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WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS DOUBLE THEIR POWER: Basali Development Programme helps women build resilient post-pandemic businesses

Standard Bank Enterprise Development’s 12-month Basali Development Programme, launched 4th of November 2021 in partnership with Giving Wings, is successfully equipping 115 black women-owned enterprises build and grow sustainable businesses. 

The word basali means ‘women’ and is of Southern Sotho origin, a name fitting for a programme deliberate about women economic development.  

In the dawn of the Covid-19 Pandemic, many businesses found that they were struggling to survive. In response, Basali was conceived to provide women entrepreneurs with the tools to move their businesses beyond survival – into growth and expansion.  

The Basali Programme’s key objectives are to ensure that the 115 women-owned and operated businesses participating increase annual turnover, create quality job opportunities and improve their compliance in order to qualify for higher levels of financing. 

The Basali programme provides monthly Workshops, as well as quarterly Thought Leadership Masterclasses. All sessions provide an opportunity for participants to share business challenges stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic and, under the guidance of facilitators, receive practical advice on moving beyond the crisis. 

The Workshops, for example, focus on Design Thinking, Business Management, Personal Mastery and Leadership, Business Compliance, Banking, Financial Management, Legal, Digital Marketing and Sales and Business Communication. They also deal with gender inequality, fear of failure, imposter syndrome, lack of self-belief and balancing responsibilities.

The first Thought Leadership Masterclass, hosted by Funeka Montjane, Chief Executive Officer, Consumer & High Net Worth Clients at Standard Bank Group, shared key insights from Funeka’s own inspirational business journey.

Funeka Montjane, Chief Executive Officer, Consumer & High Net Worth Clients at Standard Bank Group

“We have seen incredible appetite for the Programme from a wide diversity of female entrepreneurs looking to take advantage of the expected economic recovery,” says Naledzani Mosomane, Head Enterprise Development at Standard Bank. “The Masterclass was especially popular with women of all ages as it allowed entrepreneurs from all sectors to reflect on their journeys while engaging on themes that inspire and enable them to dream big.”

Despite launching the Basali Programme virtually due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, ongoing power outages meant that beneficiaries affected by loadshedding were unable to access some of the events in real time. Recorded proceedings hosted on the Basali online platform, however, allowed load-shed participants to benefit from proceedings after the event – and all participants to review sessions for further consolidation and learning. Another key advantage of the virtual format is that the high levels of interest in the programme means that future sessions can easily accommodate greater numbers via online participation.  

“In the five months since the inception of the programme, we have witnessed a massive improvement in how participating women entrepreneurs are running their businesses,” says Kefilwe Morobane, Managing Director of Giving Wings. “Most have developed a strongly customer-centric mindset in the way they communicate their value propositions. Moreover, by applying workshop learnings to their own businesses most have also achieved significant revenue growth and improved job creation.

Standard Bank Enterprise Development’s Basali Development Programme has assisted participants enhance business models, applying a much more strategic approach to entrepreneurship. Increased levels of confidence have also improved the quality and success of pitches, secured business opportunities and enhancing motivation and drive. “Our cohort of confident and able businesswomen are also using the programme to network amongst each other, building the relationships to sustain future opportunities for themselves and their value chains,” concludes Morobane.   

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