Collaboration was the name of the game when WEConnect International in South Africa went to Cape Town for the Roadshow 2018. The event was hosted by EY at their beautiful Cape Town offices steps away from the iconic V&A Waterfront with a backdrop of the lovely Table Mountain.
In attendance were energetic women entrepreneurs from across Cape Town, representing various sectors. They were also joined by some of our Cape-based WBEs, some WEConnect International self-registered women business owners, as well as some women who were meeting WEConnect International for the first time.
Corporate representatives from EY, Ingersoll Rand, Johnson & Johnson, and Marriot Hotels were present to kick off the Roadshow, introduce themselves and their companies. Women business owners took advantage of the corporates present by both seeking advice related to the corporate procurement procedures and expressing some challenges they had with regards to doing business with corporates.
Corporate representatives were gracious and forthcoming in sharing their experiences with working with SMMEs and providing valuable advice to everyone in the room.
Former WBE Melanie Medell, owner of Melaire Linens, who is currently involved in Entrepreneurs Organisation’s Accelerator Programme through the support of corporate member ABSA, shared some of the lessons she has learned from the programme and from running her successful linen manufacturing and supply business. Guests were treated to invaluable advice about changing business cash flow behavior, looking after employees, and starting the day with team huddles to align priorities.
Attendees were also given the opportunity to give a one-minute pitch on their businesses to all attendees and received feedback from corporate representatives.
Throughout the day, women business owners were encouraged to focus on collaboration as a way to tackle larger projects and grow their businesses. At the end of the session, attendees were given a chance to provide feedback and commented that the event gave them perspective as well as a better understanding of the expectations that corporates have but, most importantly, they saw the value that comes from pooling collaborative efforts for the greater good. Our EY host Sinqobile Khumalo, Procurement Talent Africa Team Member Business Enablement, told women business owners: “Know what EY does, really understand the business, so you know how we can best work together if I ever need your services.” EY Business Development Executive Ncedo Nkasela also spoke to the audience adding, “As a women business owner, EY has many programs that give you access to the business. EY Winning Woman program being one of them, this program gives you a deep insight into the business and experience some of the business tools like Going Beyond Borders that we use with our clients.”