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Dentsu Aegis Network South Africa host successful three-day bootcamp in Johannesburg for 15 female entrepreneurs

Fifteen local female entrepreneurs have become the first cohort to graduate from Dentsu Aegis Network South Africa's Female Foundry business growth programme.
Photographed by: Lemonsquare Productions

Founded in Singapore, Female Foundry was established to bridge the gap in gender parity - especially in emerging markets - by offering experienced training and mentorship to empower and develop the skills of female entrepreneurs.

Female founders from businesses including Encapsulate Consulting, C Fruit, Recro Business Services, The Homing Pigeon, Vela Personnel, Maximillion Digital, MLB Digital, Our Salad Mix, Hot Head Media, Zeloi Agency, Gadifele Communications, Brendmo Incorporated, Createplay, Makeda Media and Rhomona G Marketing were selected out of a number of applicants to participate in the bootcamp, where they were paired with a mentor to help strengthen their businesses for growth and success.

Photographed by: Lemonsquare Productions

Last week, the programme culminated in a three-day bootcamp at the Southern Sun Hotel, Hyde Park where the entrepreneurs were welcomed by guest speakers Melina Lambrakis (Co-Owner of Europa Art Group), Oletilwe Mogashoa (Senior Business Development Manager at Old Mutual) and Katie Mohamed (Client Service Director at Brandfusion). The ladies attended a series of workshops hosted daily by GEN (Global Entrepreneurship Network) and put their new-found knowledge into action by participating in a final pitch programme on the last day of the bootcamp – developed by the entrepreneurs and their mentors.

“Spending time with like-minded female entrepreneurs, and mentors who are established game-changers, left me feeling inspired in more ways than I expected. There was an immediate sense of sisterhood and genuine support, that was humbling to experience. Without the Female Foundry bootcamp, Gadifele Communications would not have been able to share a room with so many power houses at once, all gathered there to help each one of us propel further. I'm grateful to have been picked to share ideas with such amazing people,” said Neo Monareng, owner of Gadifele Communications.

Photographed by: Lemonsquare Productions

“It has been a very long time since my soul has been so fed. Entrepreneurship can be so lonely and it was the most phenomenal experience to hear that everyone struggles with the same thing,” said Chirene Jelbert, CEO of C Fruit.

“The reason I applied to Female Foundry was because I desperately needed to be part a network of high-powered and authentic women who have already blazed the trail in the global digital space. I knew this environment would allow me to occupy my space in the world of business - and fast-track my success in order to make a positive impact in the world through digital media. I am so excited about the prospects and already feel that my hope from the program will manifest.” - Kholeka Nkombi, Managing Director of Makeda Media.

Photographed by: Lemonsquare Productions

Rhomona Gounden, Managing Director of Rhomona G Marketing, said: “The Female Foundry Programme has given me the opportunity to meet and engage with like-minded women entrepreneurs and the valuable mentoring, networking and knowledge that were imparted is going to set my business at the forefront in tech leadership whilst future-proofing for growth and success... so watch this space!!!”

Photographed by: Lemonsquare Productions

“The fact that we got to work with such extremely knowledgeable mentors was an experience in itself. The amount of time and effort they all put into each person to personalise their advice to each business was extremely impactful. My mentor has given me bite-size and practical advice to get me started after Female Foundry and has already been beneficial to my business and I am looking forward to it growing in the future.” - Keshia Wylie, Director of The Homing Pigeon.

This year’s cohort of female entrepreneurs will join the Female Foundry Alumni, giving them the chance to build a stronger network to lean on during their entrepreneurial journey. South Africa is the third market to launch Female Foundry, which is being rolled out through Dentsu Aegis Network globally. The success in South Africa is accelerating progress towards Dentsu Aegis Network’s global target of supporting 100 female entrepreneurs by 2020.

A huge thank you to the mentors of Female Foundry South Africa 2019 for participating in the programme and sharing your knowledge, networks and expertise with the female entrepreneurs: Koo Govender, Donald Mokgale, Lani Carstens, Bruno Bertrand, Erica Hannath, Su Bhowani, Celia Collins, Nicole Swart, Emma Odendaal, Adelaide McKelvey, Kate Moodley, Yevenia Naidoo, Clare Trafankowska, Jared Pillai and Sheila Afari.

Photographed by: Lemonsquare Productions

Koo Govender, CEO for DAN SA, said: “The launch of Female Foundry in SA was truly inspirational. At DAN, we are extremely passionate about women empowerment and we are truly honoured to have been given the opportunity to assist with enabling and empowering female-led businesses. Meeting 15 incredible entrepreneurs and hearing about their businesses and experiences during Female Foundry bootcamp was an incredibly humbling experience and I truly wish them all the best with their businesses going forward.”

Watch the highlights video here to hear some of the testimonials from the female entrepreneurs and mentors who participated in the programme.

To find out more about Female Foundry, please click here.

Dentsu Aegis NetworkDentsu Aegis Network helps clients build consumer relationships by communicating their products and brands effectively. Our distinctive and innovative range of products and services include marketing and communications strategies through digital creative execution, media planning and buying, mobile applications, SEO, content creation, brand tracking and marketing analytics.
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