Female entrepreneurs can be key drivers of job creation in SA, says Sauls

CAPE TOWN. – In a global environment where 9-to-5 jobs are often not created any longer, entrepreneurship is a key driver of new job opportunities, says Leonora Sauls, head of philanthropy at the Ackerman Family Foundation and the Ackerman Pick ‘n Pay Foundation.

Sauls will be a keynote speaker at the webinar on 25th August hosted by 1000 Women Trust in association with Pick ‘n Pay. The theme of the webinar would be the economic development of women.

The webinar is part of the 1000 Women Restart initiative geared at assisting women to start or restart a business or become more employable, or to link them to a successful business mentor.

Sauls is expertly equipped to assist women with economic development. After school, she started working in the fast-paced rag trade in the product development room while studying marketing and economics part-time through distance learning.

She also completed MAP at Wits Business School. She moved to the financial sector working for a few blue-chip financial companies and in 1990 she was chosen to participate in a management development program to fast track promising individuals.

Her mentor during this program introduced her to community development, which changed the course of her career for good. She left financial services to join SA Breweries in a public relations capacity and later moved on to manage their enterprise development and community programs.

Sauls has also been an active member of the regional board member of the black management forum and has served on school governing bodies, marketing teams, and NGO boards.

Entrepreneurship – especially with women – is really the answer to unemployment, says Sauls.

“Women who want to create some kind of income for their families and are entrepreneurs, can drive change with innovation and improve the lives of those around them.

“Women can be great entrepreneurs. They bring a different kind of leadership to families and communities and they often have high levels of productivity,” Sauls added.

“Women-led businesses tend to thrive in a different way because they have a different approach to men. Women entrepreneurs would tell you it is tough to start, but the rewards are much greater.

“It adds to the self-worth and self-esteem of any woman and will also have a positive impact on families and community (when they succeed),” Sauls said.

Sauls said good mentors are one of the keys to successful entrepreneurship for women.

If you have a good mentor, you won’t make the same mistakes that other people have made because you have a good sounding board that gives you guidance.

It is a scary and exciting time when you start a business, because you need good networking and also find the right investors. The question is how do you attract the right audience and the right target market – that is where a mentor makes a big difference.

The mentor gives the mentee guidance about the direction of their business and their organizational setting. They also organize the personal growth of the mentee.

Some of the most important ingredients for being a successful mentor are to be an active listener, to be available, and to do good analysis.

A mentor who is successful will do their work so well that gradually the mentee can operate without the need for a mentor.

Sauls intends to discuss food gardens with her audience at the webinar on Wednesday 25th August.

She wants to focus on the economics of food gardens and how you can transform it into a business.

“It does not need to be a source of addressing food insecurity, but can also become a source of income for you and your family,” Sauls says.

The theme of the last of the August webinar is women empowerment on 25th August.

Women who want to join the 1000 Women Restart initiative, can do it for free by registering for the August-webinar. People who want to join the August-webinars, can register on https://www.webtickets.co.za/v2/Event.aspx?itemid=1507470118.