Cape Town’s powerful women

Here in our aptly-named Mother City, we are justifiably proud of our powerful women, both those in the public eye and those who make a difference behind the scenes. Not only do we boast a female regional Premier in the form of Helen Zille but we are also fortunate to have a woman in the mayoral hot-seat, Alderman Patricia de Lille.

Both women have been voted the World’s Best Mayor: Helen, in her former role as Cape Town Mayor in 2008 and Patricia in 2013. How’s that for women power?

Business-women lead as role models

You only have to look at the recent “Women’s Leadership Conference”, held here in the City, to realise how women, many of them born and bred in Cape Town, have influenced various industry sectors in South Africa. And almost without exception, Cape Town’s powerful women continue to give something back to the community through their involvement in various empowerment programmes and charitable projects.

From retail to property to the arts

Some of the key speakers at the recent conference included one of the most beloved doyennes of Cape Town, Wendy Ackerman, director of Pick ’n Pay. She’s also a Trustee of the Ackerman Family Educational Trust Fund, which assists students from all over the country with bursaries for tertiary education.

Other speakers included Marlene Le Roux, CEO, Artscape, the woman responsible for bringing Capetonians to the theatre and also bringing the theatre to the people by taking fully-fledged productions to rural areas and communities.

Also addressing the symposium was Gugulethu-born Amanda Z Cuba who, together with her sister, Yolanda, founded property group, Z Capital, which in 2015 concluded the 45% BEE deal with RE/MAX Southern Africa where she now serves as Chief Operating Officer.

An inspiration to young women

Role models such as these women inspire the up-and-coming generation of female fire-brands to punch their way through the proverbial glass ceiling, not just in the corporate market but also in the private sector. We are encouraged to note that in a country where women slightly out-number men, business-women are running approximately one third of our existing small to medium enterprises. They are also shaking up traditionally male sectors such as engineering and construction.

The new way of doing business – lean and mean

We are lucky to live in a city that offers many helping hands to women in business. Where women once shied away from setting up their own companies, mostly due to the costs involved, the entrepreneurs of today are taking advantage of current trends that keep their operations lean and mean. No longer do they have to rent or buy elaborate office space or employ legions of staff. Nowadays, they can run a professional outfit by working from a business centre using just one desk and a laptop. When they need to expand they can rent a few more desks; when they need to hold meetings, they can rent a meeting-room by the hour. Many of these business hubs are situated in prime locations that are sure to impress clients. Running your own venture has never been easier or more cost-effective. (The Bureaux Ocean Suites. The Point Mall.)

Funding is available

Further assistance, in the form of financial backing or mentorship, is also available to business women in Cape Town. The Business Women’s Association of South Africa, which has a branch here in the city, runs a mentorship programme called FastTrack2Success for the under-30s. The South African Women Entrepreneurs’ Network, which also has a provincial branch in Cape Town, is a DTI project that is committed to the promotion and advancement of women entrepreneurs. Many large companies, including banks, have their head offices in the city and are willing to sponsor appropriate business ventures.

Be Inspired

Young women in Cape Town should be inspired by their female counterparts who are setting trends and leading the way in business. If you would like to find out more or explore your ideas with other like-minded companies, contact The Point Mall Business Centre for further information and inspiration.

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