Business Connexion champions women leaders


Business Connexion’s team prides itself by making the impossible possible through technology. This year they have achieved a top accolade by being crowned the leader in the Gender Mainstreaming Awards.

 bcx_award_vanessa_olver_main Vanessa Olver, deputy chief executive officer at Business Connexion Group said winning the overall Gender Mainstreaming Award means that they are the right track in supporting the country’s objective around more meaningful representation in business. (Image: Business Connexion)

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Melissa Javan

They employ more than 6800 people on the African continent, generating an annual revenue in excess of R6 billion. Now, company started by the twin brothers Isaac and Benjamin Mophatlane are also leaders in this year’s Gender Mainstreaming Awards.

It’s the third year that the PwC, an initiative of Business Engage is hosting the Gender Mainstreaming Awards. According to the online magazine COVER, the awards programme aims to encourage the private sector to buy into achieving more meaningful gender representation in mainstream business, giving public recognition for good practice and excellence in tacking gender mainstreaming.

Mophatlane’s company, Business Connexion (BCX) won the overall award, because the company runs various initiatives to ensure a diverse and empowered workforce.

Isaac Mophatlane, chief executive officer, said this award is a testament to the great strides they have made on their journey to transformation and in empowering the women within the organisation, despite the fact that they’re working in an industry which remains very male dominated.

“The company runs various initiatives to ensure a diverse and empowered workforce through focused recruitment, leadership training as well as specific initiatives under Woman Connect programme,” he said.

Business Connexion is a company that has capabilities in content, printing, telecommunications and information technology.

It is a services provider with offices in South Africa, Namibia, Nigeria, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia, Kenya, Botswana, the United Kingdom and Dubai.

The initiatives of Business Connexion include the following:

  • Woman Connect Forum: This programme is aimed at connecting, empowering, inspiring, mentoring and celebrating all women with the Business Connexion Group.
  • Preferential Procurement: The BCX Enterprise and Development Strategy seeks to promote the inclusion of women into the economic mainstream. To this end, in 2014 goods and services procured from Black women owned entities amounted to a whopping R80 million.
  • Internship Programme: The internship programme which takes in over 100 interns a year for an eight month period has a very strong gender focus, with 60 – 70% interns’ intake being female.

 bcx_isaac_mophatlane_article Isaac Mophatlane, CEO of Business Connexion, started the company with his twin brother, Benjamin in 1996. Unfortunately Benjamin died last year. (Image: Business Connexion)

BCX also prides itself in being one of seven organisations in South Africa to harness women in leadership. According to News24, the Women in Leadership Census 2015, only seven organisations met the criteria of being a top company. The seven organisations made the honours roll for a second consecutive year include the JSE, Standard Bank, Adaptit Holdings, Business Connexion, Merafe Resources, the SABC and Transnet.

Companies in the top table come from across sectors, both private and public. The spectrum includes financials, IT, mining and a range of public sector departments and agencies.

This Census which is done by Businesswomen’s Association of SA annually, measured 293 organisations and only 34 met the criteria of being a top company.

Vanessa Olver deputy chief executive officer at Business Connexion Group said that being crowned the champion in the Gender Mainstreaming Awards, is a proud moment for her and the team. “Being recognised for the work we are doing in empowering women, setting the example in the ICT sector, means that we are the right track in supporting the country’s objective around more meaningful representation in business.

“Empowerment is an important part of our corporate DNA and we will continue to drive this as key strategic objective for our organisation,” Olver concluded.

 bcx_award_work_article One of the initiatives that Business Connexion prides itself taking in more than a 100 interns a year with 60 – 70% of them being female. (Image: Media Club South Africa)

Olver said they owe their success to having a clear vision and taking the necessary risks to achieve that vision.

“Our success has also been the right leadership and leadership style that focuses on empowerment and growth, not just for the company but of every individual in the company being a valued resource,” she said.

“Finally it’s about balance of working incredibly hard but making sure that your personal values, aspirations and health are also realised. It’s also about gratitude and paying it forward for the good of our society.”

When she was asked what their company’s mantra is, she said: “Our mission is ‘enriching communities by making the impossible possible through technology.'”

The other winners of the awards for the different categories are:

Diversity and Transformation Award: Dell;

Equal Representation and Participation Award: Umsinsi Health Care;

Investing in Young Women Award: Manpower SA;

Women Empowerment in the Community Award: Positive Cycle;

Women in the Workplace Award (small and medium size organisations): Vuma Reputation Management;

Women in the Workplace Award (Large and JSE listed organisations): First National Bank;

Economic Empowerment Award: Distell;

Gender and Disability Award: First National Bank;

Women on Boards Award: Business Connexion Group;

Special Mention for outstanding achievement: Umsinsi Health Care;

Gender Mainstreaming Champion 2015: Business Connexion Group;

Some of the finalists included Anglo American Platinum, Bophelong Construction, Accenture, and Barclays.