De Beers and United Nations Women have unveiled a three-year plan to support more than 1,200 female entrepreneurs in Botswana, Namibia and South Africa.
The initiative includes programs to train women in business and management skills, and build their confidence and ability to operate and grow successful small businesses.
“When you support women business owners, you support a community more broadly as women are proven to reinvest more of their income back into the community and to actively support the creation of jobs for others,” De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver said Wednesday. “Through these programs, we hope to help equip women entrepreneurs with the skills, training and confidence to build successful and sustainable businesses.”
The project, which will be tailored specifically for each country, will focus on providing training through local partners to areas with high levels of unemployment, and where formal job opportunities are limited. As part of the initiative, De Beers plans to build access to peer-support networks and provide continued assistance to participants.
Eligibility for the program is open to a wide range of micro-businesses, including retail, hospitality, agriculture, catering, produce, manufacturing and education, the miner said.
The move is part of the diamond producer’s three-year partnership with UN Women —which it began last year — in which it pledged to invest $3 million to advance women and girls in the countries in which it mines, including Botswana, Canada, Namibia and South Africa.
The miner has also awarded eight university scholarships to young women in Canada who are pursuing studies in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). It intends to grant a further 19 scholarships by 2020.
Image: South African woman collecting water. (Shutterstock)