Do you have what it takes to be among the 30 women agripreneurs who will benefit from a sought-after year-long course presented by Corteva Agriscience and the Entrepreneurship Development Academy (EDA) at the Gordon Institute of Business School (GIBS)?
Yes, you read that right, Mzansi. Applications are now accepted for the immersive, tailor-made programme aimed at advancing the interests of women farmers. Now in its second year, the programme ultimately aims to maximise the potential of women in agriculture.
Organisers tell Food For Mzansi that the hybrid course focuses on equipping women agripreneurs with the entrepreneurial, business and leadership skills they need to operate and sustain their farms profitably.
In 2021, during the pilot launch of the initiative, 33 women agripreneurs graduated out of a class of 36. They were the cream of the crop selected from among 500 applicants.
The 2022 programme seeks to support 30 participants through theoretical and experiential training and will facilitate valuable networking opportunities with other farmers and experienced sector role players.
Want to apply?
Women agripreneurs who meet the following criteria are encouraged to apply, ahead of the programme kick-off in June 2022:
- Must be a South African citizen.
- Must be at least 21 years old.
- Must have been in business for at least one year.
- Must work in agriculture and/or related sub-sectors.
- Must employ at least one or more persons.
- Annual revenue must be at least R200 000 (total sales in one year).
- Candidates in Gauteng and surrounding provinces are preferred. The programme delivery will be blended with in-person sessions in Johannesburg at your own cost, although concessions might be made for joining virtually.
- Business must show growth potential.
- At minimum, a matric certificate is needed, but this may be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
- Must have English language proficiency.
- Must have access to a device for online learning and basic computer literacy.
- A commitment fee of R3 500 is required. This is fully refundable upon graduation.
As part of its 2030 sustainability goals, Corteva Agriscience has committed to engaging with and supporting women in agriculture across the globe from the largest farms in the most advanced economies, to the smallest subsistence farms in the developing world.
The company proudly collaborates with local and regional communities through outreach programmes around the world, focusing efforts on empowering women, enabling youth, and engaging communities.
Helping women succeed
“Women play a pivotal role in food security, making up more than 40% of the agricultural labour force in developing countries,” says Betty Kiplagat, head of government affairs and industry affairs for Corteva Agriscience in Africa and the Middle East.
“In fact, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), during the past few decades 55% of the improvement in food security in developing economies was the result of female empowerment programmes.
“Our goal is, therefore, to ensure that these women succeed, by providing access to the tools they need to thrive. We believe that this programme is vital in building a more inclusive sector and food system; positively impacting the lives of these women, their families and their communities.”
Miranda Hosking, managing executive: social education at GIBS adds, “Despite women’s significant representation, it is widely acknowledged that women in the agricultural sector are not equal to their male peers in terms of economic return and employment. Women are less literate than men and they are also paid less in agricultural jobs compared to men.”
Hosking believes transformation of the agriculture sector is critical to ensure that women-owned agribusinesses can thrive and become sustainable, thus enabling them to fully participate in this key economic sector.
“Research shows that women make critical contributions to agricultural and rural economies in developing countries and that women in rural areas are often responsible for managing complex households and deriving their livelihoods from a variety of sources. This means that most women farmers face more challenges than their male counterparts in growing viable agricultural enterprises,” she says.
Applications close on 31 May 2022, with the programme set to start in June 2022. To view the application criteria and complete the online application form, click here.
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