Every year in the month of August, South Africa celebrates National Women’s Month, and to support this commemorative initiative, Lionesses of Africa, powered by Standard Bank, made plans to host three of its hugely popular Lioness Lean In Breakfast Events. The first two events have now taken place, the first in Durban on 16th August, and the second in Johannesburg on 18th August. At each event, women entrepreneurs representing all sectors of business and industry, gathered for a morning of inspirational startup story sharing and great networking.
The Lioness Lean In Breakfast events are proving to be a huge hit with women entrepreneurs who come from across the country to listen to other successful women business brand builders share their stories and to network. On arrival at both venues, Mancosa in Durban, and the Standard Bank Business Incubator in Rosebank, Johannesburg, the attendees immediately got on with the main business of the morning, enjoying breakfast and of course, networking - lots of it!
At the first of the month’s Lioness Lean In Breakfast events in Durban, the morning’s programme was launched by Lionesses of Africa founder and ceo, Melanie Hawken, who got the event underway by encouraging every woman entrepreneur in the room to make at least one new business connection during the morning, with an impromptu 30 second business card swop session to kickstart proceedings. It’s always a great icebreaker to start the morning. The first speaker to be welcomed to the podium was the highly successful and experienced entrepreneur, Denise Gould, founder of Pelican Systems, a market leader in interior solutions for commercial and residential buildings. She shared her personal journey to taking over the reins of the family business. Next up on stage was Bronwen Bainbridge, founder of Krue Contracting, who is an inspirational example of a social entrepreneur changing the lives of others by providing skills, training, development and employment opportunities in the construction sector. Tebogo Petlele was the next to take to the speaker podium, the founder of brand new startup business, Seponono. She shared her very personal epiphany moment to becoming an entrepreneur, creating a business around traditional African headscarves. Finally, Karen Wessels, founder of SnappSales and VA Connect, provided a wonderful insight into the journey of a serial entrepreneur, building two successful businesses along the way. Karen also announced the first SnappSales #WomensMonth value drive competition giveaway to celebrate National Women’s Month in South Africa. The prize was an amazing business support package, valued at R100,000 from SnappSales, which includes a free website design, a social media refresher, 50 free email accounts, 12 months free hosting, free cloud-based CRM, free cloud-based storage 20Gb, cloud-based InfusionSoft alternative, and 3 x 1 hour business coaching sessions. Everyone agreed at the event, this was a potential game-changing prize for any young woman-owned business venture. The winner was announced the following morning as Tebogo Petlele of Seponono. Wrapping up the event was a familiar face to the Lioness Lean In Breakfast series, Jayshree Naidoo, Head of the Standard Bank Business Incubator and a passionate supporter of women entrepreneurs across the African continent. Jayshree shared valuable insights into what the bank is doing through its Incubator to empower and support women entrepreneurs.
At the second of the month’s Lioness Lean In Breakfast events in Johannesburg on 18th August, Lionesses of Africa founder and ceo, Melanie Hawken, got the event underway by once again introducing the icebreaker session, encouraging every woman entrepreneur in the room to make at least one new business connection during the morning, with an impromptu 30 second business card swop session to kickstart proceedings. The noise levels in the room were deafening as women entrepreneurs not only introduced themselves to each other, but also demonstrated the art of the instant pitch - it was a huge success! The first speaker to be welcomed to the Johannesburg podium was the inspirational interior design guru, Dorothy van’t Reit, founder of the prestigious DVR brand. Dorothy shared her very personal journey from heartbreak and early life challenges, to embarking on an incredibly successful entrepreneurial journey to building one of the most respected interior design brands in Africa. Next to share her story with the audience was Bridget Edwards, an amazing author and Emotional Change Catalyst and founder of the company sharing her name. She gave a motivational and highly personal talk on how to manage and harness stress as entrepreneurs, turning it from a negative to a positive. Sarinah Matemah-Morgans, founder of skin and body care brand, Serenity Luxury Body Care was next to share her wonderful entrepreneurial journey with the audience. She announced the opening of her first retail store in South Africa and other exciting developments for her brand. Finally, Karen Wessels, founder of SnappSales and VA Connect announced the next in the series of SnappSales #WomensMonth value drive competition giveaways to celebrate National Women’s Month in South Africa. The winner, announced the next morning, was the social entrepreneurship duo behind Nik Muffins, Tinyiko Mareane and Boitumelo Mogoai. Wrapping up the event was Jayshree Naidoo, Head of the Standard Bank Business Incubator and a passionate supporter of women entrepreneurs across the African continent. Jayshree shared valuable insights into what the bank is doing through its Incubator to empower and support women entrepreneurs.
One of the highlights of the event was the announcement by Melanie Hawken and Jayshree Naidoo of the launch of the Lionesses of Africa Accelerator, powered by Standard Bank, an incredible new initiative to help established women entrepreneneurs and their businesses to get to the next level, and to provide much needed support, training and development to help them to access new market opportunities with major corporate clients in the country. The first of the Lionesses of Africa Accelerators will be run in September of this year.
Lionesses of Africa founder and ceo, Melanie Hawken, said of the success of these latest Lioness Lean In Breakfast events:
“Each of the Lioness Lean In Breakfast events we host has a different personality, due to the women entrepreneurs who attend and their businesses which are all unique and cover a myriad of business and industry sectors. This makes for an incredible dynamic as these women entrepreneurs not only look for inspiration and motivation in their own businesses, but also use the event as a means of meeting potential collaborators, customers and mentors.”
The third in the August series of Lioness Lean In Breakfast events in South Africa is taking place in Cape Town on 24th August. For more information and to book a place, click on http://www.lionessesofafrica.com/events/
Checkout and download all the event photo's from our Flickr site: