VWSA on hunt for next big female entrepreneur

HELPING HAND: Volkswagen’s Lionesses Den initiative has been launched to support female businesses
Image: Supplied

Volkswagen Group SAs Lionesses Den initiative is on the hunt for three  winning business pitches that could stand female entrepreneurs  a chance of grabbing their share of R175,000 in cash to support their businesses.

According to a statement released by VWSA,  the capital is aimed at assisting female entrepreneurs by providing relief for existing business challenges.

The initiative forms part of VW’s Drive Local campaign to support and champion Proudly South African products and services.

Martina Biene, head of the Volkswagen brand in SA, said a lot needs to be done to support female entrepreneurs to play their role in helping to alleviate unemployment, poverty and driving the economy forward.

The statement said female entrepreneurs were in a minority within the entrepreneurial landscape.

Despite half of SA’s population being female, only 34% of small, medium and micro enterprises were led by females.

Regardless of the financial impact of Covid-19, many female-led businesses had already been struggling to stay afloat, because of the lack of cash injection to invest back into operation, skills, marketing and infrastructure, according to Biene.

“This is a chance for female entrepreneurs to use the capital to pay salaries, upskill, purchase stock, invest in marketing or proper infrastructure,” Biene said.

“As part of its partnership with Lionesses of Africa, the one million plus strong all-female business network in Africa, Volkswagen have introduced ‘The Lioness Den’.

“We are calling on female owned businesses in SA to share a two minute pitch, the top three pitches will win capital to invest in their businesses and in turn help drive the South African economy forward.

“This offers an opportunity for female entrepreneurs to access capital amid the Covid-19 challenges on the South African economy and small businesses in particular.”

Lionesses of Africa founder and CEO Melanie Hawken said access to markets and funding were the two biggest challenges facing female entrepreneurs.

“[With] the current pandemic which is severely impacting the ability to do business as usual, these challenges have become even greater.

“The difference this cash injection will make to the winners, especially in light of this time of ‘business unusual,’ will be substantial.”

Females across all sectors and industries including entrepreneurs that are part of the Lioness of Africa network can enter the competition.

Entrants must submit their two-minute recorded video business pitch on the Lionesses Den website at www.vwlionessesden.co.za

The competition runs from Wednesday to August 2. The winners will be announced on August 21 during the Lionesses Lean-in event.




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