On the 4th April 2024, the Women Creating Wealth team proudly unveiled its Agricultural Value Chains Programme in collaboration with the University of Johannesburg Centre for Competition, Regulation and Economic Development (CCRED) and with support from the European Union. This programme aims to create an enabling environment for women-owned and operated businesses in agricultural sector to thrive.

In her opening remarks, Ms. Shiphra Chisha, the Director of Programmes at the Graça Machel Trust, echoed the profound sentiment of the Trust’s founder, who has said the advancement of women through entrepreneurship translates not only into individual prosperity, but into the enrichment of entire communities.

“Our founder’s concern has always been, if women lack funds, they lack a voice. Without a voice, women cannot participate in decision-making processes that affect them and their independence. This has a ripple effect to the next generation, affecting our adolescent girls’ access to resources and opportunities. So this is why we as a Trust and African women say ‘this mission is personal to us’. We aim to create a movement of women supporting each other to amplify their voices, create wealth, and generate job opportunities for the youth.” – remarked Ms Chisha.

This new programme aspires to support 155 formal woman-owned businesses operating in the poultry, winery, and citrus sectors to increase access to markets and finance as well as influence the implementation of gender-responsive economic policies in South Africa. Of these, 10% will be led by young women entrepreneurs (between the ages of 19 – 35), 10% by women with disabilities and at least 80% by women of colour.

“When we received the Graça Machel Trust’s application, we were seeking initiatives that would advance the economic advancement and inclusion of women. Additionally, we sought endeavours that would facilitate women’s equal access to financial opportunities. Their proposal met all these criteria, So it was an unequivocal decision to join forces. We look forward to the collaborative success of this new programme” – Ms Musa Gwebani, Programme Officer of the European Union to South Africa.

Beyond the statistics and strategic objectives, the true essence of the event emerged through the testimonials by entrepreneurs’ Ms Phiwo Shabangu from the Women Creating Wealth programme and Ms Sibongile Cele from the Fair4All Project. Their testimonials served as a testament to the resilience and fortitude in the face of adversity by women entrepreneurs in the South African agricultural sector.