De Beers Group Trailblazer Accelerator Interview with Shahila Perumalpillai, Head of Equity & Inclusion
The De Beers Group Trailblazer Accelerator cohort recently had an eagerly awaited in-person session at our Johannesburg Hub. This programme is designed to fast-track women-led businesses that make a sustainable positive impact in society and the environment. We are dedicated to supporting ventures that contribute to a greener and more inclusive future.
The gathering was extraordinary, with our cohort gearing up to achieve significant milestones on their entrepreneurial journey. The in-person session at our Johannesburg hub has further ignited their passion and served as a source of inspiration as they strive to reach new heights of success.
We recently had the honor of sitting down with Shahila Perumalpillai, head of Equity & Inclusion at De Beers Group, on the momentous occasion of the official launch of the De Beers Group Trailblazer Accelerator programme, powered by WomHub. This groundbreaking initiative aims to support women-led tech businesses with a focus on sustainability in South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana.
In this exclusive interview, we delve deep into the visionary framework of De Beers Group's “Building Forever” and how it aligns with the goals of the De Beers Group Trailblazer programme. We explore the inspiration behind the partnership between De Beers Group and WomHub, their shared ambition to create a sustainable future, and the unique challenges faced by women entrepreneurs in the technology sector.
Read our captivating interview to gain valuable insights into the dynamic partnership between De Beers Group and WomHub, as we join forces to empower women entrepreneurs in the ever-evolving tech space. Explore how our collaboration is fostering innovation, growth, and success for these trailblazing women.
Q: Can you tell us more about De Beers Group's 'Building Forever' framework and its alignment with the De Beers Group Trailblazer?
A: Building Forever is our commitment to creating a positive and enduring impact on the world. It comprises 12 goals focused on protecting the natural world, partnering for thriving communities, leading ethical practices, and accelerating equal opportunity. The De Beers Group Trailblazer aims to accelerate opportunities for female founders in sustainability, aligned with these goals.
Q: What inspired the partnership between De Beers Group and WomHub for the De Beers Group Trailblazer?
A: The partnership stems from a shared ambition to create a sustainable future and ensure girls and women have access to equal opportunities. The De Beers Group Trailblazer expands our partnership to empower women-led tech businesses with a sustainable environment focus.
Q: What criteria are used to select participants for the De Beers Group Trailblazer?
A: We aim to select participants who can benefit from the programme's offerings. Criteria include identifying as women, being from De Beers producer countries in southern Africa, and having a focus on sustainability. We value diversity in thought and entrepreneurship to tackle the challenges ahead.
Q: How does the De Beers Group Trailblazer support and empower women entrepreneurs in STEM fields?
A: STEM is crucial for creating a sustainable future. The De Beers Group Trailblazer supports women in developing the technology and solutions needed. We provide a platform for women to demonstrate leadership in the sector and increase diversity in STEM.
Q: How does the De Beers Group Trailblazer contribute to ethical practices, thriving communities, protecting the natural world, and equal opportunity?
A: The De Beers Group Trailblazer contributes to our goal of supporting 10,000 women entrepreneurs and helps address sustainability challenges. It aims to foster businesses that support De Beers, colleagues, and communities in achieving sustainability goals. We strive for a diverse pipeline of talent for the green sector.
Q: What impact do you hope to have on women-led tech businesses and the communities they serve through the Trailblazer programme?
A: The De Beers Group Trailblazer aims to have a significant impact on the businesses and entrepreneurs involved, providing them with support and resilience. As these businesses grow, they can have a positive impact on communities, bringing jobs and opportunities.
Q: What sets the De Beers Group Trailblazer apart from other opportunities for women in STEM?
A: The De Beers Group Trailblazer has been built on 17 years of experience working with the engineering sector and entrepreneurs, especially those with impact businesses to develop skills and foster leadership, entrepreneurship and facilitate mentorship and networking. We aim to create a supportive environment and encourage women's leadership in the sector.
Q: How does the programme address the unique challenges faced by women entrepreneurs in the technology sector?
A: Women entrepreneurs face similar challenges in the technology sector, but the De Beers Group Trailblazer provides a platform for women to lead, support each other, and attract more women to the field. We strive for equity, inclusion, and a diversity of thought in sustainability and environmental impact.
Q: What measures are in place to track the long-term impact and success of the De Beers Group Trailblazer?
A: We embrace a learning approach and aim to share our findings with experts in the sector. This allows us to evaluate the challenge, effectiveness of the programme, and identify additional support required to deliver impact.
Q: What are De Beers Group's aspirations for the future of the De Beers Group Trailblazer and women-led tech businesses in Southern Africa?
A: Our vision for the De Beers Group Trailblazer is to stimulate discussion and collaboration, ensuring diversity in shaping and benefiting from the growing STEM sector focused on sustainability. We aim to accelerate representation, create role models, and provide a network for female founders.
The De Beers Group Trailblazer Accelerator stands as a testament to the unwavering commitment of both WomHub and De Beers Group towards creating a sustainable and inclusive future. We are truly inspired by the exceptional cohort of trailblazing entrepreneurs as they prepare to embark on their transformative entrepreneurial journey. Together, we eagerly anticipate witnessing the tech space evolve into a greener, more inclusive space, where innovation and sustainability go hand in hand.