EWP Potchefstroom: enabling female entrepreneurs to thrive

Belinda Bantham -- Mon, 05/13/2019 - 15:47

EWP Potchefstroom: enabling female entrepreneurs to thrive

If you reside in Potchefstroom and fancy yourself a “fempreneur”, then you should not let the opportunity of a lifetime pass you by! The North-West University’s (NWU’s) innovative entrepreneurship incubator, the Enterprising Women Programme (EWP), is coming to Potchefstroom.

This year marks the seventh rendition of this impactful programme offered by the NWU’s bhive Enterprise Development Centre (bhive EDC), which has now also found a footing on the campus in Potchefstroom.

The programme, to the value of R25 000, is offered to selected female entrepreneurs at only a commitment deposit of R1 500.  All you have to do is to indicate your interest by contacting the bhive EDC on 016 910 3393 or by sending an e-mail to incubation@nwu.ac.za.

The bhive EDC is an entrepreneurial hub in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences.

More about the EWP

The programme has thus far empowered close to 100 successful female entrepreneurs across Vanderbijlpark/Vereeniging, Sasolburg and Mahikeng. It represents the NWU’s contribution towards the realisation of the National Development Plan (NDP) outcomes by vesting a culture of entrepreneurship among South Africans. The NDP aims to create 11 million jobs by 2030 and entrepreneurship – especially among women – offers a viable and sustainable intervention in terms of job creation.

Through this programme, start-up female entrepreneurs are empowered to not only achieve their business ideals, but also to actively contribute toward the local and national economy.

During the past seven years the programme has seen female entrepreneurs breaking new ground in numerous fields, including app development, catering, construction, fashion design, interior decorating and maintenance management. Others have developed and introduced unique products to cater for various niche markets. Examples include an eco-friendly mobile carwash for big corporates, the upcycling of plastic bags into designer rugs for the tourism industry and, even a taxidermy service tailor-made for the wildlife and hunting industry.

Several of these entrepreneurs are now offering employment to other women in their respective communities and even taking in youngsters as interns, showing and teaching them the power of entrepreneurship.

According to Leonie Greyling, EWP coordinator, the success of the programme lies therein that it provides real-time business support services to women who wish to establish their own businesses. Participants are taken through a comprehensive curriculum to assist them in identifying business ideas and markets, development of a sound business model and finally successfully initiate their start-up venture.

During the process the women do not only become part of a dynamic peer network, but they are also mentored by seasoned entrepreneurs and knowledgeable members of academia. “The programme offers women the opportunity to freely explore their entrepreneurial endeavours while at the same time enjoy the benefits of structured learning through workshops and group-centred learning activities,” explains Leonie.

* The final selection of participating entrepreneurs will be made on 24 June 2019 during an Idea Generation Boot Camp to be hosted at the Faculty of Engineering on the campus in Potchefstroom.