WEConnect International in South Africa partnered with IBM to host the last Collaboration Workshop for the year, focused on ICT innovation. As was the case with twoworkshops held in Johannesburg and Cape Town, during October and November, the purpose of this workshop was to cultivate and nurture a collaborative culture among women business-owners (WBOs).
The interactive session kicked off with Mashudu Mannde, Enterprise and Supplier Development Lead from IBM, welcoming WBOs and highlighting the importance of the event in supporting IBM’s commitment to empowering entrepreneurs by offering an array of entrepreneurial programmes and services to give these businesses a competitive edge. He was joined by the IBM team that spoke about new market trends, and gaps and opportunities within IBM to help grow businesses. Maletsabisa Molapo from IBM Research described IBM’s research as well as the need to drive innovation and create new business opportunities within South Africa.
Next up was Lidia Ngengebule, Global Markets Enterprise Sales Unit Leader, who outlined IBM’s business offerings and introduced Watson, IBM’s cognitive artificial intelligence platform for businesses. This platform gives business insights by spotting business trends. Phindile Mthethwa, EDP Executive (EEIP), focused on IBM’s Enterprise Development Programme which targets aspiring entrepreneurs, startups and well-established businesses. She mentioned that IBM was looking to partner with entrepreneurs, especially in ICT and cyber security.
In line with the previous collaboration sessions, attendees broke up into focus groups of construction, facilities management and travel; ICT services; and agriculture and agri-processing. These groups gave feedback on the progress and actions from previous sessions.
During afternoon session, the focus groups met again, with discussions focusing on how these collaboration groups could apply ICT implications and improvements to their group actions.
At the end of the day, the groups gave feedback on progress. Group actions included researching innovative solutions in business and IBM’s procurement needs, registering on the IBM supplier database, and setting up meetings with IBM representatives.
Tony De Abreu, Cognitive Procurement – EMEA, encouraged the WBOs to partner with IBM and to make use of IBM’s wealth of resources, clients, and technology.
Other IBM representatives who attended and participated in the workshop were Sylvia Clements, Procurement Sourcing Professional, and Arno de Beer, Local Delivery Center Leader, Delivery Project Executive. The IBM representatives joined the collaboration groups and guided WBOs on how to approach IBM with their business offerings.
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