Global and Public Partnerships to meet development goals

Energy and Gender Equality


Divaine Growth Solutions is a female-led organisation with the vision to implement and facilitate the 2030 sustainable development goals. The company’s focus is clean and affordable energy (renewables), Developmental initiatives for female-led SME’s.
Yolanda Mabuto is the Founder of Divaine Growth Solutions, a member of BRICS Energy & Green Economy and a Global Brand Ambassador. She is one of the pioneers in women in energy, economic and social transformation are her favourite topics.

It is no secret that women are under-represented in entrepreneurship, management, senior leadership, and on corporate boards within the energy sector. After serving the sector for more than a decade, Ms Mabuto felt the need for her organisation to contribute in bringing solutions to gender inequalities through driving growth initiatives around gender gaps.

In 2019, we welcomed our first cohort of female enterprise development program themed ‘The Woman Power Boss’ which was deliberately launched at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange to encourage the SMEs to envision their businesses listed at the stock exchange one day. The enterprise program addresses the lack of female founders in the energy sector, while also focusing on ensuring access to finance, market share, technical mentoring, networking, and sustainable partnerships and corporate board exposure. These are crucial in achieving business goals and ensuring that women gain equitable representation in the energy sector. Another big component of the program is the Black Economic Empowerment, which encourages economic inclusiveness for both SME,’s and established organisations. We, therefore, collaborate with organisations that seek to have BBBEE that can be well facilitated to yield good results for both parties. Private-public partnerships has become a popular strategy for organisations to meet their goals and objectives, therefore, Divaine Growth Solutions is creating these enabling interventions and environments for its stakeholders and beneficiaries to achieve their goals, Mabuto explains.

The Woman Power Boss program is a national programme comprises of 13 female SME leaders representing Johannesburg, Cape Town, Pretoria, and Eastern Cape. The vision of the program is to capacitate, grow, scale-up businesses and promote gender equality through women empowerment initiatives. We have collaborated with the Department of Energy for sectorial support in ensuring implementation success as well as monitoring and evaluation of the program. In terms of market access, we have partnered with Africa Utility Week’s annual Power and Energy Expo hosted by International organisation, Spintelligent. They have made it possible for the SMEs to exhibit their businesses and enjoy the entire conference in support of government’s goals of empowering SMEs and gender equality. The year 2020 is even going to be better as the entrepreneurs are looking forward to engage more on the business-to-business discussions with international organisations for possible collaboration. The program aligns with the government’s vision of radically transforming the economy through effective development and increased participation of SMEs and co-operatives in the mainstream economy,” explains Mabuto.

Private-public partnerships have become a popular strategy for organisations to meet their goals and objectives. Divaine Growth Solutions is creating enabling interventions and environments for its stakeholders and beneficiaries.

In some instances, South Africa is ahead of the world in terms of gender equality in the workplace, however that’s not enough. But what more can be done? And what more can women do? According to Mabuto, business success is correlated with risk-taking. Women should start taking risks in applying for leadership positions and challenge the outcomes, if they are unfavourable and if they feel that they have been disadvantaged.

“Organisations should build a culture where it is acceptable to make and learn from mistakes and ensure there is a clear understanding of expectations and their roles and responsibilities. Creating mentorship programs and a conducive environment where women are empowered to speak up and voice their opinion is also helpful in women leadership development. On another note, women should build relationships with risk-taking role models and join networks, inside and outside their organisations; where they will engage in strategic conversations and have robust interactions that will expand horizons.

However, Mabuto has not stopped there, she also indicated that Divaine Growth Solutions recently launched another cross-sectorial global businesswomen initiative at the IDC in Johannesburg. “This will create opportunities for businesswomen to tap into global markets through collaborating with different embassies for empowerment programs and, partnering with global organisations that are keen to invest in Africa. Gender related matters will also be on the agenda of the initiative—this will give men and women the platform to discuss gender-based violence and its economic cost to countries, and in turn, look at what solutions to introduce. Global netwoking across sectors is key in ensuring integration and solving global challenges,” Mabuto adds.

Despite enjoying her growing successful career as a businesswoman and a global brand ambassador, her highlights include multiple awards she has received for the role she plays in women development, some of the recent awards include Women in STEM which she received in August 2019 from an organisation called Womandla.

Driving the success of the female enterprise program is one highlight of my career, having owners of these businesses sharing their business growth testimonies is the greatest feeling of accomplishment. We understand that when businesses are empowered, that serves as an income stream to several households, which contributes positively to the countries’ Gross Domestic Product. This program also allows us to form business co-operatives between the SME’s, which bring product and service diversification to some SME’s. Mabuto continues, “my other highlight is the ability to serve at the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), Energy and Green Economy platform, this gives us as organisation opportunity to advocate for a women-owned organisation and strategical position Divaine Growth Solutions regionally, continentally and internationally.

“The ability to travel to the United Kingdom, London, was another high spot, as it made me understand European business culture and how one should strategically position the business. We are happy to share another international invitation to deliver a speech and represent South Africa at the annual Women in Engineering Conference hosted by a Hungarian organisation, which Divaine Growth Solutions has collaborated with.”

Like any business, there are challenges; what matters is how one deals with them that often sets them apart from the rest. Some companies’ struggles are common while others have unique, sector-driven challenges.

In the case of Divaine Growth Solutions, access to funding is the most common challenge faced by female entrepreneurs, according to Mabuto, but like with everything else, she has a positive outlook on this too. “The finance gap and market penetration are always a challenge for women-owned entities. The energy business is capital intensive, so my greatest challenge has been, and still is, access to finance. “But we always find innovative ideas to keep moving the vision forward. Her mentor always taught her to have 5-10 year clear operational and financial strategy that aligns with the organisational objectives.

The mother of three is looking forward to another successful year. As she looks forward to 2020, Mabuto explains that the organisation will be focusing more on technical projects where they have collaborated with international organisations to bring more solutions to the continent. The solutions include water desalination and purification, smart and connected eco-systems through disruptive innovations, smart lighting management, solar projects, and waste-to-energy projects.

Despite her vast experience and qualifications, Mabuto is looking forward to continuing her studies in Energy Leadership, continued growth and knowledge acquiring are key to her business. “My plans are to grow Divaine Growth Solutions and see it adding value as a global brand. We are establishing our footprint in Africa and slowly positioning outside the continent,” Mabuto concludes. 

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