Quoniam supports GIZ project on promoting female entrepreneurs in South Africa

The “Promoting Women Export Entrepreneurs” programme seeks to build an ecosystem of women entrepreneurs and supporting them in their access to export markets. 

Carlos Rudolph, CSR Specialist

Quoniam has been actively involved in social international projects in cooperation with the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) since 2016. We present the current project “Global Business Accelerator (GBA)”, which started in 2020, and show what has been achieved so far. 

The overall objective of the project is to support female entrepreneurs by addressing specific challenges they face in developing and exporting products. To this end, a Women’s Desk has been set up at the Johannesburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI), in order to develop an ecosystem that will allow female entrepreneurs to increase and improve their business activities, focusing mainly on the sectors cosmetics, small manufacturing, engineering, construction and food processing. 

Upscaling the Women’s Desk

Key activities of the project include supporting the JCCI Women’s Desk to acquire more members through networking events, providing dedicated gender-sensitive training on business skills, mentoring through digital tools with a focus on e-commerce entrepreneurs, and representing the interests of women entrepreneurs when working with government, funders and other stakeholders. In addition, the project will support the development of a business model, which will enable maintenance and up scaling of the Women’s Desk to ensure continuous impact and sustainability beyond the duration of the activities. 

Our achievements in 2020 and 2021
400

female entrepreneurs have joined the Women’s Desk since the beginning of the project

60

women-led SMEs with export-ready products have joined the GBA programme

70

female business entrepreneurs have gained access to new business partners 

Moreover, numerous digital exchange formats and virtual trainings were conducted. The initiative launched a “Women In Business” newsletter with reports on the activities of the Women’s Desk and portraits of strong candidates. Partnerships have been established with organisations with similar interests, such as Circle of Global Businesswomen, Rotary International and Women of Stature. 

Long-term impact of empowering female entrepreneurs

The project envisions a long-term impact of empowering female entrepreneurs and establishing a sustainable ecosystem for women-owned SMEs. Undeterred by pandemic-related challenges, the Women’s desk has shown flexibility by reaching women’s businesses through digital trainings and events. The interest to join the platform has been growing considerably, as women seek alternative solutions and learning platforms for their business ventures. 

Ultimately, the project contributes to sustainable job creation and we are very proud to support this great initiative.

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