Outstanding rural women entrepreneurs were awarded their graduation certificates at a ceremony held at Constitution Hill today, following an intensive training initiative provided by PwC to build up the business skills of women from previously disadvantaged communities.
Annually PwC builds the skills of more than a hundred under privileged women from rural areas throughout the country through the Business Skills South Africa (BSSA) foundation to provide business and entrepreneurial skills to previously disadvantaged communities in order to create jobs, promote sustainability and increase revenue streams.
In 2006, PwC took one step further, by extending this initiative to rural women in business through a project called the Faranani Rural Women Training Initiative. The aim of this project is to train women from rural communities in business skills.
Shirley Machaba, PwC South Africa board executive chairman, Faranani Rural Women Training Initiative National Director, and Partner in Charge of the PwC Menlyn office, says: “PwC is committed to the upliftment of women in South Africa and firmly believes that by inculcating a culture of entrepreneurship among women, it can help to empower them to generate their own income and become meaningful contributors to the economy.”
“Women play a meaningful role in the development of the economy and make a significant contribution in helping making it grow,” adds Machaba. “Through the Faranani Training Initiative rural women are trained and skilled on different topics and issues that will enable them to become entrepreneurs.
“The project is part of PwC’s Corporate Social Responsibility and Enterprise Development that focuses on education, the development of business skills and the growing potential of all South African citizens.”
Skills development is core to South Africa’s economic growth. The Government has identified skills weaknesses as one of its targets and is addressing the issue through a number of initiatives, such as the National Development Plan. PwC also aims to assist in solving these problems. “We are intent on making a difference by empowering women,” adds Machaba.
Small businesses form the backbone of the South African economy, and women own a significant number of these enterprises. The Faranani initiative support women who want to become business owners, by providing them with the knowledge to start and actively manage their own businesses.
“PwC assists these women acquire the skills they need to generate their own income and become meaningful contributors to their communities and the country,” says Machaba.
Over several days, the women are taught how to develop a business plan, which is supported by financial projections, financial management, pricing and costing, practical marketing, and business management. On completion of the course the women are able to understand amongst many other things, how profit is calculated in a business; understand the factors which determine the ‘right price’; understand the concept of working capital; prepare a budget; understand the importance of stock control; prepare cash flow projections; and know how to present a business plan to financiers. The training is provided by BSSA trainers and monitored by PwC.
Aftercare support is also provided on completion of the training. BSSA monitors the women’s business plans and provides ongoing support.
Presently there is a high failure rate among black-owned start-up businesses, which is largely due to a lack of finance and other business support. The project aims to address the lack of training in business skills and the lack of financial and entrepreneurial experience that so many people do not have.
PwC established the Business South Africa (BSSA) foundation in 1992 to provide business and entrepreneurial skills to previously disadvantaged communities. Annually, PwC contributes R1.7 million towards this foundation. To date, BSSA has successfully trained 40 000 entrepreneurs. This however excludes an average of R500 000 that is spent per year on the Faranani Rural Women Training Initiative.
The project was rolled out in the whole country with the first pilot project commencing in the Limpopo Province in November 2006. Subsequently the project took off, with various stakeholders assisting in the recruitment of trainees. Stakeholders included, amongst others, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), South African Local Government Association (SALGA); The Presidency; Department of Social Development; and the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.
Several municipalities throughout the country also assisted with the recruitment of trainees, such as the Musina Local Municipality and Giyani Local Municipality in the Limpopo Province. The Ithala Development Finance Corporation and UThukela District Municipality provided assistance in KwaZulu-Natal. In 2011 the Mpumalanga Department of Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Administration were the hosts providing the trainees. The Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati District Municipality provided recruitment in the North West Province.
In Gauteng, PwC and BSSA worked with the City of Jo’burg; City of Tshwane; City of Ekurhuleni; Gauteng Economic Propellor; and the Gauteng Department of Rural Development.