25 Aug Acting Director’s Foreword: August 2022
Acting Director’s Foreword
By Simphiwe Mntambo
CELEBRATING WOMEN AND BUILDING RESILIENCE THROUGH OUR COMMUNITY
August presents an opportunity to celebrate women as we commemorate Women’s Month, a key period in the national calendar. At the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation (AGOF), more than 56% of our Fellows are women. Through this collective of women, runs the common thread of commitment to solution-driven entrepreneurship education, impactful entrepreneurship, and a deep desire to address the multiple challenges faced by our communities.
The issues facing women globally are even more pronounced in South Africa and indeed the continent at large. But, we choose to focus on the possible solutions to the challenging need for access to reliable and affordable healthcare, income disparities, Gender-Based Violence (which invariably has a direct impact on children and youth as well) and access to business finance. The women in our community are visibly working to address these challenges through their businesses; we celebrate Thato Schermer’s healthcare start-up Zoie Health providing access to affordable and convenient healthcare to women, Tshepang Pooe’s wellness platform Homebody which focuses on providing holistic health and wellbeing coaching to millennials, Thando Gumede’s M-TETO Search Engine that educates and empowers young people on issues related to school-related gender-based violence, Khanya Papu’s Lighthouse Education that works to ensure access to financial education and information, as well as Esethu Cenga’s Rewoven, providing employment to women in Cape Town while also contributing positively to the reduction of the fashion industry’s carbon footprint. There are many more of your endeavours that we hope to learn about, and we encourage you to share your stories and focus on impact with us, not only for profiling and celebrations, but so that we may also provide the required support for your growth in your career or business.
In our last newsletter, I addressed the importance of a community that is inclusive and encourages respectful engagement in the quest to learn and evolve. Strong communities are built not just by the leaders we appoint, but by all members through their discussions, debates and developing interpersonal relationships. Meaningful growth and learning cannot take place without active participation, engagement and critiquing to maintain an environment that nourishes the journey of becoming impactful entrepreneurs.
We call on all Fellows and members of our community to take an active interest in creating safe spaces and supporting the empowerment of women in word and in deed. As members of the ever-expanding AGOF communities, we are responsible for one another, and I encourage Fellows to embrace the larger responsibility of contributing to the building and maintaining of an open and nourishing environment that affords incoming Candidate Fellows (CFs) to learn and grow.
As we move towards Jamboree, themed #InnovaJam, we turn our focus to the spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation and continue to amplify community. This year, we hope to gather and create a space for you to break away from the isolation of the pandemic. We have missed the invaluable opportunity for collaboration with like-minded entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs. As we bring the entire Foundation family together, we encourage cross-programme mentorship and demonstration of your leadership role as Fellows in the Foundation. InnovaJam is the ideal space for collaboration between our Fellows, Candidate Fellows (CFs) and Scholars, and is the ultimate Fellowship experience where participants can meet and engage with one another and build lifelong work, business and life relationships.
We encourage you to take advantage of the power of being part of the Foundation community. We’re thrilled by the overwhelming response from Fellows who will be attending and pitching their ideas at Jamboree, and we look forward to meeting with you all at the Imbizo which will take place after Jamboree.
As we sprint through the second half of the year, I wish you all the clarity of mind to reach your personal and entrepreneurial goals and invite you to continue to engage with the Foundation in various ways we can continue to strengthen our community for the benefit of current and future Fellows.