Inspiring women in business

The Gender and Women Empowerment Unit manages the South African Women Entrepreneurs Network (Sawen).

The network was set up to help female entrepreneurs overcome persistent obstacles in their business operations. It also tries to provide women with solutions on how to deal with these obstacles.

Constraints that women face include persistent gender discrimination and negative perceptions. But enterprises owned by women contribute an ever increasing share to the national revenue.

Enterprise size is another setback for women. Almost all enterprises owned by women fall in the lower small business category, either very small or micro-sized companies. Men dominate in the larger, more lucrative sectors.

About 70percent of informal businesses in South Africa are owned or controlled by women.

For assistance, phone 012-394-605/6.

Technology for Women in Business (TWIB) aims to make science and technology more accessible to women in business, especially those running small businesses. For advise phone 012-841-4983 or visit

Skills development in the cultural industries has developed a skills development training strategy with the Department of Labour for the craft, film, design and music sePhone. Women can contact 011-699-3007/8/9 or visit

Thuso Mentorship Programme is designed to help teach skills one-on-one. Contact them on 011-315-0036/7.