THE Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) this week expressed concern over the lack of financial support for female entrepreneurs and femaleowned businesses.
A recent study by the CGE found that female empowerment programmes were characterised by varying degrees of poor administration and mismanagement. CGE deputy commissioner Dr Nthabiseng Moleko said that this left scores of female entrepreneurs out of opportunities.
“Women are put at the bottom of the spectrum when we look at huge business mergers and multimillion-rand acquisition deals and that is where we need to focus,” Moleko said.
“Most of our retail space is dominated by large-scale private businesses and that has enabled difficulties in access to market for SMMEs.”
Entrepreneur Cassandra Makhubele said it was very difficult for women to receive a small loan of R1 million because of the red tape they experienced when approaching funding institutions.
“We produce our own packaged food and take it to large retailers as a group of women in agriculture, but we are lacking finance to strengthen our technology.”
The commission recently hosted a webinar to discuss challenges experienced by female-owned businesses in accessing financial support. Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition Nombulelo Gina said her department has established a female empowerment fund to support femaleowned and led projects through the National Empowerment Fund.
“We are looking at ways to strengthen the after-care for female beneficiaries who are recipients of our funding; we will couple that with master plans to ensure an inclusive economy,” Gina said.
Border-Kei Chamber of Business chief executive Lizelle Maurice advised female entrepreneurs to be upskilled. “Lack of education is a challenge to many entrepreneurs, many of whom delegate their financial statements to accountants and cannot read their own financial documents,” she said.
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