Procter & Gamble Africa has over the years demonstrated its commitment to supplier diversity and inclusion by facilitating capacity-building modules for women entrepreneurs in the region. To date, 117 women-owned businesses have successfully completed the programme in South Africa since 2017.
The curriculum comprises of ten modules expanding in business development topics such as growth strategies, business operations, company branding, sales, communications and leadership skills, human resources and supplier relationship management. These specialised sessions allowed the women to get a better understanding of the topics covered and encouraged great interactions with the facilitators.
Opening the session on day one of the seminar, senior vice-president and general manager of P&G sub-Saharan Africa, Vilo Trska, engaged the women business owners on 'Aligning and Executing Your Business Strategy', followed by senior brand director, head of Marketing, Michael Simpson, who led an energetic session on 'Brand Building'. Both sessions allowed the women to get a better understanding of the topics covered and encouraged great interactions with the facilitators.
On day two, director of purchasing for sub-Saharan Africa, Otto Meyer, touched on the importance of the procurement processes for potential suppliers to large corporations and how these principles can be applied to SME businesses when using external suppliers. His discussion was followed by Laylah Kara, senior purchasing manager, who spoke on P&G’s sustainability purchasing practices. P&G set a new ambition to achieve net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across its operations and supply chain, from raw material to retailer. Finally, Uche Ajo, senior human resource manager, led the HR discussion with the women business owners on the importance of hiring the right people in their businesses which ultimately leads to the success of the goals of the business.
Ending the three-day seminar, customer sales director, Natalee Sukhnandan, walked the women through the significance of customer experience by facilitating the final module on 'Understanding and reaching your customer' which was an amazingly interactive session. The dynamic and energetic conversations with the facilitators and the women business owners to share learnings with each other were apparent throughout the course of the programme.
To top off the seminar, the selected women entrepreneurs were encouraged to partake in a 'Elevator Pitch' to showcase their businesses. The Elevator Pitches were judged based on two categories: clarity and impression. The top three finalists won a cash prize of R15,000.
Thereafter, the finalists will compete for the ultimate prize of R100,000.
With the help of the Proctor & Gamble Africa team, Otto Meyer and Sameer Dheda contributed to the overall success of the three-day seminar.
WeConnect International in South Africa would like to thank the P&G sub-Saharan Africa leadership team, who contributed to the success of the event this year and congratulate our women business owners for completing the three-day seminar.
As part of this initiative, WeConnect International partnered with P&G by equipping women business owners with the skills to grow their businesses and position them to do business with global corporations. Given P&G’s existing presence in these countries, the projects allowed P&G to increase their market reach as well as achieve awareness of their supplier diversity and inclusion initiatives among local stakeholders and government officials and how this engagement will contribute to economic growth. To date, more than 460 women-owned businesses have benefited from this collaborative project in China, South Africa, Turkey, Mexico, India, Nigeria, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Costa Rica, and Singapore. Following each programme, WeConnect International has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from the women participants, reflecting successful implementation of the training as well as its impact on the growth of the targeted women-owned businesses.
WeConnect International is a member-led, global non-profit that brings motivated, large corporate, multilateral and government buyers together with women-owned suppliers around the world. It works with over 160 multinational buying organisations with over $1tn in annual purchasing power combined, that have committed to sourcing more products and services from women-owned businesses based in over 130 countries. WeConnect International identifies, educates, registers and certifies women’s business enterprises that are at least 51% owned, managed and controlled by one or more women. WeConnect International provides certification in over 50 countries that represent over 70% of the world’s population.