The first of this year’s inspirational monthly Lioness Lean In Breakfast events has just taken place in Johannesburg, South Africa, powered by Standard Bank and hosted at their inspirational SB Incubator in Rosebank. The event was a huge hit with a capacity audience of 65 women entrepreneurs who came from across the country to listen to successful women business brand builders share their stories, to inspire one another, and to network and connect for business success.
The Lionesses of Africa monthly Lioness Lean In Breakfast events are aimed at bringing together inspirational African women entrepreneurs to share, inspire and connect with the next generation of great women-led startups. The events are based on a successful breakfast networking and speaker presentation format that is highly popular with women entrepreneurs in Africa. The format of each Lioness Lean In is a two-and-a-half hour event, commencing with breakfast and networking, followed by inspirational guest speakers sharing their own entrepreneurial journeys and experiences; a presentation on inspirational Lioness Artisan entrepreneurs from across the continent; a guest artisan entrepreneur speaker sharing their story and presenting their unique handcrafted products to the audience; a presentation from the sponsor; and rounded-off with an open Q&A session.
This particular Lioness Lean In Breakfast event was kick-started by one of Africa’s most well-known and successful women entrepreneurs, Margaret Hirsch, co-founder of Hirsch's Homestores and known as 'The Queen of Home Appliance Retailing'. Margaret shared her very personal journey of building a 'mom and pop' business in the early days into what is today a multi-billion Rand home appliance retail empire, winning global admiration and scores of top accolades and awards along the way. She held the audience enthralled as she told stories of the ups and downs of being an entrepreneur, shared the highlights along the way, and encouraging everyone in the room to seize opportunities, turn dreams and ambitions into realities, and work extremely hard to get there. To top it all, she had the audience singing along to songs that celebrate the power of women to realise their ambitions and dreams. Her inspirational messages resonated with each and every woman in the room and will undoubtedly continue to do so for days and weeks to come.
Guest speaker, Margaret Hirsch, founder of Hirsch’s Home Stores, held the audience enthralled as she told personal stories of the ups and downs of being an entrepreneur, shared the highlights along the way, and encouraged everyone in the room to seize opportunities, turn dreams and ambitions into realities, and work extremely hard to get there.
Next on the programme was Lionesses of Africa founder and ceo, Melanie Hawken, who gave a presentation on the importance of Africa’s women artisan entrepreneurs as powerful contributors to Africa’s social and economic development. She showcased some of the most successful and inspirational women artisans who are putting the continent on the global map, and tapping into a growing world-wide marketplace for beautifully made, hand crafted, artisan products. Melanie also spoke about the importance of choosing artisan when we have purchasing decisions to make in our everyday lives, encouraging the audience to support Africa’s women artisan entrepreneurs and buy their products over mass produced alternatives.
The presentation led nicely into an introduction to the final guest speaker on the programme, a passionate young woman artisan entrepreneur from South Africa, who made the personal life leap from lawyer to artisan bread baker. Babette Van der Walt, founder of Babette's Bread, shared her amazing startup story with the audience, of pivoting in her career as a lawyer and instead following her passion for producing the finest quality, artisanal bread and setting up her own artisanal bakery. Every woman in the audience was not only inspired by the journey taken by Babette so far, but also captivated by the wonderful artisanal bread she produces each day. Freshly baked mini baguettes were given to every woman guest at the event to taste and enjoy, receiving universal acclaim in the process.
Lawyer turned artisan bread-baker, Babette Van der Walt, shared her personal startup story and her wonderful hand-made bread with the audience, winning new fans along the way.
The event was brought to a close by Lionesses of Africa Impact Partner, Standard Bank’s Jayshree Naidoo, Head: Business Incubator.
Jayshree Naidoo gave an overview of the wide range of information and support services available to women entrepreneurs from the Standard Bank Business Incubator.
Everyone in the audience was then invited to continue networking over coffee and delicious desserts and cakes, an invitation that went down well with every women entrepreneur attending.
Hear what some of our wonderful guests had to say....
"Thank you so much for inviting me to the fantastic morning! I’m so grateful to be a part of this community." --- Shingai Netshipise, founder of KuNa Kids
"Thank you for an amazing event." --- Tammy Nott, founder of Mbiri Natural Skincare
"Thank you for hosting us yesterday. It was absolutely lovely to have met you and the wonderful women (sisters) that were there. I walked out of the event so motivated and inspired!" --- Mahlohonolo (Hlohlo) Magodielo, founder of WeFindTalent
"I am truly inspired to grow true African brands and change women's lives. Thank you for bringing people like Margaret Hirsch to us to show just how much can be done in life!" --- Thokozile Mangwiro, founder of Nyla Naturals
"Thank you so much for a wonderful engagement with other lionesses yesterday.Very relevant and informative. Hope the other lionesses are roaring as I am today about the event." --- Balungile Sokhulu, founder of Goshem City of Refuge Shelter
"Thank for organising such dynamic speakers, we came back inspired!" --- Dr Zandile Makhaye, founder of InaTouch