South Africa: Scaling up Entrepreneurial Winning Women

Fifteen women taking part in the annual EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women programme, South Africa have been revealed.The customised executive leadership programme identifies a select group of high-potential women entrepreneurs, whose businesses show real potential to scale up – and then helps them do it.

The class consists of women who were selected for their readiness to grow their businesses and develop or expand their local footprints, into the next high-growth companies. These women own companies across a wide variety of industry sectors including, recruitment, communications, legal, consumer products as well as financial services and IT.

Azim Omar, Africa Growth Markets Leader at EY, says, “The response has once again indicated the great business women we have in South Africa. We are proud to work alongside these women in expanding and strengthening their enterprises. Unlike many programmes, which are focused on helping women start a business, EY’s Entrepreneurial Winning Women is focused on supporting women in their growth journey beyond start-up businesses. A critical part of the programme is providing the women with access to successful role models and business-building networks.”

The 15 women will join an elite business network of the country’s best high-growth companies and participate in year-round activities designed to: Expand their knowledge with the latest information, research and executive dialogues about business strategies and practices; identify potential partners, strategic alliances, customers and suppliers as well as prospective sources of private capital; provide access to informal, one-to-one guidance and support; strengthen their executive leadership and business skills and identify opportunities to grow through meetings with senior advisors and seasoned entrepreneurs; increase national and regional visibility for themselves and their company among corporate executives, investors and the media.

“The investment in the Entrepreneurial Winning Women programme is a source of great pride for the firm, and seeing them grow as founders and business leaders is an inspiration. The programme has so far seen over 70 women grow and develop their businesses, since its inception in South Africa in 2013. We are looking forward to seeing the strides the class of 2018 will make,” says Omar.

In EY’s Growth Barometer 2018 Diversity report, it was noted that women CEOs’ growth ambitions significantly outpace those of male leaders, despite their ongoing challenges in accessing capital. Almost one in three (30%) female-led companies are targeting growth rates of more than 15% in the next 12 months, compared with just 5% of male-led firms, even though more than half the women-led companies (52%) say they have no access to external funding.

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Omar says: “The funding gap matters because companies with high-growth potential that do not secure early investment can have a harder time scaling-up, and much of the time, these companies are led by women. Financial support for women-led businesses represents a major challenge and only a handful of organisations around the world are focused on supporting the growth of women-led businesses. In South Africa, this narrative is different, and we look forward to seeing the acceleration of more women owned businesses in this country.”

“In South Africa to be placed as a diversity leader among the global cohort. With 15% of respondents’ CEOs being female, versus 3% for the rest of the world, this proportion looks set to rise even further, with almost half (46%) putting diversity at the top of their hiring priorities, compared with 41% for the rest of the world,” says Omar. “As we mark Women’s month in August in South Africa this year, this is a notable achievement for the South African middle market, with many more opportunities for women business owners in the future,” concludes Omar.

The EY class of 2018 includes:

  • ANH Investments Holdings, Mmabatho Hlabangane
  • Bee Recruitment, Cloe Dennis
  • Caveat Legal, Yvonne Wakefield
  • Equitable Proxies Co, Phindile Mahlalela
  • Flow Communications (Pty) Ltd, Tiffany Turkington-Palmer
  • IT Networks, Thavamoney (Ruby) Moodley
  • Livingfacts, Marylou Kneale
  • MFT Executive Advisory Service, Manisha Dass
  • Olwazini Consulting Service (Pty) Ltd, Phindile Msomi
  • Oryx Desert Salt (PTY) Ltd, Samantha Skyring
  • Pure Grit Project and Exhibitions, Zaida Enver
  • RecruitMyMom (PTY) Ltd, Phillipa Geard
  • Step Ahead Staffing, Melisa Evans
  • Summer Time Creatives CC, Raksha Mahabeer
  • Zevoli 351 (Pty) Ltd, Mpopi Khupe
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