Being a South African Women Entrepreneur Network (Sawen) member is a good investment for your business it would seem.
Just ask the Sawen members who believe that R350 a year as a membership fee is nothing compared to the benefits they rake in.
Nomvuyo Treppers says paying the annual fee to Sawen has brought in thousands of rands in business thanks to the assistance of the organisation.
Not bad for a woman who initially joined the organisation to network with other businesswomen because she was feeling lonely. She now runs Tamasha Photography which specialises in corporate and private photo shoots.
“I’ve always had a passion for photography and always took photos of my family and friends as a hobby,” says Treppers.
However, she decided that she wanted to start a photography business and that to do this she would need to invest in professional equipment, so she started charging higher rates.
Treppers says she joined the network in 2008 while she was running an IT business.
“I was introduced to the network by another businesswoman and attended one of their meetings where I signed up,” says Treppers.
She says she joined Sawen because working alone from her office was lonely and she wanted to network and share ideas with other businesswomen. All that was required was for Treppers to complete the application form and pay an annual membership fee of R300 at the time. She says a Sawen membership has now increased to R350 a year.
“I renew my membership every year because I believe that you get more than value for money from Sawen,” says Treppers. In 2011 when she started my photography business, it was Sawen who provided her with the necessary assistance and also helped her to land a big contract which she still has today.
“At the time, Sawen was involved with GrandWest Casino in a partnership where GrandWest was using women entrepreneurs as suppliers,” says Treppers.
She was introduced to the relevant people at GrandWest and still has the contract today.
“I encourage other businesswomen to join Sawen because it will be valuable to your business. I receive regular updates from Sawen via email and we have monthly network sessions,” says Treppers.
Phindile Mkhize, the owner of Zan Zan Decor which specialises in providing furniture, says she too was introduced to a friend and fellow Sawen member seven years ago and has never looked back.
“I decided to be member because it was the only organisation that spoke to me as a small business owner with limited skills and business networking skills,” says Mkhize.
Since joining Sawen she has started exporting her products to various countries in Africa, as Sawen assists members in building up the necessary linkages.
“Our products are on sale in Atlanta (U.S.) at the South African Lifestyle Hub and my sales have increased thanks to the marketing platforms Sawen exposed me to,” says Mkhize.
She says she encourages other business owners to join the organisation because of the support and networking it offers members.
- Visit www.sawen.org.za for more information.