#SheMeansBusiness: Facebook moves to empower South African women

Facebook’s She Means Business is a space for entrepreneurial South African women to make valuable connections, share advice and move forward, together.

SheMeansBusiness, a platform launched by Facebook to train women entrepreneurs and the global community, was launched in South Africa on Thursday 29 August.

What is She Means Business?

The first speaker, Emilar Gandhi, Head of Public Policy, SADC region at Facebook, explains that the social media giant supports, celebrates and empowers South African women entrepreneurs.” She added:

“At Facebook we also believe that women play a critical role in ensuring that the economy runs. Women also plays a critical role in building a global community.”

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She adds that when women do better, economies do better. Within in these global communities, we all rely on smaller networks to support, motivate and grow.

“When women are successful in business, it drives economic and social development. When women are successful, they employ more women and build communities.”

Partnering with SA Ministry of Communications

Guest speaker Nomvuyo Batyi, Acting Director-General at SA Ministry of Communications, said the only options she had growing up was to be a teacher. She adds:

“But then in 1994, in April, I got the opportunity to vote and I knew then that I could choose a different path. I studied law. It’s possible that anyone in business can make a difference to a child’s life, and I am living proof.”

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Guest speaker Nomvuyo Batyi, Acting Director-General at SA Ministry of Communications. Image supplied

Batyi said SA Ministry of Communications was grate for the opportunity to partner with Facebook and SheMeansBusiness, and look forward training and inspiring women to run their businesses.

The initiative was launched globally in 2016, with the goal to help empower women to “pursue their great business ideas by giving them access to advice, partnerships and events.”

Partnering with Siyafunda CTC

SheMeansBusiness Facebook Africa teamed up with Siyafunda CTC to offer practical training in digital and business skills for women business owners.

“Empowered women, empower women.”

The goal is to train more than 4 000 women from all provinces in digital skills by the end of the year. Specific focus will be given to rural and underdeveloped areas.

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Partnering UN Women

In addition, Facebook will also collaborate with UN Women to train a network of South African business owners and entrepreneurs who need support.

“The UN is big on this initiative, it’s a strategic area for us. We have also partnered with the Vodacom Foundation to train women farmers in Limpopo, Free State, Eastern Cape and KZN. We see this initiative as strengthening the work we do on an international level.”

 Ayanda Mvimbi, Programme Specialist at UN Women

Providing digital marketing modules, the training will also cover areas such as business development, operations management, financial management and leadership.

Ayanda Mvimbi, Programme Specialist at UN Women. Image supplied

The programme will begin to rollout in September running until the end of the year, across all nine provinces. Emilar Gandhi explains that helping South African women business owners to achieve their goals will help the economy:

“Research conducted by Development Economics on our behalf in 2018 found that women who want to start their own businesses have the potential to boost the South African economy by R175 billion, which highlights the enormous potential.”

Furthermore, the launch of SheMeansBusiness highlights Facebook’s commitment to women entrepreneurs. Emilar Gandhi also added that the team looks forward to what South African women will achieve.

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