During Women’s Month (August), Johnson & Johnson spearheaded the WEConnect International in South Africa Roadshow 2018 in two major cities, Durban and Cape Town.
The event brought together women business owners both within and outside the formal WEConnect International network, as well as corporate member representatives from Johnson & Johnson, Ingersoll Rand, and EY.
WEConnect International in South Africa Advisory Council Chairperson, Jacob Pretorius from Johnson & Johnson, helped to lead the day’s corporate panel. The discussion provided a unique opportunity for corporate members to have a frank, open-ended conversation with potential suppliers on how to do business with corporates, the industries that are most attractive to buyers, various procurement policies, and payment terms. Women business owners in the audience were able to speak directly with the corporate representatives, asking questions and gaining insight on their own business ventures.
Later in the afternoon, the same women business owners were given the opportunity to present their one-minute pitch to all event attendees, including the corporate representatives. WEConnect International certified Women’s Business Enterprises excelled in the exercise, offering numerous examples of how to properly deliver a clear, concise pitch.
To round-up the day, attendees divided themselves into various market sector groups for collaboration discussions. This provided a dynamic space for women business owners to continue to network and strengthen partnerships with both corporates representatives and fellow women-owned businesses.
Inspired by the community that WEConnect International events help facilitate, the South Africa team have also piloted similar, sector-led collaboration groups outside the roadshow. In Durban, sector-led collaboration groups have been created for catering & events management, human resource solutions, IT, and facilities & constructions management. In Cape Town, sector-specific groups include facilities & energy management, IT and manufacturing, and human resource and training solutions. The groups help continue to build the capacity of women business owners to learn from each other and take on “bigger” projects with corporates.
Many attendees left the event with high spirits, noting that the event helped to solidify the feeling of community, global impact, and shared knowledge that makes the WEConnect International network so vital for women business owners and corporations committed to inclusive sourcing.