On Saturday 7th November, Lionesses of Africa held its first Young Lioness Lean In event, aimed at inspiring a new generation of young women entrepreneurs of the future in Africa. This highly motivational event was coordinated with the kind support of Standard Bank and was hosted at the inspirational Standard Bank Incubator in Rosebank, Johannesburg in South Africa.
Around 70 young women, who are all currently studying at university or undertaking internship programmes with leading corporates in South Africa, had the opportunity to spend the morning thinking and talking about entrepreneurship. The packed audience of enthusiastic young women heard from established women entrepreneurs, all Lionesses of Africa, and also the leading innovation specialist and inspirational head of the Standard Bank Incubator, Jayshree Naidoo. The focus of the morning was on sharing inspirational stories about the entrepreneurial journeys and experiences of some of South Africa’s leading young women entrepreneurs.
"This is the decade of the African women entrepreneur. At Lionesses of Africa, we are passionate about successful women entrepreneurs from across the African continent sending the elevator down to the next generation of young women who will follow in their footsteps. These are the Young Lionesses of tomorrow"
- Melanie Hawken
The event kickstarted with young entrepreneur, Stephanie Cowper, co-founder of BeSpecular, a remarkable young tech company developing a life-changing app for the visually impaired. She connected with the audience by sharing her incredible entrepreneurial journey to date in starting up her company and taking her app to market. Next up was Lionesses of Africa founder, Melanie Hawken, who inspired the audience by sharing the stories of 12 truly remarkable young women entrepreneurs from across the African continent who are currently taking the world by storm with their companies, brands and social impact work. Brand marketing entrepreneur, Raksha Mahabeer, and co-founder of Summertime, an innovative and fresh South African brand marketing company, took the audience on a great journey through her own story of choosing to become an entrepreneur and building a successful company and brand. Standard Bank Incubator Head, Jayshree Naidoo, captured the hearts of the young women listening as she shared her own personal entrepreneurial journey, and gave an insight into her current work with innovative startups, showcasing the work of the Incubator to support a new generation of exciting entrepreneurs in South Africa. Finally, Penny Mpanza, the truly inspirational CEO of LBOC (Let’s Build Our Country), the organisation supporting the young women attending the event on their higher educational journeys, spoke about her passion for empowering young people in South Africa and her own very personal journey.
The event was brought to a close with a commitment to work with these Young Lionesses on the next stage of their life journeys, giving them a greater insight into the possibilities of becoming entrepreneurs of the future. One of the Young Lionesses attending commented: “Here I was thinking a 9-5 job is okay for me to get by, but today's session really opened my eyes to great opportunities”. Another said: “Can’t wait for the next event, big things are coming.”
For more information on the monthly Lioness Lean In events that will be taking place across the African continent in 2016, check out the website www.lionessesofafrica.com or contact Melanie Hawken, founder of Lionesses of Africa for more details. firstname.lastname@example.org