JSE-listed Nedbank and South African Tourism (SA Tourism) have collaborated to launch a ‘Women in Tourism Entrepreneurship Programme’ that will seek to bring a much-needed boost to the tourism industry.
According to the pair, the initiative is “designed to create a knowledge foundation, provide mentorship, and eventually, open markets to black-women-owned small, medium and micro enterprises operating in the tourism sector”.
The programme has selected 25 female applicants from each province in the country to benefit from the initiative on the basis that the main pre-qualifying criteria — that the business is at least 51% black, female owned — was met.
The acting chief operating officer of SA Tourism, Hanneli Slabber, says that the country has seen many tourism businesses and establishments close shop over the past two years due to the impact of the pandemic.
“South African Tourism is committed to doing all [it] can to rebuild and reignite [the] sector. This Women in Tourism initiative is a great tool in contributing to assist many women-owned businesses to be optimally functional and ready to receive domestic, regional, and international travellers as the sector gradually recovers,” she said.
“Many women are still not part of the formal economy and are largely in low-paying jobs compared to their male counterparts. It is time this changed.”
As part of the programme, participants will receive training that has been broken down into three phases and will cover different modules:
- Phase 1: Business planning and financial management
- Phase 2: Marketing strategy and sales
- Phase 3: HR, operations and risk management
The two organisations say that each module will be covered over three days per phase and will run across all nine provinces simultaneously from January until May 2022.
“As a bank, Nedbank is committed to supporting the empowerment of women across our initiatives. Using our financial expertise to do good goes far beyond banking — we embrace our role in society as a change agent and [in] building our nation. The WiT initiative will contribute significantly to this,” enterprise development manager for Nedbank Business Banking, Nirmala Reddy, said.
“You may ask why we, as a bank, are investing in the tourism sector through this initiative? The answer is simple. Our purpose is to use our financial expertise to do good for individuals, families, businesses, and society. Our tourism sector has been challenged severely during the pandemic. But we have a good opportunity to roll up our sleeves and work together to boost the recovery to grow the economy and create jobs.”
Palesa Mofokeng is a Moneyweb intern.