Local news

La Rochelle NPO empowers LGBTIQ+ community

The organisations envision these workshops as a catalyst for economic independence, asset building and leadership development among women and the LGBTIQ+ community in Johannesburg.

Disele May Foundation (DMF) located in La Rochelle in collaboration with the City of Johannesburg social development has launched a series of impactful workshops to empower women and individuals from the LGBTIQ+ community in entrepreneurship and business management.

This initiative seeks to foster economic independence and business awareness among aspiring entrepreneurs across the city regions: Region A, Region D1, Region D2, Region E, and Region G.

Building the business sphere

The workshop accommodated 50 participants and spanned a full day, comprising of eight hours of intensive sessions tailored to address the unique needs and challenges faced by women and members of the LGBTIQ+ community in the business sphere.

The workshop focused on a range of topics including entrepreneurship, financial management and business leadership and management; empowering participants with essential skills in entrepreneurship, financial literacy and effective business management.

Disele May, founder of the Disele May Foundation from Winchester Hills said: “We invited external financial institutions stakeholders such as Gauteng Enterprise Propeller (GEP), Economic Development Department, Small Business Digital Alliance (SBDA) and its subsidiaries SEFA, CEDA, NEF, to share the opportunities they have for the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMME). Various local stakeholders also attended the seminar.

Disele May, founder of Disele May Foundation.

“DMF wants to form and maintain successful relationships with stakeholders as it is important for any business because maintaining positive stakeholder relationships plays a crucial role in achieving better outcomes,” said May.

“At Region D2, the workshop was held at Diepkloof Quaicker Centre, Region E, Alexander workshop was held at the EMS offices. Alex FM invited me for a telephonic interview on their breakfast show The Kickstart, a few days before the seminar to provide an overview of the workshop. This helped me a lot as I was able to find the right audience for the seminar.

“The Region A workshop took place in Ivory Park and in Region G, the workshop was held at Ennerdale. We are left with Region D1 to be held at Zola, Soweto last week of May just before the national election,” she emphasised.

May is also a social entrepreneur and provided a comprehensive overview during the seminar, detailing the collaborative efforts with the City of Johannesburg social development.

Bishop Mogwera of Diepkloof United Apostolic Church.

She articulated the seminar’s focus on empowering women and LGBTQIA+ individuals. Additionally, she covered key topics such as the foundation’s background, and implications of the POPI Act, while sharing her journey.

Her narrative included insights into her entrepreneurial beginnings amid adversity, the challenges faced in her business and the strategies she employed to overcome them.

“The attendance was excellent, which was motivating and uplifting for everyone involved. It reflected the enthusiasm and engagement of the participants,” added May.

Rendani Tshivhase from the DMF team gave a closing statement and word of encouragement to the participant.

Feedback from participants

During the entrepreneurial session, participants were grouped for an exciting activity to stimulate their creativity, critical thinking and pitching skills while exploring entrepreneurial ideas. The participants had to brainstorm entrepreneurial ideas based on their interests, passions or identified market needs.

Participants from the Region A workshop held in Ivory Park.

After the activity and gathering feedback from participants, several main concerns when starting a business and problems in the community were raised.

While the workshops hold significant promise for fostering entrepreneurship and business awareness among women and the LGBTIQ+ community, several challenges may need to be navigated to ensure the success and effectiveness of the initiative.

Help catalyse positivity

“The workshops hold immense potential to bring about positive change and foster inclusive entrepreneurship within our community. As we embark on this journey, we recognise the importance of community engagement, continuous learning and capacity building to sustain the momentum beyond the workshop day,” said May.

Since the workshops she has received more calls from other community members asking her to come and host the business workshop in their areas as they are also interested in starting their own businesses.

“As a community builder, I can’t ignore them. There are various challenges in our townships such as poverty, substance abuse, teenage pregnancy, GBV and crime. One cannot come in and say that their goal is to do this and then get away. You have to be immersed in the community and understand the challenges but also not just to talk about them but to do something about them if the city is not able to reach everybody,” highlighted May.

Partners needed

She added: “This is doable if more partners can come on board, and raise funds as we have limited resources to reach to others.”

Nande Jobodwana.

DMF is calling on businesses or funders to donate money or resources to help them reach their goal.

“Thank you to everyone involved for their commitment and support in making this initiative a success. Together, we strive to create a more equitable and prosperous business landscape, where diversity is celebrated and entrepreneurship flourishes.

“We look forward to the positive outcomes and lasting impacts that will emerge from these workshops, paving the way for a brighter and more inclusive future for all,” concluded May.

If you wish to donate or for more information, contact Disele May Foundation on 064 551 9736 or email diselemayfoundation@gmail.com

Related Articles

Back to top button