Covid-19 has brought all of us to a complete standstill, as if the universe is telling us to stop, stop and think about new, and more sustainable ways, of living and working.
These new ways include a rethink of the structure of the economy, and the ways in which economic activity enhances a more equitable society, particularly for women, who continue to bear the brunt of poverty throughout the world.
"Perhaps this global pause gives us an opportunity, as women, to take our place in the centre of a new economy, whatever this may mean", said Dr Ronel Blom, Dean of REGENT Business School, in her welcoming remarks during the seminar focusing on Female Entrepreneurs in the Accelerated Reconstruction of the Economy
, hosted by the REDhub Centre for Entrepreneurship.
She welcomed Advocate Pria Hassan, who is eminently qualified to speak about female entrepreneurship, as she is an entrepreneur of note.
Pria Hassan is the founder and CEO of the Women of Africa group. Her company is steeped in the petroleum industry and is increasingly gaining market share.
This women-owned, women-run company is also involved in the pharmaceutical, logistics and construction sectors, all of which has been built up in a short 15 years.
As the leader of Women in Africa, Advocate Hassan has impressed with her entrepreneurial abilities, and she has consistently been awarded prestigious accolades since 2011. The list of these accolades is long, the latest of which was Finalist Top Empowered Business Leader, 2019.
She is also a pioneer in women empowerment, who puts her money where her mouth is by mentoring and supporting female business owners.
In answering questions such as – ‘what is the context female entrepreneurs find themselves in before and during Covid-19?’; ‘what are the challenges female entrepreneurs face?’; and, ‘what is it that female entrepreneurs can do?’, it became clear that entrepreneurs throughout the world are struggling, but they are fast reinventing themselves.
“There are many, opportunities for female entrepreneurs”, said Advocate Hassan, “and not only in the traditional ‘soft’, or informal sectors”. She also pointed out that the Department of Trade and Industry is able to assist with identification of sectors and products needed, but also in directing female entrepreneurs to possible funding mechanisms. She shared an extensive list of funding opportunities.
Advocate Hassan then informed the participants of an exciting development – the first female bank, Women Bank Of Africa (email: firstname.lastname@example.org
), has just been launched. This achievement again shows that by not giving up, success follows, as it has taken five years for the process to be concluded.
Nevertheless, Advocate Hassan’s key messages were: find different ways; pivot; go back to basics; repackage; take control; start a forum; and “buy Proudly South African” (because then we support each other). In short, don’t give up, rethink!
Finally, the most important message that she gave us is that even in the time of a pandemic, if they have resilience to bounce back, female entrepreneurs can thrive. This is essential if female entrepreneurs want to contribute to the reconstructed economy post Covid-19.
The seminar was concluded by Dr Blom, who thanked Advocate Hassan, and invited participants to make use of some of the services of the REGENT REDhub, namely Business Incubation; Business Advice; Mentoring; Accounting and Tax Services; and Training and Development. Find more info here.
The REGENT BUSINESS SCHOOL: REDhub and Advocate Pria Hassan are looking forward to further engagements on the empowerment of women through economic freedom.
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