Women’s Development Business (WDB) was established in 1991 by Mrs Zanele Mbeki and a small group of powerful and determined women who wanted to be active participants in the new democratic South Africa.  WDB Founders understood that economic development had to play a critical role in pulling South Africans out of poverty and on the road to democracy.  They further recognized that women’s contribution – as workers and as managers of human welfare is critical to the ability of households, communities and the nations to tackle the crisis of meeting people’s survival and subsistence needs. The vision has always been “to put development resources directly into the hands of South Africa’s ‘unbankable’ women so that they could start their own income-generating activities”.

With seed capital of just R20 000, WDB launched a pilot project in Mpumalanga; providing 50 women with loans of R300 each, which were paid back in full in just three months… and so an incredible journey began.

The emergence of WDB was based on the understanding that the utilisation of loans/savings and support services would result in the creation of new jobs, an increase in the average income, the expansion of existing micro-enterprises and improved quality of life for their families.




“Our mandate is to make investments, but while other companies pay dividends to their investors, the majority of profits made by WDBIH through its investments are repatriated to the WDB Trust, which uses those funds for its developmental programmes”.

– Faith Khanyile.


WDBIH is strategic about adding value. We open networks, add value on investee corporate boards and work closely with management teams to positively influence strategic direction.

We aim to create opportunities for women to be economically empowered and impact their families and communities; our strong track record speaks to this.

We consistently work on facilitating and creating business opportunities and creating access to markets for black women entrepreneurs.


We are boldly courageous and excellence is in our DNA. We have always been and continue to be pioneering game changers, constantly seeking out winning partnerships and working as a team to create a business culture that speaks to accountability, honesty and integrity.

Teamwork and a strong respect for one another provides a solid base, and collaboration fuels our creativity. At the heart of our organisation is the search for innovation and excellence, while always developing and nurturing talent. We consistently work at creating a climate of transparency and humility based on a mutual respect for one another and the knowledge that the work we do has a greater impact on society.