Africa is reported to have the highest number of women entrepreneurs in the world with roughly half of Africa’s population being women. Reportedly, small to medium enterprises make up 90% of Africa’s businesses, and women own about one-third of all registered SMEs in Africa. One in four African adult females initiates or manages a business.
The Circle of Global Business Women (CGBW) a new global network for innovative business Women, established by African Women and Women dedicated to Africa, to elevate African women to global forums and markets was officially launched at an event at Sloane Square today.
The CGBW’’s aim is to create a leadership shift globally by supporting the rise of Women leaders globally embodying a female wave of change and a power circle of Women leading that change.
“Women have always played a critical role in the economy, the CGBW offers women an opportunity to take their rightful place in the economic development across the continent. We will work with the public and private sector to tap into this great potential of African women and create inclusive business opportunities.” Says Sindiswa Mzamo, President, Circle of Global Business Women.
Professor Hlengiwe Mkize, Deputy Minister of Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities delivered the key note address, explaining that women are the driving force of economic development and that creating opportunities for inclusivity remains at the forefront of the department’s objectives.
“Government recognises the contribution women are making to the socio-economic development of South Africa and Africa. We believe women are the catalyst for change and prosperity. The South African Government continues to develop partnerships to implement policies and programmes that will promote the economic empowerment of women of all ages and social status. “says Deputy Minister Mkize.
The CGBW vision and mission is to be a leading Global Women’s Organisation, connecting Women worldwide, leveraging on resources and creating a global community of Women who are empowered. In support of the vision and mission statement the CGBW has entered into some key partnerships. The first being with the embassy of France in South Africa.
The French embassy and CGBW in partnership are determined to contribute to the development and strengthening of women as equal players in the South African entrepreneurial ecosystem. The embassy of France in South Africa partnered with the CGBW and the Entrepreneurship Development Academy (EDA) at GIBS in 2020 to develop a tailor-made programme to support 50 members of the Circle of Global Business Women (CGBW).
The inaugural class of 35 women entrepreneurs, enrolled in a 14-week online training programme, which began in October 2020 and are graduating today on this auspicious occasion of the launch of the CGBW. The programme focussed on different aspects of running a viable business, such as business finances, management structures, resource allocation and operational efficiency.
This project formed part of a Solidarity Fund for Innovative Projects by the French embassy that was set up at the request of French President Emmanuel Macron.
His Excellency Aurélien Lechevallier, Ambassador of France in South Africa states “The empowerment of women is not only a developmental issue. It is very much an economic issue. Countries, organisations and institutions that recognise the changes that are happening globally and are taking steps to ensure that they are participating in this emerging market, will more fully reap the economic benefit of their investment.”
Collaboration between the CGBW and the Private sector is encouraged to ensure a healthy environment for women to thrive and succeed in. It is of strategic importance the CGBW provides support for women to reach their full potential.
“The CGBW is designed for businesses owned by women, managed by women, businesses with a high percentage of female board members or employees, and companies that manufacture products for women. These businesses will benefit from smarter solutions and value-added services such as leadership training, networking and business opportunities. All of this will ensure that their businesses can scale and remain sustainable. “says Romay Harding, Secretary-General Global Circle of Businesswomen.
The Circle of Global Business Women is a member of the South African United Business Confederation and the CGBW President serves as board member and director of the SAUBC.
The Directors Association, a non-profit independent professional body that educates, equips and places directors on various boards across the country and continuously educating members in all things board related, has partnered with the CGBW and is running a powerful programme called Madam Chair to train CGBW members to serve on boards.
The Gauteng Growth Development Agency (GEDA) is offering Trade and Investment training programmes for CGBW members and is offering a strategic partners matchmaking service for qualified CGBW members.
The Circle of Global Business Women helping women achieve their ambitions, working to create an equal world