For Women's Month we focus look at the success of the the BUSINESS/PARTNERS Women in Business Fund launched last year, we discuss how to create an inclusive work culture, and we meet Annette Combrink and Kgomotso Shiluvane, our latest square pegs.
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Gap between male, female entrepreneurs still shrinking

If there is a single figure that illustrates the force that women are becoming in the South African economy, it is that no less than 41% of the clients of Business Partners Limited (BUSINESS/PARTNERS) are women-owned small and medium enterprises.

Of the R310m invested by BUSINESS/PARTNERS in the women entrepreneurs in the 2016 financial year, a remarkable number went to women-owned small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the traditionally male-dominated industries of manufacturing and retailing, says Jeremy Lang, regional general manager at BUSINESS/PARTNERS.

Furthermore, recent investments in medical, legal and engineering practices show that the professions continue to open up for women, and sectors where women entrepreneurs have already established a sizeable presence, tourism, education and the beauty industry, were also well represented in the latest figures.


Four steps to create an inclusive work environment for your business

Business owners are lucky that they create their own work environment, unlike managers in large corporations who step into rigid, pre-created cultures. However, many business owners allow the working culture in their businesses to flow organically from their personality, without giving much thought to how it could be perhaps better engineered.

Kgomotso Ramoenyane, executive general manager: human resources at Business Partners Limited (BUSINESS/PARTNERS), believes that there is a lot to be said for consciously shaping the work environment in a business rather than leaving it up to chance, and specifically to aim towards creating an inclusive culture.

Inclusivity in a business means that the staff members feel valued and free to express who they are, where workers are keen to contribute not merely their contractually required output, but any of their ideas, knowledge and support that can help build the business. In an inclusive environment conflict is not shunned or suppressed, but channelled in such a way that everyone is keen to debate, participate and resolve, even if their ideas do not always hold sway.

August 2016 / Vol.7.8


Are you a
square peg?

This quiz is not scientific but serves to highlight some of the key attributes of entrepreneurs or “square pegs”, as we at Business Partners affectionately call them. The quiz should give you some idea on whether you “possess” entrepreneurial qualities, or not. However, please remember that a positive outcome/score is not a recipe for success.

Take the quiz

Trailblazing success built on ferocious determination, support networks

It is highly unusual to find someone who ventures into business for the first time in her late sixties, especially if it entails starting entirely from scratch and turning a derelict plot into an idyllic guest house.

But a closer look at the extraordinary career of Annette Combrink, owner of the Mooirivier Oewer Guest House in Potchefstroom, removes at least some of the surprise: here is someone who was never going to retire quietly.

In the sense that entrepreneurs are leaders and pioneers who break new ground, Combrink has clearly always been leading an entrepreneurial life, even though she has never started a business before the guest house.

Combrink, together with her four siblings, were the first generation of their family to go to university. After a brief stint as a school teacher in the 1960s to pay for her studies, she returned to academia as a junior lecturer and opened a path for women at the University of Potchefstroom, which used to be one of the most conservative and patriarchal universities in South Africa.


Building on a rich legacy of caring entrepreneurship

Given the fact that the legal and cultural suppression of women in business has only recently started lifting, South Africa has a surprisingly deep tradition of female entrepreneurship. And if the story of Kgomotso Shiluvane is anything to go by, it is a tradition that combines business success with social consciousness and care.

Shiluvane, founder-owner of the Lunghile Nursing School, a fast-growing academy that trains and develops nurses, remembers watching her grandmother in her shop in Limpopo where she grew up. “Pay next time,” her grandmother would often tell the destitute women who came in to ask to buy food on credit. And when her grandchildren reminded her that a particular client had not yet paid for the last groceries she bought on credit, she would say: “I'm not as worried about how she is going to pay me as I am about how she is going to feed her children.”

Such generosity did nothing to dampen her grandmother's success in business...

Location: Clayville Business Park, 56 Axel Road, Clayville, Olifantsfontein.

Description: Unit 2 - approximately 602m² - is available. The unit consists of office and factory space. The entrance to factory consists of a industrial roller shutter door and there is a door between the factory and offices. The unit also has a separate entrance to the ground floor office and stairs to the first floor offices. It includes toilets, kitchens, and 3 phase electricity. It also includes security and electric fencing.

Rent: R39 130.00 (R65.00 pm²), plus VAT and metered electricity, water and sewerage.

Zelda Coetzer
083 289 1748

Location: Benoni Hive, Corner of Rothsay and Harpur Avenue, Benoni.

Description: The units available are approximately 64m². They consist of a roller shutter door to the factory and have 24-hour security.

Rent: R3 040.00 (R47.50 pm²), plus VAT and metered electricity, water and sewerage.

Zelda Coetzer
083 289 1748

Location: Buffalo Thorn Business Park, Nr 56, corner of Van Belkum and Kock Streets, Rustenburg.

Description: 3 units of 254m² each are available to let (unit 9, 10 and 11). they can be combined for bigger space. The units are road facing and consist of one garage door with access to factory, an open plan reception and office/storage on a mezzanine level. The business Park has 24-hour security with guards at the access point.

Rent: R13 970.00 excl. VAT per month per unit. Metered electricity, sewerage and water are charged separately.

Valencia Tshidi
079 011 9191

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