On May 17th, 2019, Procter & Gamble (P&G), in partnership with WEConnect International, launched the second edition of the P&G Business Development Program in South Africa. This year, over twenty women-owned businesses were selected to attend the five-week training event designed to further develop their capacity as suppliers and, ultimately, help them grow and scale. The program, set in Johannesburg, is in its second edition after a successful pilot cohort in 2017.
The program consists of ten modules (two per week) that are facilitated by senior members of the P&G leadership team. In the spirit of collaboration, P&G has also welcomed external trainers from other corporate members and governments to provide valuable expertise and experience to the curriculum.
The training program provides in-depth guidance on the following topics:
- Understand and Grow your Business
- Understand and Reach your Customer
- Aligning and Executing your Business Strategy
- Strategic Collaboration
- Building your Brand by Leveraging your Technology
- Access to Capital
- Human Resources
- International Legal Concepts
- Leadership Skills Development
The morning kick-off session included introductions from the P&G and WEConnect International in South Africa teams. P&G’s Vice President, South, East & Greater West Africa at P&G Faisal Sabzwari, together with the full leadership team, provided a warm welcome to the women business owners participating in the program.
Shortly after introductions, the participants individually expressed their expectations for the program and then, in true WEConnect International fashion, introduced themselves by delivering a one-minute business pitch.
Module 1, Understand and Grow your Business, was presented by P&G’s Sub-Saharan Africa Marketing Purchase Leader Shereen Wardakan together with Corporate Affairs & Citizenship Leader Jeanne du Plessis. Module 2, Understand and Reach your Customer, was delivered by Sihle Mkhize, Customer Team Leader: Pick n Pay Group at P&G. Sihle shared valuable insight and wisdom (gained from 12 years of experience at P&G) on factors impacting customer relations and how to sway potential clients.
“We are delighted to partner with WEConnect International again in South Africa, we had 120 applicants and were unfortunately only able to select 24 Women business owners for this year”. said Shereen. “We as P&G are committed to the support of this program, our launch day was a great success.”
The day also featured many contributions by some of WEConnect International’s own Certified Women’s Business Enterprises (WBEs). The catering for the first day of training was provided by Mo Ngakane, owner of Mo’s Food and Pastries, who also happens to be a participant in the program. Another WBE, Vimala Ariyan, owner of the Southern African Institute of Learning, gave guidance and advice from lessons learned through her 14-year entrepreneurial journey.
In addition to the training content, the program represents a unique opportunity to foster engagement between the P&G senior management trainers and the women business owners/ This dynamic networking allows participants to share best practices, ideas, and experiences—thereby increasing the total value of the program for both the women business owners and the P&G team.