Liberty injects prowess into growing entrepreneurs in partnership with Standard Bank
25 Apr 2017
Liberty today officially unveiled the 1st co-hort of Female Entrepreneurs that have been developed through the Lionesses of Africa Accelerator Programme in partnership with Standard Bank. This 12-week progression programme was aimed at equipping female entrepreneurs with the necessary skills and networks to effectively do business with big corporates.
According to the latest Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) report for South Africa, entrepreneurial intentions have decreased compared to 2010, and are 3.6 times lower than the African average. Women seem to be the most impacted: during 2014, women were 2.6 times more likely to start a business out of opportunity, but in 2015, this figure decreased to 1.6 times.
“It is through this strategic partnership that we are able to help curb some of these challenges,” says Amanda Khoza, Divisional Director of Transformation and Inclusion at Liberty. “We are proud of this programme, as it is set to provide much needed support for female entrepreneurs on the continent. Part of our role as corporates is to enable change in our communities and accelerate inclusive growth for our economy by addressing unemployment.”
The first group of women entrepreneurs on this programme are about to complete the enhancement of their core skills in areas such as business modelling and strategy. The programme’s success will be measured by the ability of this group to access new markets, secure new business, and display the skills and tools necessary to grow their businesses to their full potential. “We are committed to grow entrepreneurs through the Standard Bank Incubator across the continent, to date we have touched over two thousand women, through regular networking and development events. These strategic partnerships allow us to offer more value to the woman on the programme by creating access to market opportunities as well as access to mentoring, coaching and growth support” says Jayshree Naidoo, Head of Incubator at Standard Bank. “This programme will harness the true potential of female entrepreneurs and will help boost their businesses to the next level.”
Beyond this programme, Liberty has made strides with its Blue Skies Enterprise and Supplier Development programme, an initiative targeted at existing and potential suppliers of the insurance giant. This programme is now working closely with the Standard Bank Incubator to provide targeted growth opportunities to various groups, including Youth, Women, Education, and Township Businesses.
“Essentially, this programme exists to develop the small businesses that form part of our procurement chain,” explains Ms Khoza. “We work with these companies to develop them from small businesses into growing enterprises. Entrepreneurship is frequently thought of as an economic advantage, and entrepreneurs need to be developed and motivated in order to grow. However, not enough has been done to nurture this process. It will require collective efforts from business and government to provide a meaningful change for our society to truly be sustainable and thrive. We are hoping our partnership with the Standard Bank Incubator allows us to expand our reach and ultimately add more value to entrepreneurs,” she concludes.
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