August brings with it a sense of South African womanly pride and, due celebration of women in South Africa thanks to the 20 000 noble ladies who bravely marched to the Union Buildings in 1956 in representation of countless, voiceless other women. Through their grit and tenacity, these women succeeded in their mission to counter the proposed amendments to the Urban Areas Act. Enter August 2020, where the narrative has significantly changed but, misleadingly remains much the same particularly, where inclusion in business is concerned. Two local women, who’ve further pondered the word ‘inclusive’ since launching their own chain of beauty businesses four years ago have since, made notable strides in redefining what inclusion actually looks like versus, what it has been dressed up as, to date. The journey has been arduous though, the work remains plentiful. The latest development to come from the visionary ladies at AMAZI is their Virtual Knowledge Hub, which launched today, 27 August via a virtual launch event.
This online knowledge hub is a unique learning platform tailored to suit the needs of South African women keen to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams. Created by Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of AMAZI Divya Vasant and, co-creator and Chief Operations Officer (COO), Lisa Mgcotyelwa, knowledge contained within the Hub was created intentionally for women of colour and will impart business knowledge and skills to these women. The platform will also encourage self-belief in a population of women often unknowingly made to feel potentially doubtful about their own self-worth and abilities when it comes to owning a seat around a boardroom table or creating a table of their own.
While the Virtual Knowledge Hub is not bound to a certain industry, its founders have built it on the foundations of their first few AMAZI businesses and experience acquired in the beauty industry. And while the beauty industry may outwardly seem unassuming, it has largely escaped the call for inclusivity in its practice and ownership. The exclusion of women of colour in its marketing, its story-telling and its value chain has left the limited narrative of what beauty presently remains, unchallenged.
“We have struggled with the hindrances women of colour face trying to build businesses in an economy that has not changed its infrastructure to advocate for our inclusion. We know the insights from this journey are important and we have used our collective learnings to tailor an offering which we hope women of colour in particular will find relatable, impactful and supportive. True to our purpose to create spaces where women thrive, we’re business creators who believe that it’s our responsibility to equally be activists that support the birth of more women-owned enterprises, effectively pulling up other women. A seat at somebody else’s’ table is no longer enough. We are here to build our own table!” says Vasant.
“We are intentional about creating and sharing knowledge with women of colour who aspire to be more and want to invest in their growth. We have built the platform leveraging off our own unique experiences to inform the content and knowledge imparted through the Virtual Knowledge Hub, so that the content offering proves relatable and practical. While we impart actual skills required to lead in business, we also offer insightful takes on personal introspection which helps build confidence in the woman that is necessary for leadership in business,” says Mgcotyelwa. “A learning created by women of colour for women of colour, if you will,” she says. Take for example the ‘Leading Yourself Authentically’ module which, allows for in-depth introspection. Many women of colour inherit limiting self-beliefs from culture, community & society at large which are carried into adulthood as burdens that weigh down potential. As a result, living and leading authentically requires re-writing those narratives into stories of self-worth that liberate women to know themselves, be themselves and champion themselves. The women at AMAZI designed this particular course to do just that – get the woman in question to ponder her current standing in life, and dig deep within, to draw out her dreams and talents and turn them into a reality. Or the ‘Awakening to your Why’ module which leaves the learner feeling bold and inspired to uncover their purpose.
Women keen on signing up for a course can do so at https://amazi.talentlms.com. The platform features courses that are easy to navigate and quick to complete as an added bonus and range between R450 and R850 per module, because AMAZI believes knowledge should be accessible. “Together, we seek to create an army of women adamant to succeed in business. We are intentional about bringing radical change to the way business is defined, understood and practiced so that we create opportunities for women of colour through community. Through the Virtual Knowledge Hub and our business as a whole, we will build and mobilise a community of women of colour who invest in each other,” says Vasant.
AMAZI is a group of companies with the purpose to innovate opportunities, platforms and models that champion the economic inclusion of women. The Group began that journey by launching a holistic skills development and employment creation programme that trained young, unemployed women to become beauty professionals and introduced them to the world of work through a 12 month learnership at our AMAZI stores. As COVID reshapes the format of how earning opportunities will be created, AMAZI is evolving its model to become an incubator supporting women to become self-sufficient. Visit www.amazibeauty.co.za for more information.