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The impact of supporting women-led businesses

A guide presented by Mastercard

Women continue to break the barriers and are reshaping the SME industry that has historically been dominated by men. Despite various disparities in opportunities, there’s a growing recognition of the importance of supporting women-led businesses in South Africa and beyond. This involves not only celebrating their uniqueness but also actively investing in their ventures to ensure women’s sustainable participation in the economy.

Women entrepreneurs play a vital role in shaping our society, from nurturing families to driving economic growth. Yet a gap persists compared to male-led businesses, limiting their growth potential.  Effective support and access to resources will continue to play an essential role in bridging this gap, thereby driving positive social and economic change – bringing to life this year’s Women’s Day theme “Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress.”

Studies revealed that women reinvest up to 90% of their earnings back into their families and communities, compared to 35% of men. This reinvestment fuels improvements in health, education, and overall well-being, creating a ripple effect that benefits everyone. This highlights the transformative power of supporting women entrepreneurs.

Moreover, women entrepreneurs bring unique and innovative solutions to the table often addressing unmet market needs and creating products and services that are inclusive and sustainable. To empower these trailblazers to continue making a positive impact, the following strategies are pivotal:

Strategies to make a positive impact

Embrace digital transformation

The digital revolution offers a wealth of tools for business management, marketing, and sales. Mastering these technologies can open doors to new markets and streamline operations. Numerous resources are available to help entrepreneurs get started, including online courses, workshops, and government initiatives focused on digital literacy.

Access financial resources

Many banks and financial institutions offer financial products and services designed specifically for women-owned businesses. The business owner needs to explore loans, grants, and fintech solutions that can provide the capital needed to launch or expand their venture. Government programs such as Isivande Women’s Fund (IWF) also play a vital in supporting women entrepreneurs. It is important to research available resources and reach out to relevant agencies for guidance.

Connect with supportive networks

Building a network of fellow female entrepreneurs is invaluable. These communities provide mentorship, share resources, and offer collaboration opportunities. Look for online forums, industry associations, and local women’s business centres to connect with like-minded individuals.

Invest in continuous learning

The business landscape is constantly evolving.  An entrepreneur needs to stay ahead of the curve by seeking out educational resources such as workshops, courses, and seminars focused on digital business skills, financial literacy, and leadership development.

Mastercard offers valuable educational resources to SMEs through the Mastercard Trust Centre and it gives access to free educational resources on cybersecurity along with other tools to help small business owner improve their business’s cyber security.

Another notable resource is Mastercard’s MC Entrepreneur’s Odyssey, which also includes educational content on the digital economy, plus access to an SME Community (Connect with Supportive Networks).

Advocate for change

While capitalizing on existing opportunities, it’s crucial to advocate for policies that further empower women entrepreneurs. This involves lobbying for access to affordable childcare, equal property rights, and supportive tax structures.

Disclaimer: The information and content (collectively “information”) provided herein are provided as general information. Any information herein is not intended to constitute financial, or other advice of any kind.”

Mastercard is a proud National Partner of the NSBC

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