MTN to offer women R1 million in business support

  • MTN has opened the 2023 edition of the Women in Digital Business Challenge with a goal of giving 10 women business owners R100 000 each.
  • Applications are now open, and the top applicants will be able to pitch to MTN their business ideas in order to compete for the prize.
  • The top 10 will undergo a four-month mentorship programme as well as the cash sponsorship.

As Women’s Month comes to a close, MTN says that its Women in Digital Business Challenge will continue seeking to uplift women entrepreneurs in South Africa. To that end, the telco is looking to sponsor 10 female entrepreneurs in digital businesses with R100 000 each, for a total of R1 million.

The Women in Digital Business Challenge has officially been kicked off on Thursday by MTN’s charity wing, the MTN Foundation, and will run until 31st December 2023. This will be the second edition of the challenge, with the first opening in July 2022.

MTN Foundation says it is now accepting applications for the challenge, which welcomes graduates and alumni of the MTN Foundation business support programme. Entrepreneurs who apply will first be vetted by MTN, and then compete in a pitching competition over two days. A top 10 will be drawn from the standouts of this competition.

Following this, the entrepreneurs enter a four-month mentorship programme in which they receive expert advice on how to grow their businesses and the adoption of marketing strategies. “In addition, they are also given help to ensure that the financial and business management skills they require to run a successful small business are improved,” explains MTN in a press statement sent to Hypertext.

Once the 10 top business owners graduate from these programmes, they will receive R100 000 each to continue developing their digital-focused business.

“The prize money is to be used for working capital, business development, purchasing tangible assets, and investing in business technology hardware, software, or IP”, explains Lesimola Selepe, Senior Manager: Community Programmes at the Foundation. 

“The MTN SA Foundation considers that making a practical contribution to fostering scarce skills and encouraging women to enter the sector is an essential part of making visible and sustained contributions to the communities in which we operate,” Selepe adds.

MTN Foundation says it hopes that the success of the top 10 finalists will inspire other women to start their own businesses, or seek job opportunities in the IT Sector.

Selepe says that the 2022 edition of the challenge showed that women were capable of making significant contributions to closing the gaps in IT education, and were more than ready to compete in the world of IT business.

“We have no doubt that the ten finalists who benefit from the R100 000 injections into their businesses across the nation will continue to build their businesses and assist others to achieve their technical ambitions,” Selepe concludes.

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