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An action-filled programme with a variety of contributors from local and international speakers gave the WEConnect International in South Africa Annual Conference on 11 May, 2017, a particularly memorable character. Inspirational contributions by host Val Davies, Chief Operating Officer, EY, and keynotes Ms Susan Shabangu, Minister for Women in the Presidency, and Chargé d’Affaires of the US Embassy, Jessye Lapenn, emphasised the importance of mentoring, training and connecting women. The event was sponsored by EY, ExxonMobil, MSD, Accenture, IBM, Marriot International, Johnson & Johnson, and Ingersoll Rand. 

Programme director Lynette Ntuli (woman business owner and TV presenter) infused the programme with humour and enthusiasm.

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Women Business Owners Take the Stage

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annualconf2017 day2 a(May 10, 2017) Excitement and anticipation were palpable as 34 certified women’s business enterprises (WBEs) each took a deep breath and stepped up to pitch her business to a panel comprised of Elizabeth A. Vazquez, CEO & Co–Founder, WEConnect International and corporate representatives from IBM, MSD, EY, Accenture, Ingersoll Rand, UPS, Johnson & Johnson and SARS. This ‘live’ event followed on the Advisory Council meeting on 10 May 2017 ahead of the WEConnect International in South Africa’s Annual Conference at EY in Johannesburg.

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(May 9, 2017) A strong contingent of some 80 women business owners participated actively in six information sessions and targeted business skills trainings on 9 May 2017 at EY in Johannesburg.  A winner and two runners-up took centre stage after the Perfecting your Pitch competition: Managing Director Janice Scheckter, Indigo New Media; Viloshnee Singh, V4 Group & Thembane Chemicals; and Managing Director Thanthi Sepeng, Reve Productions.

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annualconf2017 day1 cThese trainings formed part of the two-day pre-events ahead of the WEConnect International in South Africa’s Annual Conference. Course presenters included EY’s Lorenzo Bell Jr and IBM’s Michael K. Robinson, Tony de Abreu and Angela de Longchamps, as well as several certified women’s business enterprises.  

The interactive trainings aimed at useful and practical skills included:  

  • Agile-minded – presented by Michael K. Robinson (Program Director, Global Supplier Diversity, IBM); Tony De Abreu (Cognitive Workforce Management leader for EMEA,  IBM), Angela de Longchamps (Leadership and Talent Development consultant), and Shaheema Adams of Customer Experience Lab (a certified WBE with WEConnect International)
  • annualconf2017 day1 dPerfecting Your Pitch: facilitated by EY – presented by Lorenzo A. Bell Jr (EY Diversity & Inclusiveness Procurement); Jean Chawapiwa (WEConnect International in South Africa’s Country Director) and Tania Reid (CEO of iThemba Office Solutions and a certified WBE with WEConnect International)
  • Boost Your Business with Facebook – presented by Linda Magare of Digify Africa  for  the Facebook Africa Team o BBBEEE workshop for SMEs – Mpopi Moloi-Khupe of Zevoli Consulting (a certified WBE with WEConnect International)
  • annualconf2017 day1 bLegal BootCamp for SMEs – Monisha Prem M Prem Inc. (a certified WBE with WEConnect International)
  • Optimising processes within a business –  MJ Fick, Tania May and Zinhle Sithole  of Pétanque International (a certified WBE with WEConnect International).

The Perfecting your Pitch competition at the end of the morning’s session was hotly contested; judges finally decided on the three winners with two honorable mentions.  

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Significantly, trainings were done by certified women business owners, whose role has become the empowerment of fellow women business owners by teaching vital skills.  This virtuous cycle of teaching and learning among peers is one of the strong indicators of the gains to local entrepreneurs through the activities of WEConnect International in South Africa. Good attendance at the workshops indicated specific interest among women business owners for these information and training sessions.  

For more information, contact: Jean Chawapiwa, Country Director of WEConnect International in SA I  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. I +27 836606586

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(March 31, 2017) Congratulations to Tania Reid, owner of WEConnect International certified women’s business enterprise Ithemba and grand winner of the 2017 WEConnect International Video Contest. Ithemba offers a variety of products and services including stationary, corporate gifts and clothing, laptops and printers, and multifunction photocopiers. Tania’s mission is to be a solution that clients think of when they want office solutions, personalized experience, and a business partner who exceeds expectations. Come meet her at WEConnect International Day in Las Vegas!