Here’s why we started a R5.6m training programme for rural women

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On August 9 1956, about 20 000 women marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest against legislation aimed at tightening the apartheid government's control over the movement of black women in urban areas.
On August 9 1956, about 20 000 women marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest against legislation aimed at tightening the apartheid government's control over the movement of black women in urban areas.

In commemoration of the 1956 Women’s March to the Union Buildings, the Southern African Institute of Learning on Thursday launched a 1956 Women’s Business Empowerment Programme.

The programme will see the provision of free small, medium and micro enterprise development training worth R5.6 million to 1,956 disadvantaged women on the institute’s e-learning platform nationally.

The programme will incorporate a 12-month incubation process for the new start-ups on the programme.

We understand the crucial role small businesses play in any economy: they provide employment and competition, a few innovate and grow into businesses of scale and sophistication and, importantly, in the South African context they help reduce an overconcentration of economic power.

Unemployment is one of the greatest challenges facing people in our country. Therefore, there is a pressing need to develop and grow small, medium and micro enterprises as they play an important role in the South African economy.

The institute is also aware that women in South Africa face particular challenges when trying to start their own businesses.

According to the second Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs only 18.8% of business owners in South Africa are women.

The report cites poor social/cultural acceptance and limited access to business resources such as finance, capital, training and development among the many barriers to success that women in many markets face.

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.

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.

All our training programmes are delivered using the outcomes-based methodology. This means learners achieve competency and are also awarded with lifelong credits on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF).

As a provider of premium training companies in South Africa since 2005, we are committed to providing top-quality accredited training programmes to the public and private sectors, offering a wide range of full qualifications, customised short training courses and a variety of other training courses and offerings.

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.

Vimala Ariyan is the managing director of the South African Institute of Learning,

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