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1. Background

On the 31 August 2015, the Water Research Commission (WRC) hosted Women in Water Conference on behalf of the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) to celebrate Women’s Month and announce the Women Empowerment Program (WEP).

The Program is made of three projects:

  • Women in Water Entrepreneurship Incubator Project;
  • Mentorship Project;
  • Women In Water Forum.

The programme's objective is to identify and address the key gaps between the current and expected future scenario for the participation of women owned businesses in the water sector.

South Africa like many under-developed and developing countries is faced with challenges of unemployment rate, growing levels of poverty and inequalities. These challenges have raised debates on how economic growth can be achieved where women and youth are also beneficiaries.

A total of 90 entrepreneurs will participate and be assisted in this programme, 60 of them being women owned companies and a total of 30 was set aside for young and disabled entrepreneurs, making a total of 90 participating entrepreneurs for this programme.

This programme is aimed at facilitating a safe and supportive environment where new entrepreneurs especially from previously disadvantaged groups are able to start-up and sustain their businesses and access available opportunities in the water and sanitation sector.

A total of 200 potential participants were obtained from a list from the department and also the list of people who attended the 2015 CSIR conference.

2. Process of evaluation

A process for evaluation was defined which was then used to ensure final shortlisting. To allow this procurement forms were sent to the potential participants covering the following areas:

2.1 Compliance

This first area dealt with compliance verification and amongst those elements verified the following were important:

  • Woman ownership and percentage owned.
  • Company registration documents and ID documents.
  • Shareholder certificates.
  • BBBEE and Tax clearance.
  • Registration with professional / statutory bodies (CIDB, NHBRC, ECSA etc).
  • Proof of business address.

2.2. Experience and capacity to deliver:

  • Importance to evaluate the entry level of the participants;
  • The experience of the company in general and value of projects done;
  • The experience of the company in the water sector and value of projects done;
  • Infrastructure the company has;
  • Company turnover and financials;
  • CIBD level; and
  • CV’s for key staff members.

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