31 March 2017: Women can make significant contributions to the effectiveness, profitability and skills pool of an organisation, and by extension, add great value to the economy it operates in.
Furthermore, women’s inclusion in governance and leadership roles has proved just as critical as it impacts economic, social, environmental and cultural aspects of life.
This year’s commemoration will be used to put women at the forefront to gain equal access to organisational leadership and entrepreneurship and the need to incorporate gender into collaborative responsibility and evaluation of the ways in which the enterprise is run.
Tashline Jooste, CEO at the Innovator Trust, an enterprise development organisation which focuses on accelerating black female owned small business in information technology, says that in order to address the concerns of women in business, there is a significant necessity for collaboration and alignment.
“An ideal solution to this can be found in the incorporation of mentorship initiatives, targeted specifically at female entrepreneurs and business owners,” she explains.
No stranger to the struggle to the top, Khaya Cokoto, co-founder and MD at UmoyAir Communications and a beneficiary of the Innovator Trust, embraced the benefits of the mentorship and guidance programme such as compelling leadership, as well as support and encouragement with coping in a male dominated industry. UmoyAir is a software development company specialising in mobile apps with the aim of developing apps.
“One cannot separate the basic human right such as gender equality and empowerment from business, “says Cokoto.
“This means that organisations should continuously practise equality and fairness across the board as business ethics cannot be contradictory to that approach,” she adds.
“Specifically with small businesses – female business owners often forget the power at their disposal to grow their businesses -especially in the early stages,” Cokoto says.
Most importantly Cokoto is setting an example by leading females and other staff members with what she has learnt as a perpetual entrepreneur and her recent dealings with the Innovator Trust, from which they will be able to draw on throughout their own business careers.
She says that through UmoyAir, she wants to make a meaningful and sustainable contribution.
“By imparting knowledge and experience to the future leaders in business, I can help create a solid springboard for strong and innovative female entrepreneurs, adding to the foundation for a competitive economy,” she concludes.