TWO FEMALE Wits University students aim to empower and inspire young women through their pilot programme, the Businesswomen’s Association of South Africa’s (Bwasa) Student Chapter Programme, which was launched earlier this year with over 160 members.

Inspire and empower: Boikhutso Mokoto and Itumeleng Makgato commit to empower young women across university spaces.

Boikhutso Mokoto and Itumeleng Makgato, who are both doing their third year in Bachelor of Commerce, identified the gap between the programmes that Bwasa offered and its empowerment structure. From there, they established the student chapter in order to help empower young women from high school throughout university and into the work place.

The organisation devised training programmes, one being a mentorship programme, where students get mentorship from experienced members in similar industries.  There are also panel discussion between stakeholders and students, and a leadership programme designed to help young women who aspire to hold positions in student governance.

Makgato told Wits Vuvuzela that the organisation is trying to empower more women into positions of leadership around campuses.

“We are trying to make sure that first year students coming to university are more prepared. Graduates have more opportunities for employment and they are better prepared for the work place and know how to navigate and set personal goals,” she said.

Makgato said the organisation also empowers entrepreneurs. “We are trying to make sure that entrepreneurs get access to funding, mentors and a market for them to sell and distribute their products and services.”

The 22-year-old said they have an entrepreneurship fund.  “We are going to fund students for any ideas that they have, that are good and are solving the problems that students have and are based on campus.”

Mokoto told Wits Vuvuzela that they are taking the empowerment message and spreading it to the varsity space and to young women. She added that they are currently running a programme called Fast Track to Success.

“It is a work place readiness programme which address the issues of CV write up and cover page skills, interview skills, personal branding for the business space, and how to navigate the business space.”

Mokoto said they are in the process of launching the organisation in six other universities next year.

Third year Information Systems student, Kuhle Siyo told Wits Vuvuzela that she benefited from the panel discussions. “It has been helpful in that aspect to talk to people that are already in that position for when you get there,” Siyo said.

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