Giving Entreprenuers
Regional Conference
Identifying, recognising and celebrating
top gender-empowered companies.
Regional Conference
Identifying, Recognising and Celebrating
Top Gender-Empowered Companies.
Discover top gender empowered companies here.
The Standard Bank Top Women Conference

16 August 2017

Emperors Palace


Success stories and gender empowerment solutions

There are still various barriers that prevent women from fully participating at the highest levels of business and government. Janine Hicks from the Commission for Gender Equality states that, “In South Africa, women represent just 29% of executive managers, 22% of directors of companies, 9% of chairs of boards and a mere 2.4% of chief executives.Under the employment equity legislation, companies are required to conduct an audit to assess what internal policies can be put in place to lower barriers that women face.”

Top Women proudly brings you the annual Standard Bank Top Women Conference. Every year we succeed in bringing together decision makers and thought leaders who are serious about delivering results for gender empowerment: business experts, academics, government representatives and the most influential captains of industry.Together, this powerful combination of game changers focus their experience, expertise and energy on overcoming the major roadblocks still faced in gender empowerment.

The main conference is accompanied by a series of equally unmissable, regional conferences – dates announced here soon.

Why attend?


Six reasons be there


Be Involved in dynamic discussions to overcome barriers to gender empowerment.


Develop multifaceted partnerships with like-minded companies and business leaders.


Meet and strategize with key players in business who combine gender empowerment with powerful success.


Prepare to come away with renewed commitment to changing and advancing your business!


Engage a broad cross-section of the business community at the highest level and generate new leads.


Deliver your insight and influence towards advancing women in leadership across the economy.

2017 Standard Bank Top Women Conference: day one highlights

South Africa’s Top Women answer the question, “What’s your Next?”


British American Tobacco SA
Anglo Platinum
Standard Bank
Transnet Group
Sizwe Medical Fund
Dormehl Property Group


Dr Mmaki Jantjies, Head of Information Systems, UWC
Faith Mangope, Founder of FTAMedia
Matsietsi Mokholo, DDG, Department of Public Enterprises
Dr Moshibudi Rampedi, DDG, Department of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries
Desiree Ntshingila, Chief Director: Marketing, The DTI



Minister Lindiwe Sisulu

Honourable Minister of the Department of Human Settlements


Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi

Elizabeth Lee Ming

Executive Director Strategy & Digital and Chief Disruption Officer | TBWA\Africa


Judy Dlamini

Executive Chairperson | Mbekani Group


Prof. Glenda Gray

President | South African Medical Research Council


Kate Emmerson

Director | Quick Shift Deva Pty Ltd


Lee Naik

CEO | Transunion Africa


Lohini Moodley

Partner & Leader | Telecommunications, Media & Technology Practice in Africa, McKinsey & Company


Margaret Hirsch

COO & Co-Founder | Hirsch’s


Mymoena Ismail

CEO | National Electronic Media Institute of South Africa


Phuti Mahanyele

CEO | Sigma Capital


Pilisiwe Twala-Tau

CEO | Gauteng Enterprise Propeller


Stella Tembisa Ndabeni-Abrahams

Deputy Minister | Department of Telecommunications & Postal Services


Zeenith Ebrahim

General Manager and CEO | GE South Africa Technologies


Elsie Pule

HR Executive | Eskom


Jamie Whittaker

Global Chief Digital Officer | Barloworld Equipment Group


Jayshree Naidoo

Head of the Standard Bank Incubator | interim CEO of Feenix.Trust.


Jonathan Ayache


Nontokozo Madonsela

Head of Marketing | PBB South Africa | Standard Bank


Tebogo Legodi

SEB Core Executive | Digital Lead at Sanlam


Kate Moodley

Author and Franchise Director | Discovery


Hear it from the Top

The annual Top Women Conference is a gathering of respected business leaders who are passionate about embodying and driving gender empowerment in South Africa. The Conference unveils some of the most successful stories and strategies being  implemented around the empowerment of women, and networks decision makers who are serious about economy-wide progress: empowerment experts, academics, government representatives and CEOs.

The event incorporates breakaway sessions; each with a different focus area. Through engagement with expert panelists, delegates come away with solutions to any gender empowerment issues they may be facing.

Meanwhile, a Fast Track Networking (FTN) session allows delegates to introduce themselves and their business within a set period of time. Everyone has their turn, business cards are exchanged and new business partnerships are initiated.

The highlight of the Conference is undoubtedly the opportunity to hear, first-hand and close-up, from some of the most iconic South African women of our time. In 2016, surprise VIP speaker Thuli Madonsela’s speech received a standing ovation.  

The Standard Bank Top Women regional conferences: Giving Entrepreneurs access to markets

Women are big business

  • Research shows that women in business are better borrowers and financial managers than men.
  • Women are more likely to share their success outwards into their communities, which helps to uplift socioeconomic conditions as a whole.
  • Yet South African women entrepreneurs make up less than 5% of the entrepreneurial population – well below the global average.


Top Women, together with the bank that prioritises support for women pursuing their “next”, is coming to your city to change that.

Taking down the final barrier

For women entrepreneurs, the biggest barrier to success is usually not business intelligence or innovative business models, but simply access to trade or markets – They have products and services but WHERE and HOW do they find opportunities to gain more clients and market share – locally, regionally, nationally and even internationally? Big corporates have recently been mandated through B-BEE and Supplier Development funding to start doing more business with black women owned suppliers. If South Africa’s entrepreneurial women can open up such opportunities their productivity will soar, job creation will increase and their success will ripple outwards into the wider economy.

In a survey we found that 43% of women cited access to markets as a key barrier to entry and 22% of them listed networking on their wish list. We strongly believe that our partnership with Top Women can address these areas identified by woman entrepreneurs.”

Jayshree Naidoo, Head of the Standard Bank Incubator


We’ve heard the call…

The national Standard Bank Top Women Conference takes place in Johannesburg every August – but calls have come in from thousands of women around the country, who want to participate and boost their business prospects. Now, regional Top Women Conferences will travel to four key regions in the coming months, to reach out to entrepreneurial women in Cape Town, P.E, KZN and Limpopo, who can look forward to hearing first-hand from successful Top Women Awards winners.

Attendees will come away with a new game plan for success, based on the personal journeys related by these women leaders – and a clearer idea of where and how to grow their own businesses.

Women advancing together

Central to the regional Conferences will be the 1 – hour Fast Track Networking sessions, in which the entrepreneurial need for networking opportunities will be fully met. Participants will build up new meaningful personal networks, generate business interest or partnerships and gain even more business-building knowledge by sharing challenges, insights and tips with other up-and-coming entrepreneurs. If you’re coming, bring lots of business cards.

Get a taste of what to expect, with video highlights from the recent national conference:
Then make the Standard Bank Regional Conference YOUR NEXT!

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