Financial institution, Nedbank, in conjunction with South African Tourism, has launched an empowerment initiative to promote female-owned businesses in tourism.
The initiative will see twenty-five women in each province – 225 in total – selected for enterprise development training to ensure that women are the catalyst for transformative economic growth and job creation within the tourism sector.
This initiative between Nedbank and South African Tourism supports the Department of Tourism’s Women in Tourism (WiT) Programme, which was launched in 2013 to propel and support the development and empowerment of women in the tourism sector.
Premised on the principles of respect, recognition, representation, and reward, the WiT integrates women from diverse backgrounds to converge on a set of common goals and interests that will ensure their success in the sector.
“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 building our nation. The WiT initiative will contribute significantly to this,” said Goolam Kader, Managing Executive for Nedbank Business Banking.
“This is an inspiring entrepreneurship development initiative designed to create a knowledge foundation, provide mentorship, and eventually, open markets to black-women-owned small, medium and microenterprises operating in the tourism sector,” he said.
The two partners, along with McGeralds Entrepreneurship Centre, have issued a call for women to participate in this move to kick-start the tourism sector.
Women still poorly represented at higher levels
Acting CEO of South African Tourism, Sthembiso Dlamini, pointed to statistics from the World Tourism Organization, which highlight that although women make up the majority of employment in the tourism industry, they are poorly represented at professional levels and in leadership positions.
“Currently, many women are excluded from the formal economy and still find themselves in low-paying jobs, while those who are lucky enough to find a job never make it to middle or top management, particularly in the private sector,” she commented.
Dlamini added that the challenges had compounded over the past 18 months as the global tourism sector (along with many other industries) had been dealt a devastating blow, with many businesses having to shut down due to the COVID-19 regulations and restrictions.
“South African Tourism is committed to doing all we can to rebuild and reignite our sector to 2019 levels and beyond. Partnerships like this one with Nedbank are crucial, because they focus on collaboration for inclusive economic growth.”
Since it launched in 2013, the WiT initiative has served as a mechanism to elevate the status of women in tourism by providing training, empowerment, and networking opportunities that facilitate their competitiveness as entrepreneurs, professionals, and leaders.