“Transport accounts for 9% of South Africa’s GDP “It is the lifeblood of our economy and is essential for the development of our nation. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is critical to all sectors including agriculture, manufacturing, Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) and pharmaceuticals. Without effective transport, we cannot be competitive in the future,” said Lebo Letsoalo, founder of Sincpoint.
To develop key skills and build this industry, the United Nations (UN) Women’s South Africa Multi-Country Office (SAMCO), in partnership with the National Women Advancement Establishment (NAMA) has launched a new project focused on providing technical business support to women-owned enterprises in the transport sector in South Africa.
The aim of the flagship programme is to stimulate equal opportunities for women entrepreneurs through affirmative procurement, investment and supply chain policies. The project implementation is eight months, with 200 women being selected. It will be implemented in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo, with the aim of expanding this to other provinces over time.
One of the companies to be selected as the implementation arm of this project is a local female black-owned consulting company,
Sincpoint.“We are excited at the opportunities this project offers. It will provide women-owned businesses in the transport sector with much-needed, tailor-made technical support, in addition to coaching and mentorship. The support will focus on strengthening their capacity to sustain their businesses, access new opportunities and grow their businesses,” explained Letsoalo,
Sincpoint will be working closely with local membership-based association The African Women in Supply Chain Association (AWISCA) in the roll-out of the programme to ensure long-term support for the women.AWISCA will be collaborating with a number of industry bodies including universities, training providers, industry associations, organised business, as well as private companies.
“What makes this programme unique and particularly effective is that the mentorship and coaching component will continue beyond the completion of the programme. Although women are currently severely under-represented in transport, more and more women are making their way into this exciting sector,” said Letsoalo.
Through AWSICA, the women will have ongoing access to industry networks and knowledge through coaching circles, site visits, round table discussions, workshops and the many-other opportunities for growth and new business that AWISCA facilitates. Furthermore,the programme will target and equip selected women-owned enterprises that are suppliers or can potentially become suppliers of government and larger companies across the transport value chain.
“Transport is a dynamic, fast-changing and broad sector, ranging from rail and road transport to shipping, aviation, import and export, cargo operations, domestic freight and containerisation, through to comprehensive, integrated door-to-door intermodal transport services. This project will assist in developing a much-needed pipeline of women who have the technical expertise and broader skills to thrive in this industry”, Letsoalo continued. She encouraged transport businesses to support women in the transport industry by making business opportunities available to them.