South Africa

WEConnect International in South Africa identifies, educates, registers, and certifies women's business enterprises that are at least 51% owned, managed, and controlled by one or more women. WEConnect International is the only non-profit organisation in South Africa that provides the seal of certification uniquely to Women Business Enterprises (WBEs), and also, that connects these WBEs with multi-national corporate purchasing organizations across diverse industries. Our signature seal of certification is a formal guarantee to corporations that they are purchasing goods and/or services from South African businesses that meet universal standards for WBEs. Find out more.

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(7 December 2016) Celebrating the successes of 2016 and looking forward to the opportunities in 2017, was the theme of the year-end event held by WEConnect International in South Africa on 2 December 2016. Hosted at WEConnect International corporate member EY in Johannesburg, the breakfast was attended by a group of over 50, including 22 representatives of women’s business enterprises and their invited guests, and corporate representatives: Hank van Rensburg of ABSA, Linda Basson, Mpumi Magagula, and Grace Seema of Accenture, Jacoba Schutte of EY, Nadine Schlebusch of Ingersoll Rand, Jacob Pretorius of Johnson & Johnson, and Lynn Turnbull and Marli Cilliers of Sodexo, as well as Miranda Isaakidis of corporate partner, Women Presidents’ Organization.  

Vimala2016Tenacious woman business owner, Vimala Ariyan, who is the founding member and Managing Director of the Southern African Institute of Learning (SAIL), was introduced to WEConnect International in April 2016 after a meeting with Jean Chawapiwa, the Executive Director of WEConnect International in South Africa. She became a WEConnect International certified Women’s Business Enterprise in August 2016 and SAIL is already in negotiations to extend its services into the African region.

Vimala started her professional career as an educator in KwaZulu Natal, before joining the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) where she decided on a future in the exciting and rewarding world of occupational training. She considers SAIL her third child, having grown the organization to where it is today.


An interactive training session on best practice in planning and giving presentations provided Women Business Owners with a unique opportunity to assess and improve individual skillsets. Organised as part of a connect session by WEConnect International in South Africa, and hosted by corporate member Intel in Johannesburg on 8 November, the training was presented by Deaneesha Govender, Commodity Manager - Europe, Middle East and Africa Regional Strategic Sourcing, Intel Corporation. Some 19 certified Women Business Enterprises, attended the morning event.  

Jean Chawapiwa
Country Director, South Africa
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