Ricochet News

PE-based Tradelane represents South Africa in Italy

Feb 2, 2018
PE-based Tradelane represents South Africa in Italy

The only South African to represent the country, Tradelane Operational Director, Lusanele Mahlutshana, recently returned from a trip to Italy where she gained international expertise on decent work and women enterprise development.

Mahlutshana, a dynamic forerunner in the development of youth and women empowerment through emerging entrepreneurs globally, spent three weeks in Italy – initially as a selected participant of a rural development conference hosted by the International Training Centre (ITC) of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), and unexpectedly staying on for another week as a participant of the Women’s Entrepreneurship Development conference, also hosted by ILO.

“It is a topic I feel very passionate about, so I requested to stay on following the rural academy training to attend the women’s conference that dealt with all the different aspects – from law to money - that affect women enterprises,” Mahlutshana said.

She was one of around 90 delegates selected from countries across the globe, including Africa, Asia, South America and Europe, who participated in “The promotion of Decent Work in the Rural Economy” conference from 27 November to 8 December in Italy. The delegates represented different stakeholders ranging from government organisations, the business sector and organised labour.

Mahlutshana is a facilitator, qualified assessor, moderator, community development specialist and a business partner at Tradelane, a leading leadership and enterprise development agency.

Tradelane, head-officed in Nelson Mandela Bay, has branches in Cape Town and Pretoria and offers enterprise and socio-economic development solutions for public and private ventures through the development of human resources, mentoring and critical partnership building. 

Mahlutshana, who is based in Pretoria, is originally from Nelson Mandela Bay and travels extensively across the country for Tradelane.

“Although it is a trend worldwide that the ownership model for small scale entrepreneurial ventures are mostly women-based, there is not enough depth in terms of the industries these enterprises represent. It is mostly retail, which shows that stereotypes still exist worldwide. Very few women enterprises are represented in major innovative sectors, such as technology, for instance,” said Mahlutshana.

Looking at gender equality through the frame of decent work in entrepreneurship, one of the success stories of projects initiated by the ILO was in Zimbabwe, where they embarked on educating men on what gender equality is, to dismantle misconceptions and to enable the men to support women more in their endeavours to build their enterprises.

While South Africa had excellent policies in place to encourage women and youth entrepreneurs, Mahlutshana says there are still many barriers to industries and sectors, which need to be overcome.

“Women, especially, need to be encouraged to enter any field they choose to, and it starts by giving young girls the right academic and social education. They must be afforded the option to access industries which were traditionally seen as male-dominated and encouraged to do so.”

“In terms of government policy, women have great opportunities offered to them but the amount of red tape in getting funding often leaves a lot of women discouraged. There are also barriers women face daily such as getting the right/relevant experience, gaining respect from male colleagues and being seen as equals in their industries,” Mahlutshana said.

Conscious, deliberate investment in women will not happen overnight, but it can be done if the right measures are put in place and all the role players come together, Mahlutshana concluded. 

Image: LOCAL EXPERT:Tradelane Operational Director Lusanele Mahlutshana gained international experience during a recent trip to Italy.