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Business Engage ( is an exciting and inventive organisation at the forefront of strategic thinking on gender mainstreaming in the private sector. The aim of Business Engage is to enable individuals (both men and women) and companies to maximise their growth and profits through its diverse offerings that include thought leadership, research, international collaboration, networking, mentorship, training, entrepreneurship development and support.

It has grown rapidly by bringing together people from all facets of the working world ranging from large-scale global corporate companies, down to up-and-coming entrepreneurs and SMEs.
In addition to our various services, Business Engage has launched two notable initiatives that  complement the Business Engage offering:

30% Club Southern Africa


An international group of Chairmen, CEOs and senior partners of private sector organisations that are committed to bringing more women onto boards because they believe it’s good for the overall effectiveness of the boardroom – and therefore good for business. Focus is also placed on the pipeline development to create sustainable change.

Currently the 30% club is active in the Australia, Canada, Gulf Co-operation Countries, Hong Kong, Kenya, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, Turkey, UK and Southern
Africa and will be launched in Switzerland shortly.
Business Engage has been appointed as custodians for 30% Club Southern Africa and East Africa.  East Africa will be mobilised shortly.

Gender Mainstreaming Awards

The Gender Mainstreaming Awards have been developed by Business Engage to encourage private sector and government to buy-in to achieving more meaningful representation of women in the mainstream of organisations, and to reward companies that have already understood the business case for gender diversity and started their programmes.

Launched in August 2013, the 6th event will be held at Vodaworld Dome on 6 September 2018.

Photos of previous events on


Colleen Larsen

Colleen Larsen - CE


Colleen is one of the leading voices for the sustainable advancement of women in the corporate and entrepreneurial space in South Africa today.

She was the first chairperson of the South African Women Entrepreneurs Network Ltd., an initiative of the Department of Trade & Industry to support women owned SMMEs and was instrumental in the establishment of the SAWEN national strategy, organisation and the constitution.

She is, through Business Engage (, the founder of the Gender Mainstreaming Awards (, currently in its second year. The awards seek to encourage the private sector to buy-in to achieving more meaningful representation of women in the mainstream of business.

In addition she is the President of the 30% Club Southern Africa, a global organisation of chairmen and other senior business leaders publicly committed to achieving 30% women on boards together with the associated pipeline within a default period of five years. The 30% Club includes high profile companies like Anglo American, Old Mutual, Bloomburg, PwC and Goldman Sachs to name but a few. (

She has represented BUSA at Nedlac in negotiating the Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill and was a representative on the steering committee for the International Labour Organisation Programme on Gender.

With regards to the International Labour Organisation, she is one of only eleven ILO cadre in South Africa accredited as an expert in women entrepreneurship development and one of only two private sector representatives accredited by the ILO to carry out internationally researched gender reviews. It being noted that Business Engage has, under Colleen’s guidance and the authority of the ILO, adapted the gender reviews in order that they may be applied specifically in the South African private sector.

Colleen has previously headed 85 Broads Southern Africa – a multi-cultural, multi-generational international network of over 28 000 trailblazing, visionary women and was a founding member of New Faces New Voices – a group established by Mrs Graça Machel to uplift women in the financial services industry & facilitate access to finance for women.

Colleen is a prolific networker, organiser and visionary.


Colleen Larsen: CE
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Cell: +27 84 353 9865





Professor Shirley Zinn


Prof Shirley Zinn is the former Human Resources Director of Standard Bank South Africa and Deputy Global Head of Human Resources for the Standard Bank Group (portfolio included BBBEE and CSI) and has since registered her own company: Shirley Zinn Consulting that provides consulting and advisory services in HR, Transformation, Leadership and Education.

Prior to this she was the Group Executive HR at Nedbank. Before this, she was the General Manager for Human Resources at the South African Revenue Service (SARS).  She is also an Extraordinary Professor at the University of Pretoria’s Department of Human Resource Management and is the Past President of the Institute for People Management South Africa. She started her career as a secondary school teacher of English, then moved to the University of the Western Cape where she lectured in Teacher Education.

After this, she served at Southern Life as Training Manager and then moved to the Department of Public Service and Administration’s: South African Management Development Institute, in Pretoria as Director. She held the position of Executive Employment Equity at Computer Configurations Holdings.  Before her appointment at SARS, she filled the role of Regional Human Resources Director for Middle East and Africa for Reckitt Benckiser, a global company listed on the London Stock Exchange.

She is currently the Chairman of DHL: Global Forwarding SA, and a Non-Executive Director on the Boards of AdvTech, Tuesday Consulting, Business Engage, Sygnia Asset Management, and the Boston Consulting Group SA. She is a Trustee on the Nedbank Eyethu Community Trust, the Orbis Africa Charity, and the Chairman of Starfish Greathearts Foundation.  She also serves on the Advisory Boards of Monash, African Society for Talent Development, and the University of Pretoria’s Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences.

She is the President for the Harvard Alumni Association South Africa and a Fellow of the Institute of Directors SA. Also previously served as the Chair of the Institute of Bankers, and on the Council of TUT.

She is a mentor to several women across multiple industries, particularly financial services. She has presented at numerous national and international conferences as a keynote speaker.

She holds a BA (University of the Western Cape); Higher Diploma in Education (University of the Western Cape); B.Ed Honours (UNISA); M.Ed (University of the Western Cape); Ed.M (Harvard) and Doctorate in Education (Ed.D) (Harvard). She was awarded the Top Woman in Business and Government and Top Executive in Corporate South Topco Media in 2008. She also was recognized by the Black Business Quarterly and received the Award for Top Woman in Business and Government and most Visionary Woman in 2008. She also received an award from the World Human resources Congress in Mumbai in 2007 and 2013 respectively for Excellence in Global HR Leadership. In 2012, was listed in the Top 30 Wonder Women in South Africa by the Wits Business Journal. She also completed her seventh Two Oceans Half Marathon in April 2015.




Malcolm Photo 1

Malcolm Larsen


Malcolm Larsen B.Sc. (Q.S.), F. Inst D. Malcolm is a Quantity Surveyor by profession.



Market Positioning

We already have credibility in the market which has been developed over a number of years from November 2005 and believe we will achieve rapid growth within this sector due to the fact that our business model is a holistic, fully integrated solution on offer. We are fortunate enough to have access to the decision makers in both the public and private sector. Our approach is customer centric, collaborative and is aimed at enhancing the success of those operating and trading within this economic sector. The service offering combines both a theory, practical and hands-on approach with various services and offerings developed to carry out the objectives of the organisation.

Our collaborations span many organisations involved in the development of women, gender mainstreaming, small businesses, enterprise development and supplier diversity programmes.

Ongoing Monitoring and Evaluation

A vigorous Monitoring & Evaluating process plays an important role in training and support activities. Trained entities receive continuous access to mentoring and guidance while actual impact achieved is emphasised. A specific set of monitoring, output and impact indicators continuously evaluate the programmes we are involved in.


Contact Details

Business Engage
Colleen Larsen
Cell: +27 84 353 9865

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About Us

Business Engage is an exciting and inventive South African based organisation at the forefront of strategic thinking on gender mainstreaming in the private sector. The aim of Business Engage is to enable individuals (both men and women) and companies to maximise their growth and profits through its diverse offerings that include networking, mentorship, training, collaboration, entrepreneurship development and support.