On the 12th of May 2011, Shalin Finland and HAFF hosted an event to discuss women in business in Africa. The event was dubbed “Women Mean Business”. The idea was to open new perspectives into business thinking and opportunities, raise questions about responsible business thinking and sustainability at different levels of business. The event had over 120 participants from all walks of life.
The panel discussion was chaired by Anne Badan. It lasted for 1 hr and 30 min (17:00 – 18:30). It was followed by wine tasting and special screening of the film Madame Brouette in Andorra.
Background to the discussion:
In a fast changing world we are faced with the urgency to address the growing problem of poverty at all levels, and specifically the burden it places on women. Enterprises driven and targeted at women will play a very significant role in addressing this scourge and generating sustainable wealth into the future.
Poverty manifests itself primarily in energy, food insecurity, water and sanitation and the general status of the environment. These sectors represent a great investment opportunity, that not only offer people livelihoods options but generate sustainable local wealth. However, to tap on this potential, there is a great need to change our attitude, tact, strategy and focus about how we confront these challenges not as problems but as opportunities.
Should development be approached as business as opposed to the traditional view of charity and giving? Are there other models of engagement? What are they?
The ‘Women Mean Business’ event investigated these questions while discussing emerging strategies with potential to promote sustainable business solutions in Africa.
17:00-17:05 Miia Toikka; Shalin Finland, Chair of the Board: Gave some welcoming remarks and highlighted the work being done by SHALIN.
17:05 – 17:15 Anne Badan, Founder of A2B Philanthropy: Introduced the panelists and set the scene.
17:15-17:25 Elina Multanen, Director, Finland National Committee for UN Women gave a presentation on the Millennium Development Goals and Women’s Work as a tool for sustainable development.
17:25-17:35 Anette Skyten, SAFICC (Southern Africa Finland Chamber of Commerce): Gave a view from both ends, asking the question whether it was time for an African Finland Chamber of Commerce.
17:35-17:45 The previously announced speaker Ritva Ohmeroluoma Chair of the Steering Committee, Women’s Bank: was replaced by Ulla Sarasalmi who spoke on means of ascertaining Sustainability when Supporting Women’s Entrepreneurship
17:45-17:55 Eva Kagiri, ECAP: Focused on Women starting up businesses in Africa, their capabilities and challenges.
17:55-18:05 Kent Wilska (PhD Business Development and Management): This final presentation focused on how the gap of Women at the opposite ends of business – can be closed and the kind of issues that are emerging and need serious attention
There was little time for open floor discussion and questions, but people went to the lounge for wine tasting and networking, followed by the special screening of the film Madame Brouette
Film: MADAME BROUETTE / 104 minutes: language: French, subtitles in English