On 8 April 2016, the WEConnect International in South Africa Annual Conference took place in Johannesburg. The aim of the event was to celebrate women business owners who are reaping the benefits offered by WEConnect International. The event was hosted by platinum sponsor EY and attended by 195 delegates.

A range of local and international speakers participated in presentations and panel discussions at the full-day event. The event was attended by U.S. delegates Ms Elizabeth A. Vazquez, CEO and Co-Founder WEConnect International; Ms Theresa Harrison, Diversity and Inclusiveness, Leader, EY, and Chair of WBENC; Mr Michael K. Robinson, IBM’s Transformation and Operations, Global Procurement, Program Director, Supplier Diversity and Supplier Connection, and Chair of WEConnect International; and Ms Tara Spann, Director, Global Supplier Diversity at Merck. Additional event sponsors included ExxonMobil, Accenture, Intel and Merck. Other corporates and WEConnect International supporters present for the conference included Absa/Barclays, Cummins, Proctor & Gamble and Protea/Marriott Hotels.

Highlights of the programme included the announcement of the winners of the EY-sponsored Perfecting your Pitch competition; personal success stories from Ms Phuti Mahanyele, formerly of Shanduka Group and now Executive Chairwoman, Sigma Capital, and Ms Ego Iwegbu, Founder and CEO, Miss Salon London; and two further panel discussions, Alternative Sources of Funding, moderated by Ms Zeona Jacobs, Director of Marketing and Corporate Affairs at the JSE, and Women and the Rise of Cities, moderated by Dr Geci Karuri Sebina, Executive Manager, Programme at Africities Network.

Strong audience participation and lively networking throughout the day attested to the success of the event, during which participants remained engaged in the exchange of information and leads.