Women make up 51% of the South African population, but they’re relatively under-represented in positions of authority and power, particularly in the private sector, according to Statistics South Africa.
In contrast, more than 80% of the Flow Communications management team are women – and the two top women in the business have not only been lauded locally, but are also increasingly making waves globally.
The latest accolade? CEO Tara Turkington and managing director Tiffany Turkington-Palmer will be receiving a prestigious joint award from the International Women’s Entrepreneurial Challenge (IWEC) Foundation in the United States later this year.
A non-profit organisation based in New York, IWEC is a global initiative providing networking, educational and mentoring opportunities for successful women business owners, helping them gain and expand access to international markets, to boost knowledge exchange, new ventures and social interaction.
Tara and Tiffany will receive their award at the 2017 IWEC Conference, which will also mark the organisation’s 10th anniversary, at the Microsoft corporate headquarters in Seattle in November.
They will join three other South African award winners, all running multimillion-rand businesses. Another local winner will receive a mentorship programme to help accelerate growth in her business. All the women were nominated by the Cape Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
A thrilled Tara says, “We’re delighted, particularly because Flow Communications is a relatively young company, only having been established in 2005. In the past 12 years, we have grown Flow, along with our chairman, Bheki Shongwe, and our amazing staff, into a leader in the South African communications and digital spaces ...
“Winning this award is clear confirmation that Flow is a firm that can – and certainly will in the not-too-distant future – compete successfully in the international arena,” she adds, noting that the award goes a long way to growing Flow’s business networks, bolstering the company’s expansion prospects and “putting us on the global map”.
Tiffany notes that the award is “a big thumbs-up” for Flow’s business and the way it does business. “In our interviews with the judges they remarked on our infectious optimism and sincerity ... We love that we have created so many jobs and that it is a place for people to do great work.”
Flow already has a number of offshore clients, such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Tiffany says it is seeking out new business in more countries, and has specifically identified the US and Africa as strategic areas for next-level growth.
“The digital conversations that our clients are having with their customers are not geographically restricted, and we are not restricted in our conversations with our clients in the same way.”
Janine Myburgh, president of the Cape Chamber of Commerce & Industry and an IWEC board member, has paid tribute to the South African winners.
“In the past, the IWEC conferences have proved to be stimulating and have encouraged the winners to take on fresh challenges, and the Chamber is proud of the role it has played in bringing South African women into the international limelight.”
The theme of the November conference will be “Connecting Women Businesses Globally: Accelerating Growth through Innovation & Technology”.