Value and supply chain analysis workshop equips women with business opportunities

Date: Friday, April 7, 2017

As part of UN Women South Africa Multi-Country Office’s (SAMCO) Flagship Initiative on Affirmative Procurement for Women-owned business, forty-five women attended a workshop in Sandton, South Africa, to review the value chain of opportunities in the energy sector.

Speaking at the opening of the workshop, UN Women SAMCO Representative Anne Githuku-Shongwe said, "Through this exercise we will be able to understand exactly where opportunities are so that we can match them with women owned businesses that are working in the energy sector or at least build the capacity of women to take up those opportunities".

Githuku-Shongwe: Addressing women owned business participants at the workshop.  Photo: UN Women/Derick Nyasulu

The South African Government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Programme has attracted significant investment of R194 billion and only 3% of this has gone to women owned businesses in the last four bidding sessions. The workshop, organised by UN Women SAMCO in partnership with Women in Oil and Energy South Africa (WOESA) and the South African Revenue Authority (SARS), is the first in a series on value chain analysis. The workshop series aims to change the low uptake of business opportunities by women owned businesses in the energy sector.

Matshepiso Matchabane, a participant with 20 years’ experience in the energy sector said, “The workshop shed light on the value chain of the energy sectors of wind, solar and liquefied natural gas in relation to where women can participate”. Matchabane explained that women owned businesses are faced with the challenge to access the right information with regards to opportunities within the energy sector.  “There has to be a deliberate strategy to address women’s enterprise development and facilitate the forging of partnerships between already established big companies and smaller emerging companies within the energy sector”.

Nolwazi Serero, a participant from Arise Women Network, said the workshop was proactive, giving women a breakdown of the energy industry which is rather complex, and often not clear to women on how they can participate. “Often women think the energy sector is only for the big players and there is no space for them or it’s cumbersome”. She appealed for more education for women on the technical aspects of the energy industry so that women can build their capacity and develop confidence. 

Part of the workshop participants, women owned business entrepreneurs in Sandton.  Photo: UN Women/Derick Nyasulu

WOESA Coordinator, Zoezoe Radebe said, “Renewables are still very new in the country and it is important that we share information in terms of how to access the opportunities, unpack the value chain for women to understand how the sector works, what opportunities are available in the value chain, and ultimately for women to be able to spot those opportunities that are aligned with the goods and services that they provide.”