In commemoration of the 1956 Women’s March to the Union Buildings, the Southern African Institute of Learning (SAIL) launched their 1956 Women’s Business Empowerment Programme and their new corporate image on Friday.
The programme will see the provision of free Small, Medium and Micro Enterprise (SMME) development training worth R5.6 million to 1,956 disadvantaged women on SAIL’s digital platform nationally, through the Women’s Business Empowerment Programme.
Speaking at the launch event, SAIL Managing Director, Vimala Ariyan, said, “Education is key to ensuring that people, specifically women are properly trained to deal with the fourth industrial revolution. The 1956 Women’s Business Empowerment Programme will be aiming at skilling, re-skilling and upskilling rural women in start-ups. Due to the lack of infrastructure in rural areas, many women are left behind in the digital revolution; this programme will see to it that we can reach women, even in the most desolate areas,”.
The 1956 Women’s Business Empowerment Programme will cover entrepreneurship, communication skills, leadership development, business plans, finances and budgeting, understanding operational requirements, innovation, marketing and customer service.
Gender specialist at the Development Bank of Southern Africa, Dr Michele Ruiters shared that e-learning platforms such as SAIL’s 1956 Women’s Business Empowerment Programme will create equality and sustainability in the lives of rural women.
“Educating women is extremely important. Educated women can positively add to the growth of the economy. A study conducted by McKinsey & Company found that globally women could generate as much as $12 trillion if gender parity with men could be reached. When women are educated there is greater sustainability, both within their own lives and their communities, minimising social ills,” Ruiters said.
SAIL’s Chief Operating Officer, Claire Pellar, said the institute will also provide post-training support on completion of the module. Support will include assistance from onsite staff in mentoring; provision of basic business tools and procedures as well as proposal writing; and advice and assistance on how to register companies.
The sourcing and selection of women for the 1956 Women’s Business Empowerment Programme will utilise and involve community development organisations /projects, local radio stations, provincial government departments, youth development agencies and advertisements.
“The 1956 Women’s Business Empowerment Programme will provide agency amongst the women. With the skills imparted onto them, these women will have the ability to start or grow their businesses. We want to create sustainability and allow women to meaningfully contribute to the economy,” concluded Ariyan.