Shilpa Mehta, the newly elected first female president of The Entrepreneurs’ Organisation Durban Chapter (EO).
She takes the reigns at a time when businesses in South Africa are struggling to cope with losses incurred during the Covid-19 lockdown and delays in the gradual re-opening of the ailing South African economy.
The post-Covid-economy is looking to be one where we are extremely focused on rebuilding, growth as well as collaboration. Embracing diversity is a priority and businesses will shift to proactively embrace this.
“The challenges of a Covid recovery and embracing diversity are tough challenges for everyone. Whilst I am a woman, I have had the same challenges as other business owners. Entrepreneurs are carrying the load to ensure their businesses, staff and family are all safe and learn to respect diversity whilst at the same time ensuring you have a business that adapts in the current crisis. Although we will be the ones to make a difference, this places a huge weight on an employer’s shoulders.
What has helped is my EO network and forum and together we have navigated this crisis as best possible, knowing our decision making sound and rational rather than emotional and based on sound business principles rather than fear. We have leaned into the network to share the numerous challenges and also many opportunities which have certainly helped,” says Mehta.
Shilpa Mehta, who is also the owner of electronic manufacturing service provider, Production Logix, chats with us about female entrepreneurs, Covid-19 and gender-based violence in South Africa.
Being surrounded by successful business owners in EO allow women the platform to shine and understand their unlimited potential that their business can grow to, EO removes the gender barrier and forces you to focus on growth and key importance. There are also mentorship programs and the forum experience where you have your own personal ‘board of directors’ who challenge you out of your comfort zone.
In addition to this, we have a group called MyEO women who connect from all over the world once a month on a call and share their experiences, highs and lows with other women. Almost all our women members are part of the MyEO women network and the women really leverage this network and help each other succeed.
EO has recently launched an accelerator program which is a two-year course based on the principle of scaling up your business. It’s a brilliant course and allows you to 10x your business. we launched this last year and was fully subscribed and mostly by women.
The government has created a great platform in BBBEE codes for women to start as entrepreneurs and on the back of this there are various grant and funding opportunities for women. Government can definitely ease the bureaucracy around this. I am already seeing a number of young women walking through trade shows looking for opportunities and it’s exciting to see.
There is so much that we can do!
We have a really exciting year planned ahead and we have outlaid all of this in our strategic plan which focuses on two main themes. Namely keeping our core engaged and leaning into the EO community for bolder and authentic member connections.
There are many action points but some of them are:
My goal is to have EO Durban as the go to organisation for every entrepreneur and cement it as the leading organisation for entrepreneurs to learn and grow personally and business and create a safe environment for entrepreneurs to share their highs and lows.