Globally, women are behind some of the most exciting startups and businesses and South African women are not far behind with success stories such as Annette Muller, founder of FLEXY and DotNxt, IDF Managers’ Polo Leteka Radebe as well as Nicky Newton-King who is leading the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.
This is despite the fact that the latest Global Entrepreneurship Monitor statistics show that only 6.2% of women are in entrepreneurship and only 4% of listed companies on the JSE have female CEOs.
To applaud the strides made by women in all spheres, the country celebrates Women’s Month in August and pays tribute to the thousands of women who marched to the Union Buildings on 9 August 1956.
In 20 captivating quotes from a few inspirational businesswomen, role models and activists SME South Africa pays tribute to women entrepreneurship, leadership and success.
THE COURAGE TO CONQUER FEAR
“I now know that failure in any business journey is not the end. In fact, failure is great, when you own it. It allows you to take accountability and start all over again with new and improved ideas.” – Monalisa Sam, founder of Tungwa Retail Holdings. Top entrepreneur challenges assumptions about women in business
“Nobody talks about entrepreneurship as a survival, but that’s exactly what it is and what nurtures creative thinking. Running that first shop taught me business is not financial science; it’s about trading: buying and selling.” – Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop.
– Tara Fela Durotoye, founder of House of Tara.
“Women have been brought up to believe that it’s more polite to wait to be asked. Women wait to be asked out on a date, they wait to be invited to dance and they wait for someone to ask to marry them. This carries over to the workplace, where women wait to be noticed or to be asked and then they become increasingly frustrated”. – Donna Rachelson, businesswoman, branding and marketing specialist and author. Lessons for female entrepreneurs in new book ‘What women can learn from men in business’
“A woman with a voice is by definition a strong woman. But the search to find that voice can be remarkably difficult.” – Melinda Gates, businesswoman and philanthropist and co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
FEARLESSLY BREAKING DOWN BARRIERS AND THE GLASS CEILING
“There are plenty of sectors that need pioneers to shatter assumptions about women and what we can achieve. If we have more women leaders and pioneers in business sectors that contribute meaningfully to the economy, we can inspire more girls to pursue those fields.” – Monalisa Sam, founder of Tungwa Retail Holdings. Top entrepreneur challenges assumptions about women in business
– Matsi Modise, Managing Director at SiMODiSA. Female entrepreneurship: Is South Africa winning the gender inequality struggle?
“Women in Africa do not need charity to finance the issue. Control of the resources that they create is the issue, and respect in the financial sector is the issue.” – Jennifer Riria, group chief executive of Kenya Women Holding.
“Making the decision to not follow a system, or someone else’s rules has allowed me to really dig into what my own strengths and gifts are without spending time feeling jaded or wasteful.” – Ishita Gupta, founder of Fear.less Magazine.
– Polo Leteka Radebe, investor and founder of IDF Managers. Polo Leteka Radebe on the importance of leading with vision
“Expect the unexpected, and whenever possible, be the unexpected.” – Lynda Barry, author, cartoonist, and illustrator.
“We will only change the status quo when we break the cycle of old capitalism. The next generation of entrepreneurs needs to have a deep and innate focus on people, the environment and the communities we operate in, over profits. However, right now women already have this gene so allow us the space to turn things around. I’m not asking for permission, simply stating fact.” – Antoinette Prophy, founder of Afrofusion Advertising.
GO FORTH AND KICK ASS!
“When going into business – you should view yourself as a business person – people treat you the way you treat yourself. If you come in feeling at a disadvantage – you are already at a disadvantage.” – Phuti Mahanyele, Executive Chairman of Sigma Capital. 11 inspiring women on success, challenges and what it takes to make it
“There is no royal flower-strewn path to success. And if there is, I have not found it, for if I have accomplished anything in life it is because I have been willing to work hard.” – Madam C.J. Walker, America’s first female entrepreneur millionaire.
“So often people are working hard at the wrong thing. Working on the right thing is probably more important than working hard.” – Caterina Fake, Co-founder, Flickr.
– Isabel dos Santos, investor and chairwoman of the board of directors of Sonangol.
“There is nothing like a concrete life plan to weigh you down. Because if you always have one eye on some future goal, you stop paying attention to the job at hand, miss opportunities that might arise, and stay fixedly on one path, even when a better, newer course might have opened up.” – Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo.
“Start something that matters! Until you can identify a problem you are passionate about addressing, you have no business starting a business.” – Katleho Tsoku, CEO of Spark* South Africa. Find out how female role models in entrepreneurship can help close the gender gap