Nedbank has won the Top Empowerment Enterprise Supplier Development Award for its innovative Women in Tourism Programme.
The purpose of the programme is to assist businesses in the tourism industry that have been through many trials and tribulations lately, with a sustainable turnaround. This is one of many initiatives that Nedbank has driven as a catalyst for transformative economic growth and job creation. “We are honoured to have received this accolade at the 21st Top Empowerment Awards Ceremony held last week for Enterprise and Supplier Development,” said Nirmala Reddy, Nedbank Enterprise and Supplier Development strategy specialist.
The Top Empowerment Awards acknowledge those who have displayed innovative leadership and made a significant impact on the communities in which they operate as well as on society at large. The event platform connects business leaders and organisations that have a common goal of transforming Africa. Nedbank also received the Top Empowered: Youth Employment Service YES Initiative Award.
The Women in Tourism Programme was developed by Nedbank in partnership with SA Tourism and its implementing partner, McGeralds Entrepreneurship Centre, mainly to support 225 black-women-owned (BWO), small to medium businesses in the tourism sector that had been ruined by the COVID-19 pandemic, and help them revive their businesses.
Reddy said that the pandemic, followed by the civil unrest in 2021 and floods in KZN, had had a devastating impact on tourism throughout South Africa. “The number of tourists decreased by 72.6%, from 10.2m in 2019 to 2.8m in 2020. Thereafter, the onset of the new COVID strain (Omicron) in 2021 dealt an even harder blow to the tourism industry,” she explained.
The Nedbank and SA Tourism programme offers a sustainable platform consisting of training, mentorship and expert guidance to help the women with the necessary development tools and growth strategies to strengthen their businesses.
“Given the impact of this programme on its beneficiaries, we’re particularly proud of this accolade, which recognises the positive effect we’ve had on women in the tourism sector who needed a programme like this one to help,” said Goolam Kader, Managing Executive at Nedbank Commercial Banking.
Grace Molatlhegi, the owner of Gracious Lodge in Limpopo, said the initiative had been an eye-opener as she did not have a marketing strategy or the know-how to use social media effectively. “I learned that collaboration with other ladies in tourism can help to create packages that attract more guests, including international tourists,” she said.
Phase two of the programme, which entails business development, mentorship and delving further into the business and its potential for growth, starts this month.