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  • Writer's pictureNaomi Estment

Building businesses for a better, more sustainable future!

Updated: Jul 18, 2022

WomHub showcases the rise and rise of female founders in the Circular Economy

In a world of finite resources, but seemingly infinite needs, new business models must emerge to keep economic growth on track within a scarcity environment. This is why the concept of the circular economy has gained traction over the last few years. However, a lot still needs to be done about the awareness and opportunity the circular economy provides. This is why WomHub has been excited to partner with the Finnish Embassy in South Africa to design and deliver the WomHub Circular Economy Incubator.

WomHub is a boutique incubator, accelerator and co-working hub for female founders in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Manufacturing) businesses with a key understanding of the global shift towards building a more just, equitable and sustainable world.

The WomHub Circular Economy Incubator is a year-long hybrid programme that kicked off in June 2021, bringing together 25 South African women ecopreneurs with early-stage businesses to advance the circular or green economy mandate.

This group of female founders, who are focused on creating and selling environmentally friendly products and services, have had access to one-on-one mentorship and venture clinics with circular economy subject matter experts.

Funded by the Finnish Embassy in South Africa, the incubator culminated in a Founder Showcase, hosted recently at WomHub’s head office in Johannesburg. This was also the culmination of WomHub’s year-long Economic Growth Accelerator programme.

The highlight of the Showcase was a pitch-off contest, where finalists among the founders pitched their businesses in front of an esteemed panel of judges, for possible investment and access to market opportunities, while showcasing their tenacity in building incredible technology and engineering companies in South Africa.

All 50 founders from WomHub’s Circular Economy Incubator and Economic Growth Accelerator programmes were given the opportunity to engage with WomHub’s Partners, investors and network, with a number of financial commitments made in the room. The exciting, closely contested pitch off was won by Rheineth Modiselle, founder of Bokamoso Recycling, who walked away with the main cash prize.

WomHub’s incubators and accelerators offer female founders holistic support in the form of masterclasses and on-going venture skills, aiming to accelerate the growth of the founders’ companies, unlock their potential and empower them to develop and create job opportunities.

“We are ecosystem builders and understand that there are systemic pipeline challenges to get more women and girls into engineering and tech,” said Naadiya Moosajee, Co-Founder of WomHub. “So we work with thousands of girls from the age of 12 years old, all the way to seasoned entrepreneurs who are growing businesses and growing economies.”

Addressing the founders at the event, Hema Vallabh, Co-founder of WomHub and Five35 Ventures, said “This is a safe space where you get to test, experiment and get feedback. We’re here to help each other, to see these businesses through various different lenses, and that for me is where the magic happens.”

“There are extraordinary organisations like WomHub who understand particular sectors and segments of the market, and who are providing really valuable financial and non-financial support to small businesses.” said Bridget Fury, Interim Head, SA Future Trust. “We’re about partnership, backing ideas, backing people and pushing our trusted partners like WomHub to take on risk and to try new things.”

WomHub plans to run another Founder Showcase in October 2022 as it aims to ignite and build the entire ecosystem and support economic growth and prosperity by investing in women entrepreneurs in STEM businesses across South Africa and around the world.

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