dentsu SSA

Dentsu South Africa (SA) has today announced the launch of the second edition of Female Foundry, an initiative to support local female entrepreneurs. Founder applications are open now until 30th June.

Female Foundry Logo

Koo Govender, CEO of Dentsu South Africa said: “Being a majority female led business and after the successful launch of Female Foundry 2019, there was no question that we needed to launch the programme again in our market and enable and empower female entrepreneurs for growth and success.

The economic uncertainty of 2020 and 2021 has been extremely difficult for most and we recognise that many small businesses have had to adapt, pivot and fundamentally review their purpose, business models and value propositions.

Launching Female Foundry 2021 in conjunction with National Women’s Month is perfect timing for us as we walk the talk on seeing more women thrive in business.”

Established to bridge the gap in gender parity - especially in emerging markets – Female Foundry offers experienced training and mentorship to empower and develop the skills of female entrepreneurs.

In 2019, Hear Her Voice Africa was released, the catalyst for Female Foundry’s inception. The research paper took a deep look at how women in emerging markets are leveraging technological advancements to advance their businesses and sheds light on the challenges faced by female entrepreneurs in these markets across sectors.

Initially developed by iProspect Singapore in 2017, the Female Foundry programme has since been launched in India, Mexico, Chile, United States, Canada and Russia. South Africa became the fifth market to launch the Female Foundry programme in 2019 when 15 local female entrepreneurs became the first cohort to graduate from the global, business growth programme. Read here.

Commenting on the 2019 bootcamp, Lelo Ndzimela, Managing Director at Hot Head Media said: “It is such an honour to have been a part of such a great and empowering movement. I took home a lot of lessons from the workshop, which I still apply to my business. The best part of it all, is that I gained a great network of fellow female entrepreneurs that I can tap into”.

Female Foundry is an amazing experience that allows you to look at your business goals proactively and from a different angle with mentors that have your best interest in mind. Gaining business opportunities and friends in the process was a bonus.” Says Maxine Mckelvey-Brown, former 2019 Female Founder and owner of Maximillion Digital.

One of the reasons that I decided to apply for the Female Foundry bootcamp was the opportunity of having a mentor, but I got so much more from the programme than just a mentor. I was now part of a powerful community of female bosses. Being on the programme really shifted my mindset on a lot of things as an entrepreneur and I encourage this year’s bosses to grab this opportunity with both hands and enjoy the journey” said Lungile Zenda, Co-Founder at Zeloi Agency.

At dentsu, we are committed to mentoring entrepreneurs and change makers to empower and accelerate their growth as part of our Social Impact strategy. The launch of the second Female Foundry in South Africa (SA) is a key milestone in dentsu’s journey towards achieving its global target of supporting 500 female founded businesses by 2030.

Applications are open!

In response to COVID-19, the 2021 edition of Female Foundry SA will be delivered as an interactive online bootcamp which ensures the programme is more accessible and enables applications from female entrepreneurs across SA.

Delivered in partnership with the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN), twenty* entrepreneurs will be selected to participate in an 8-week bootcamp, where the entrepreneurs’ businesses will be strengthened and future-proofed for growth and success. In addition, the programme culminates with a mentoring phase during which female entrepreneurs are paired with a mentor to take part in regular mentoring sessions.

Application Criteria

Applicants should:

  • be a Female Founder
  • have a team that works for their business
  • have growth aspirations
  • have a business that is registered in South Africa
  • have founded their business between 1-3 years ago
  • have a business that turns over at least R200K revenue (pre-COVID -19)
  • utilise technology in more than one form to run or amplify their business
  • have access to uninterrupted Wi-Fi / fibre
  • be able and willing to attend all 8 weeks of the bootcamp held once a week from the w/c 2nd August until the 23rd of September 2021

Key Dates

  • Applications Open | 14th June
  • Applications Close | 30th June
  • Virtual Meet & Greet (Mentors & Entrepreneurs) | w/c 2nd August
  • Bootcamp Start | 12th August
  • Bootcamp End | 16th September
  • Frequency | 1 Session per week; 8 weeks
  • Final Pitch Event | 23rd September

During the programme, the cohort will have access to tools, training, connections, and resources, empowering them to thrive in today’s complex digital economy.

If you are a female entrepreneur and interested in participating in this year’s online programme, click here for more information and to apply.