Gauteng Business News

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The Businesswomen’s Association of South Africa (BWA) and OXFAM have teamed up to offer an important programme that will enable female entrepreneurs to improve their businesses and gain a larger foothold in government procurement.

Entitled “Exploring the Support, Promotion and Access of Women Entrepreneurs in Advocacy and Competitiveness on Government Procurement,” the programme addresses equipping women with the necessary skills to expand their businesses, create jobs and receive a larger share of opportunities from the state for their products and services.

Importantly, one of the major purposes of the programme is to lobby the government to improve legal measure to ensure the inclusion of Women Owned Businesses in government procurement and to ensure that these types of businesses increase their knowledge, skills and abilities to successfully engage in the government supply chain.

“This project will help to address our goal as an organization to strengthen the knowledge and skills of women-owned businesses so that they can supply products and services to the state. This programme will be conducted for a period of three years under the pillars of research advocacy, training and advocacy campaign,” said Claire Mathonsi from Businesswomen’s Association.

“Through this partnership with OXFAM, we want to deliver this important programme and increase advocacy for women.”

Commenting on behalf of OXFAM, Sixolile Ngcobo women’s rights adviser in South Africa said: “We are delighted to be involved in this partnership with the BWA in South Africa as we believe this programme can play a meaningful role in improving women’s economic opportunities and contribute towards the long term sustainability of women-owned businesses.” OXFAM works globally to find solutions to poverty and social injustice.

Included in the BWA’s partnership with OXFAM will be: research on the current status of the constitutional and legislative environment regarding government spend and measures to procure from women; BWA ADVANCE training which focuses on value chain development for government for women entrepreneurs; and the development of a government procurement advocacy campaign for 2013.

According to Claire Mathonsi, the research advocacy component is a strategic intervention that will enable the BWA to have accurate information on the current status quo regarding women and government procurement. The information gathered on government spend will be used to design a robust economic advocacy campaign for 2013 targeted at understanding and overcoming the barriers facing women in regard to government procurement.

“The BWA aims to create a pool of growth oriented women entrepreneurs who will be ready and equipped to deliver quality services and products as preferred suppliers to the state through our ADVANCE training programme,” added Nia Kubheka from the Businesswomen’s Association.

Significantly, the training programme is not targeted at start-ups, but rather at emerging entrepreneurs who have been in operation for a minimum of two years and are able to meet the demands of government procurement.

Women-Owned Small Micro Medium Enterprises are the key focus. They need to have an annual turnover of less than R500, 000.

In the first year of the programme, the BWA and OXFAM are hoping to involve around 80 women comprising 20 each from four different provinces – Gauteng, Eastern Cape, Free State and Limpopo.

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