Debbie Ncube, owner and founder of Eden All Natural Peanut Butter. Photo: Supplied

CAPE TOWN – As South Africa celebrates Women’s Month, automotive company the Volkswagen Group has announced its partnership with Africa’s biggest all-female business network Lionesses of Africa.

In a statement on Friday, Volkswagen said this partnership with Lionesses of Africa organisation was aimed at developing more than 600 000 female entrepreneurs across 54 African countries.

Lionesses of Africa is a social enterprise organisation that empowers female entrepreneurs by providing free access to development programmes, mentoring programmes, business tools, digital media channels, community platforms and networking events. 

The public benefit corporation is the largest all-female business network in Africa and helps women to achieve their start-up dreams, while empowering them to generate economic prosperity.

A key aspect of Lionesses of Africa’s success is the Volkswagen Lean In Breakfasts, which are a series of monthly networking events hosted nationwide. 

“At every event, inspirational speakers share their own entrepreneurial journeys and offer valuable advice. The start-up journeys of these business women encourage fellow entrepreneurs to persevere through the trials and tribulations of starting a new business,” Volkswagen said in its statement.

The car manufacturer said in this year alone, Volkswagen had hosted six Lean In Breakfasts which had been attended by more than 600 entrepreneurs. 

According to Statistics SA, the unemployment rate in South Africa is more than  27 percent. 

Volkswagen said: “In light of these worrying statistics, Volkswagen came on board in an effort to support Lionesses of Africa’s in delivering impactful results for aspiring women entrepreneurs.”

“Entrepreneurship is crucial for job creation in South Africa and will have a tremendous impact on the country’s as well as Africa’s economic growth. As Volkswagen, we are excited to be part of this project, which not only applauds female entrepreneurs but also supports them in their pursuit of making a positive difference in their lives as well as in South Africa’s economy,” said Martine Biene, head of the Volkswagen Brand.

In celebration of August being Women’s Month, Volkswagen will be showcasing a social media content series with the hopes of widening the business network in South Africa as well as generating further awareness for these businesswomen and their start-ups.

Volkswagen recently announced that it was creating the ultimate city, the ultimate urban playground: T-Cross City. T-Cross City initially lives online, but with enough audience interaction on the microsite, areas will open up week-by-week until it’s eventually built as an actual, real-life city for fans to explore and enjoy for free on 21 and 22 September at Montecasino’s outdoor area.

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