State Assembly passed a resolution unanimously for providing 33% reservation for women in the Legislative Assemblies and Parliament on November 20 last year. Ahead of the simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in the State, the number of meetings and demonstrations by the women’s wings of the ruling Biju Janata Dal and Opposition Congress and BJP has also started multiplying after Chief Minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik took up the issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 4. Mr. Patnaik had urged Mr. Modi to initiate necessary steps for passing the Women’s Reservation Bill for reservation of one-third seats in Parliament and State Legislatures for women. “I assure full support of my government in providing women their rightful place in the decision-making process,” Mr. Patnaik wrote to Mr. Modi.The Chief Minister, who has been focussing on women’s empowerment, has not stopped there. Senior party leaders have been meeting top leaders of different parties across the country seeking their support for passage of the Bill in Parliament.Positive signs In fact, the three major parties have also strengthened their women’s wings in the recent months. While the BJD and the Congress have appointed new presidents in their women’s wings, the BJP has inducted some prominent women to add strength to its women’s wing. Such has become the political atmosphere that women leaders of these parties from far-off districts have started frequenting Bhubaneswar hoping to get party tickets. They are of the view that more women will be given tickets to contest the coming elections even if the Bill is not passed in Parliament. “This is a positive sign that more and more women are coming forward to actively participate in politics. Odisha has produced many women leaders, including former Chief Minister Nandini Satpathy, in the past and the current trend should be encouraged by different parties,” said political analyst Rabi Das. Buoyant by the developments with regard to women’s political participation, transgender rights activists too have become active in their work with the hope that they may also be given tickets by different parties. “Time has come for all parties to give tickets to transgender people to ensure their participation in the decision-making process,” said Meera Parida, chairman of the All Odisha Transgender Welfare Trust.last_img read more