Entrepreneurs are a critical component of the South African economy. Not only can they help stimulate growth, but they are vital to addressing the country’s high unemployment rate.
However, Tashline Jooste, Chief Executive Officer of the Innovator Trust, is adamant that for the economy to experience the true potential entrepreneurs have to offer, gender equality must be addressed.
“Female entrepreneurs are finding it increasingly difficult to make a success of their businesses. Not because they lack the necessary skills or the acumen needed to succeed but they have far more responsibilities than their male counterparts.
The Innovator Trust has provided female entrepreneurs with training support, technical support, conferencing opportunities as well as health and safety procedure guidelines, to name a few. The 2016/2017 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Global Report states that women are more likely to start businesses out of necessity, compared to men. Unfortunately, the same report indicates that women often lack contact with successful entrepreneurial role models who can provide support and advice.
“Women have great entrepreneurial spirit. This is why it is important for incubators to provide South African women with the necessary support they need to flourish. To date we have been able to incubate 28 successful female entrepreneurs,” she explains.
Khaya Cokoto – X Spark ATX
One of the brightest female graduates from The Innovator Trust is Khaya Cokoto. Based in Gauteng, her business, X Spark ATX, offers infrastructure and life-cycle management solutions for medium and large organisations.
“Starting the company was extremely nerve-wrecking because I never did anything like this before. However, I’ve managed to overcome many obstacles thanks to some of the lessons my grandmother taught me. My entrepreneurial spirit definitely comes from her. She made a living by making and selling clothes,” explains Cokoto.
She currently employs eight full-time employees and up to 18 part-time staff members, depending on the project.
“X Spark is transitioning from a small to a medium-sized business. We’ve recently launched our proprietary software - BEE Nectar that helps Enterprise Development Practitioners - to run and manage their programs better. Our goal is to grow our portfolio of services and better serve our clients,” she says.
Ruby Moodley - IT Network Recruiting & Consulting
Another female graduate making a name for herself in the ICT sector is Ruby Moodley, the Director of IT Network Recruiting & Consulting.
Her business specialises in Training recruiting, payroll management, consulting services in ICT Digital providing sustainable solutions in Human Capital management for Industry 4.0.
“I needed financing when I started my business. However, it was difficult to get financing and I was forced to take a mortgage on my home. It was a risk, but one worth taking,” says Moodley.
She believes that being a woman has helped her make a success of her career. “Women look to provide a sense of balance in the workplace. Our priority is to provide for our families by building relationships and actively listening to the needs of our clients. This way we always deliver on what is needed,” she explains.
IT Network has grown leaps and bounds since it was launched in 2007, and currently employs 35 contractors and 4 full-time staff members.
Jooste concludes that Cokoto and Moodley are just two examples of what female entrepreneurs are capable of doing when women are given adequate resources and training.