About WES

IEEDC Conference Series host the second Woman Entrepreneurship Summit on the 18th to 19th November 2017 at Bridgeways Conference center, Cape Town

IEEDC Conference Series is an independent, not-for-profit company engaged in teaching and learning in service of others, to advance human dignity and social justice for all.

Mainstream economic thinkers consider entrepreneurship as “a gender-neutral” subject and they define an entrepreneur as a rational, self-interested, money-driven, market-oriented individual who has no sex, no gender, no class, no age, no family, no religion or ethnicity and lives outside of any specific historical, social or geographic context.  This proposition for gender neutrality in entrepreneurship fails to understand the barriers and challenges faced by women and therefore limit the participation of women in entrepreneurial activities and contributing to socio-economic development. Such a passive perception of entrepreneurship assumes that entrepreneurs makes decisions unhindered by socioeconomic inequalities, unequal distribution of power and income and relieved of any family obligations or responsibilities. Current thinking focuses mostly and narrowly on market dynamics, financial and management issues while overlooking the fundamental attributes and uniqueness of women. An alternative framework is therefore necessary as the gender gap in entrepreneurship will persist as long as the dominant powers that shape the context of entrepreneurship remain unquestioned and unchallenged.  Change will only occur when entrepreneurship is redefined to advance the potential for social change instead of merely economic growth.

The Women Entrepreneurship Summit is an annual summit which brings together women entrepreneurs, key stakeholders in the financial sector throughout the continent, as well as influential global business leaders and policy makers, to look at how to put women at the center-stage of the African finance and economic development agenda to realize Africa's potential. Particularly, the theme for the Women Entrepreneurship Summit 2017 is Exploring the Hand-in-Hand model of Entrepreneurship: Building the capacity of the African woman entrepreneur. This is an approach based on the philosophy of self-help, providing training, skills, and support to enable poor people, particularly women and community in general, to build and sustain independent, market-based, economic activities.

The conference will comprise of a number of plenary sessions chaired by experts in the field of entrepreneurship and business strategy as well as break-out sessions that will feature presentations and discussions by prominent academics, policy makers, private sector actors, opinion leaders, young African researchers and representatives from the business community.

One of our keynote speakers is Yolanda Shields who has over 20 years of experience as a business leader, facilitating international workforce development and Social Entrepreneurship across the African continent. She is a sought after speaker and trainer in the area of small business and non-profit business strategy, project management, diversity, human capital management, career development, and social entrepreneurship and has travelled extensively throughout the United States, France and Africa.