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Extraordinary Women: Ipeleng Mkhari

We are proud to spotlight Ipeleng Mkhari as part of our Extraordinary Women feature. Ipeleng serves as a member of our esteemed Womanomics Africa Advisory Council. We asked Ipeleng her thoughts on women entrepreneurs and advice for women in business in the current economic climate.

Ipeleng is the co-founder and CEO of Motseng Investment Holdings (MIH), a diversified group with investments spanning property development, integrated property and facilities management, infrastructure investment, telecommunications management.

A pioneering entrepreneur she established a CCTV start-up and later co-founded the group in 1998. In 2007, Ipeleng became the national chairperson on Women’s Property Network, during her tenure, she spearheaded the introduction of an inclusive membership base, a mentorship programme and the Education Trust to support marginalised women in the industry.

In November 2012 she was a co-promoter of Delta Property Fund, a leading black managed and substantially black-owned REIT which was listed on the JSE with an asset value of R2bn. In 2019, Motseng and partners Kagiso Trust and SASDC launched a commercial property accelerator, PropreneurX, today it has 13 beneficiaries.

She holds a Bachelor of Social Science degree, has completed the Wits Business School EDP and is an Archbishop Tutu Fellow. Ipeleng serves as an independent non-executive of business and industry association boards. She is passionate about the development of women in business and has served as an ambassador of various women’s organisations. She is a proud recipient of many leadership awards over her 21-year business career.

What role do you/your organisation play in supporting entrepreneurs, especially women entrepreneurs?

Motseng is dedicated to ESD for both female and male-led enterprises. Our procurement policy outlines clear objectives for businesses to adopt. We also launched the ESD accelerator, PropreneurX with the Kagiso Trust and SASDC recently and through a targeted and accelerated programme managed by Yiedi, 24 businesses have already graduated. I am also a UN Women Empowerment Principles member and actively participate in various global and local women organisations such as the Women Presidents Organisation, WE CONNECT, the Women’s Property Network and the BRICS Women Business Alliance.

We often hear about “breaking through the glass ceiling” whenever the topic of women and business come up. What is your take on the challenges women entrepreneurs face and the strides that have been made to alleviate the glass ceiling for women entrepreneurs entirely?

The challenges faced by female entrepreneurs are significant and have been exacerbated by Covid-19. Women have borne the brunt of Covid-related inequality as a direct result of loss of business or work.

The focus on gender mainstreaming in corporate has assisted to elevate the acceleration of women, however, we have regressed in areas of representivity at board and senior management levels (e.g., State of Gender transformation in REIT).

Covid-19 has had a massive impact on all business sectors. Against this backdrop, what do you regard as the next focal point for women in business? What should they be paying attention to and focusing on?

The next focal point is the continued focus on gender mainstreaming; research and knowledge centred data for women in creating effective strategies; and a focus on narrow media reflections of women as a key driver for sustained change.

Finally, what words of encouragement/motivation do you have for emerging female entrepreneurs?

Everything is possible through strong collaboration with women. Own your entrepreneurial spaces through strong knowledge and technology development and make mistakes.

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