Former Isidingo actress ‘Nandipha Sithole graces the event
Women entrepreneurs gathered at Masa Square Hotel for this year’s Lioness Lean In that was once again hosted by Stanbic Bank Botswana. The event accorded women in business an opportunity to share inspirational stories and networking opportunities between successful women entrepreneurs and the next generation of women-led startups.
This year’s edition saw a new and welcome twist to the much-anticipated event as two sessions were held, with the first having a greater focus on more seasoned women entrepreneurs and the second comprising of younger, aspiring female entrepreneurs. Both sessions were in the spirit of showcasing entrepreneurship and building strong ties and allowed five young women start-up entrepreneurs from the audience to pitch their businesses and their new products, services or ideas to the audiences.
In this way, the network of female entrepreneurs grew stronger, and sustainably so. This was the highlight of the event and it unearthed some exciting new businesses and products coming into the marketplace.
Stanbic Bank Botswana’s Head of Marketing, Stephanie Stoneham said: “We are honoured to be co-hosting the Lionesses Lean In breakfast session for the third consecutive year. We recognise the tremendous role this platform plays in bringing together women entrepreneurs in our community. As a financial partner, we remain committed to helping these women in their growth journeys.”
The programme got underway with an energetic welcome from Lioness Lean In Ambassador for Southern Africa, Hlubi Mboya-Arnold, who urged attendees to get out of their comfort zones and make room for growth. She told of how before she was ready, her acting career as Nandipha Sithole on popular South African soapie Isidingo came to an end and she was forced to diversify her means of income. “And that is what I want to advocate for today because you need to wear many hats as entrepreneurs,” she said. “It’s been a fantastic back-breaking journey with lots of tears (during which) I have met a lot of influential women of substance along the way. This is what this event is about, especially the networking aspect because your network is your net worth.”
The event also featured local women entrepreneurs from different sectors and at different stages of their entrepreneurial journeys but have a common goal of building businesses and brands. Editor of Afrolutionist, Mmabatho Motsamai, which is a blog that stimulates dialogue on holistic inclusive African development through human rights, shared her inspirational entrepreneurial journey from humble beginnings. The session also featured stories of Cynthia Mothelesi who owns Mmamontle store and Happy Soul Adventures, as well the founder of Maxine Makeup, Maxine Magwape.
The Lioness Lean In events take place in cities across the African continent each week and are designed to bring together women entrepreneurs to share, inspire and connect for accelerated success. In 2018, two new additional elements to the Lioness Lean In programme were introduced – Lionesses CoLab and Lionesses Launch. The first is an initiative aimed at showcasing women entrepreneurs who are collaborating with each other to produce innovative new products and service offerings. The latter is designed to introduce women entrepreneurs who are launching exciting new products in the same month as the Lionesses Lean In event.
This offers great exposure and access to new markets, which is at the core of the Lionesses network to give women entrepreneurs the opportunity to take their businesses to the next level.
Having the fastest growing network of women entrepreneurs across the African continent with almost 700,000 women business builders in its community in 49 African countries and the Diaspora, Lionesses of Africa continues to grow at a rate of 20,000 new users joining every month.