Mrs Rika Venter, the founder of the SACBW, had a vision for the business women of South Africa. She could not see any logic in why the women of South Africa could not succeed in the business world and why they could not have a platform of their own where they could thrive! In those days it was not so easy as there was politics, prejudice, and a feeling of superiority from the businessmen. In 1967 the statistics worldwide showed that 30% of the workers in New York were women and in 1987 it increased to 50%. Women intentionally joined the workforce in those days. Mrs Venter had a few goals for the business women when she founded the organisation:
- The business women must recognise one another, unite, and work together.
- She must not feel guilty and learn to balance her work- & private life.
- She must believe in herself and that she is capable to do anything!
- She must learn to take risks and responsibility.
- She must have her own goals and reach for her dream.
- She must learn to handle the same stress as her men counterpart. If she wants to play in the first league, she must accept all the knocks and bumps.
For Rika, combining art and business was an inborn passion. After leaving college, she opened her own School of Domestic Science and Art at Benoni, Gauteng, with approximately 60 students. She concentrated on dressmaking and wedding dress design, art needlework and artfulness in general. This included painting, cake decorating and icing and acting as a judge at country shows and women’s organisations. She partook in exhibitions at the Rand Easter Show and was awarded numerous gold, silver, and bronze medals for her own work. Rika emphasised that success in the art business was an art of its own. It requires both a flair for doing business and specialised knowledge of art in general. It also calls for a combination of two specific attributes which people normally find difficult to reconcile – the aesthetic and a relentless practical approach to doing business. The fact is that it is possible to combine them effectively as is demonstrated in Rika’s successful career.
Rika published her book “Grondleggers van die Suid-Afrikaanse Kuns” in 2015. She took part in a programme on art on the TV programme Pasella and was a guest speaker on art and investment in art together with Stephan Welz on SABC and had all intentions of continuing to do so in future. Her motto is, “Life is what you make of it, while you can, as much as you can, while you are able to do so!” Mrs Venter celebrated her 69th wedding anniversary and sadly passed away in August 2022 at the age of 88. It is the focus of the SACBW to honour her legacy by uniting women to lead the business evolution!