With the focus of the market on expected startup influence and projected growth in numbers of startup operations, there is now a concerted effort to help build the profile of women in the workplace.
Martina Laurie, a Chartered Accountant by profession, is the CEO of mobile massage and wellness services specialist company Hands On Treatment and an example of how one woman decided on a complete change in career and grew a successful commercial enterprise within an entirely different sector.
The Company provides on-site neck and shoulder chair massage service to the corporate sector, covering specialised labour-intensive areas such as call centres, events and exhibitions, amongst others.
It has been a Proudly South African member since 2003 and in 2007 received the Proudly South African best SMME Service award.
In April 2014, Laurie won the Women-Owned Enterprise Award at the 2nd Annual South African Premier Business Awards.
This was in recognition for her achievement and proven success in establishing a fully fledged business and also for the impact she has had via her skills development and training programme, primarily aimed at young women.
Hands On Treatment’s established in-house training programme has been running for ten years. It also has a partnership in place with the Services SETA (Sector Education and Training Authority). According to the terms of the partnership the Authority pays a portion of their salary per intern and Hands on Treatment takes in four candidates as trainee therapists per six-month period.
Applicants are predominantly urban women living in informal settlements located within a 20km radius of Craighall, Johannesburg, as well as city centre and Braamfontein.
To date the Company has assisted over 500 women with skills acquisition and employment over a 12 year period. Their employment strategy is focused on the youth and most of the therapists employed are under the age of 35.
“We can say with confidence that there are measures in place and hard work being done to address the need for greater levels of female representation across key sectors,” says Laurie. “Our job is to facilitate skills development to further enhance the process of empowerment.”