NWU Mahikeng: EWP gala event celebrates female entrepreneurs

Issued by North West University
North-West, May 20, 2019

The inaugural gala event of the North-West University's (NWU's) Enterprising Women Programme on the campus in Mahikeng was a night of glitz and glamour. The event, reminiscent of the 'Oscars of Entrepreneurship', was recently hosted in the capital of the North-West province.

During the event, the NWU's bhive Enterprise Development Centre (bhive EDC) celebrated the first group of women from Mahikeng who successfully completed the Enterprising Women Programme (EWP).

The group of 10 women undertook the short learning programme that was launched in August 2018, and, after completion, they are now in a position to realise and manage their respective business dreams. As entrepreneurs, they will now actively contribute towards the growth of the local economy and help to address pertinent issues such as unemployment and the limited sources of economic revenue.

Between the women, they have now successfully started businesses ranging from jewellery and accessories, to textile design and even the manufacturing of roof tiles. According to Leonie Greyling, EWP manager, these businesses represent the very foundation from which a sustainable economy can be built.

During the gala event, the participants were afforded the opportunity to showcase their business models and network with high-level representatives from business and industry, as well as senior members of the university management.

The following women were applauded:

* Boitumelo Makhuleni * Doreen Morukhu * Katlego Phakhedi * Khumoetsile Phatudi * Lerato Mokate * Masego Witbooi * Miranda Daly * Pauline Gaobepe * Tshepang Pakisi (participant who developed the most during the course of the programme) * Tshepiso Nkotsi (Best Expanded Business Model Presentation)

For participants Tshepiso Nkotsi and Tshepang Pakisi, their hard work was awarded even further when they won R5 000 and R2 500, respectively. According to Nkotsi, who was the top achiever in the Expanded Business Model Division, the NWU's investment in female entrepreneurship has enabled her to acquire the skills needed to make a success of her business.

"I will forever be thankful for the EWP opportunity," said Nkotsi.

Pakisi was awarded as the participant who developed the most during the course of the programme.

More about the programme:

The EWP is one of the NWU's flagship empowerment projects and is facilitated by the bhive EDC, a dynamic hub of entrepreneurial activity in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences.

During the eight-month programme, participants are taken through a comprehensive curriculum to assist them in identifying business ideas and markets, to develop a sound business model and finally equipping them with the know-how to successfully initiate their start-up venture. Along the journey, the participants not only become part of a dynamic peer network, but also receive mentoring and assistance from seasoned entrepreneurs and knowledgeable members of academia.

"The programme provides start-ups with a safe environment where they can freely explore their entrepreneurial endeavours, while at the same time enjoy the benefits of structured learning through workshops and group-centred learning activities," explains Greyling. She adds that the women are also given a platform from where they can expand their business networks.

This year marks the seventh anniversary of this short programme, which has, to date, empowered more than 100 female entrepreneurs.