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Category: ENTREPRENEURSHIP, The Entrepreneur

3rd annual Young Women in Business Summit a success
Written by Tendai Tambudze
10 September 2012

The Young Women in Business Network (YWBN) held its third annual summit on the 30 August 2012 in an event themed ‘Generations of Business Intelligence.’ The summit gave 200 young women a rare opportunity to hear first hand, success stories from some of South Africa’s top businesswomen, while networking and engaging with local government representatives.

The YWBN states that its vision is to facilitate the empowerment of women through investments and financial independence. Founder and Chairperson of the YWBN, Nthabeleng Likotsi, says that the summit was birthed as the result of an entrepreneurial vision: “As a young black woman, I realised that opportunities are not as accessible [as people think]” she states. ”I decided to do something about it”

Former Deputy President, Baleka Mbete addresses the summit

At this year's summit, Baleka Mbete, Chairman of the African National Congress and former Deputy President, was the keynote speaker and gave a powerful call to action to the young women. She spoke of her life as a teenager growing up in Durban facing various challenges, and advised the young women to never be ashamed of where they came from. She also urged the delegates to continue to strive towards uplifting other women, highlighting the importance of making an impact - not only in South Africa but in the rest of the continent.

“Poverty in Africa has a feminine face - what are you going to do about it? “ She challenged the delegates.

Wendy Ackerman, non-executive director of Pick and Pay told the inspiring story of Pick and Pay’s rise from humble beginnings to becoming a multi-listed company. She had sound advice for the ladies, which touched on issues of integrity, assertiveness and social responsibility.

The first day closed with a panel discussion with the CEO of Motseng Investments Holdings (Ipeleng Mkhari), Travel with Flair Managing Director (Johanna Mukoki), Group CEO of the SABC (Lulama Mokhobo) and the Chairlady of Aspen Pharmaceuticals (Dr Judy Dlamini). Panellists told their stories explaining “How we did it” and then took questions from the delegates in a session that proved to be both insightful and empowering.

Ekurhuleni Municipality: A strategic partnership

The Executive Mayor of Ekurhuleni, Mondli Gungubele hosted the Mayor’s Business Engagement dinner in a gala event later that evening. Addressing over 350 summit delegates and business leaders, Mayor Gungubele said that the Ekurhuleni Municipality was proud to be associated with such a relevant initiative.

"As young women in business, you are the pride and hope for other women out there,” he said.

Gungubele also took time to highlight the importance of the Ekurhuleni district as an aerotropolis and noted the growing developments in the district. The gala dinner marked the launch of the YBWN's latest initiative, the Ekurhuleni Enterprise Creation Hub. This is an incubation programme for small business in a growth phase and will provide facilities and office space for businesses selected to go through the 3 year programme.

The second day of the summit saw local government hold workshops where representatives from the Ekurhuleni Municipality and National Treasury tackled issues of BEE preferential procurement and doing business with government. A session on marketing and branding hosted by Total was also incorporated into the day’s events.

A bright future for the YWBN

The YWBN team is already busy with plans for the 4th annual summit to be hosted in 2013. Likotsi plans to take the organisation to even greater heights: “We have a big vision for next year but for now all I will tell you that we are going to have a strong focus on building infrastructure.”

Many have bought into Likotsi’s powerful vision and in addition to a strategic partnership with the Ekurhuleni Municipality; the summit was also sponsored by Kia Motors, Sunday World, The Sowetan, SAFM, the Birchwood Hotel and Total.

“I want to empower other women, not just benefit alone” she explains. “While the summit is in the form of an event, it’s really more about giving women an opportunity and platform to showcase themselves.”

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