Chief Executive Officer
Daughter of a shrewd but ethical businessman, Arifa was born in Zanzibar, grew up in the Seychelles, Mauritius, and Mumbai in India. She completed her formal education at the University of Bombay and Mumbai – with a BA in Economics and Politics as well as an LLB in 1985. The same year she acquired her qualifications in Business Management. Later she completed TEFL courses in 4 languages, attained a Diploma Elementaire de la Langue Francaise at Alliance Francaise, and a subsequent Marketing Management course in 2002 from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in Cape Town with additional training in Management Development at University of Stellenbosch in 2006. In 1999 she joined the Department of Economic Affairs and Tourism where she was, inter alia, responsible for the Department’s Business Promotion Desk, an active problem solver (again) getting involved in many activities to promote business in the Western Cape and promoting partnerships with overseas markets with special focus on Italy. In 2012 and 2013 she successfully completed her training as a Facilitator and Assessor, and is now SETA Accredited.
After a short break from work, she took up the position of Marketing Manager at the Cape Chamber in 2001. Arifa’s energy is boundless; she not only facilitated the effective promotion of the Chamber’s membership promotion programme, managed a number of major events that have brought very positive recognition to the organisation, but she also increased the black membership of the organisation significantly. A Chamber that was hitherto accused of being too male and too white no longer has that stigma as most events are attended by a fair mixture of Black and White, male and female members, all networking effectively together. Furthermore, with her knowledge and experience of the past, a sharp knowledge of loss and recovery through hard work, as well as an intrinsic understanding of the struggling entrepreneur – desperate to get a break, seemingly no-hopers have been raised from self-pity to successful players in the market because she took the time to show them the way without being patronising or impatient.
Recently Arifa was given an award by Business Partners in recognition for her efforts and dedication toward the upliftment of SMMEs in the Western Cape. She has twice been nominated for the CEO Magazine’s Award Programme “Most Influential Women in South Africa”, and in 2012 she was the Finalist in the Professional Service Category, as well as the Business Women Association (BWA) Award Programme. Arifa is an active member and executive on the Committee of the South African Institute of International Affairs (Western Province Branch) and Director on the Board of Career Planet. Arifa was elected the 1st President of Mafubo South Africa, an international NGO.
Arifa left the Chamber in April 2012. In May 2012, Amaanah Business Consulting cc welcomed Arifa Parkar as a full partner. Using her vast talent and IP in the world of business and business networks, both locally and internationally, Arifa now specialises in business consulting for both SMMEs, as well as for more established organisations. She specialises in strategic workshops for businesses, helping them to map out timeframes for achieving their organisational and developmental goals. Arifa also specialises in helping communities form co-operatives and gives guidance in the registration, training, and mentoring of successful co-operatives. As a result of her vast knowledge and experience, she has successfully written training materials with a strong focus on networking and marketing and has now added negotiation- and deal-making skills to her training portfolio. In 2015, Arifa saw her media and interviewing talents coming to fruition; she managed to land a full year with Radio 786 with her own programme on ‘The Entrepreneurial Slot’. She is now busy writing a book on her talks since she feels that all the knowledge has to be shared.
In addition to her role as CEO of WECBOF, Arifa also owns and runs Aasha Investment Solutions (Pty) Ltd. Aasha is a full-service agency, focussed on providing business services in the form of HR support, investment advice, and mentoring and training to mainly the SMME sector.