On a glorious, sunshine filled morning, over 100 leading women entrepreneurs representing a wide variety of business and industry sectors gathered together for a morning of inspiration and celebration at the launch of Lionesses of Africa in Maseru, Lesotho. Cohosted by Standard Lesotho Bank, this unique event aimed to acknowledge the game-changing women entrepreneurs who have built some of the country’s most successful businesses, and to inspire a new generation of young women entrepreneurs who aspire to follow in their footsteps.
The first Lioness Lean In Lesotho event celebrated the country's leading women entrepreneurs who are inspiring new generations of women business builders who will follow in their footsteps.
The event invitation invited women entrepreneurs to come along for a morning of networking, celebration and the wearing of crowns to celebrate being part of a successful business-building pride of Lionesses of Lesotho. And, some glorious and very glamorous hats were proudly sported for the occasion. Under a beautifully decorated white marquee, women gathered to meet one another, enjoy some gourmet cakes and champagne, and be inspired by a host of inspirational speakers.
The programme was opened by MC for the morning, Palesa Ntlhakana, Marketing Manager at Standard Lesotho Bank, who welcomed invited guests, speakers and exhibitors alike to the morning’s event. The formal proceedings then got underway with an inspirational speech byStandard Lesotho Bank’s Head of Personal and Business Banking, Ms Selloane Malie, who celebrated the significant contribution made by Lesotho’s women entrepreneurs to the socio economic development of the country. She was followed by Standard Lesotho Bank Board Representative, Mrs Mannete Ramaii, also a leading entrepreneur in the country, who spoke passionately about women’s economic empowerment through entrepreneurship.
The morning’s event programme moved into a new, rousing phase with the talented singer/songwriter, Leomile, who performed a selection of her well-known songs with her band that moved the audience to burst into rapturous applause. It set the scene for the rest of the morning’s inspirational programme.
The guest speaker for the morning was Lionesses of Africa Founder and CEO, Melanie Hawken, who shared her personal entrepreneurial journey and the inspiration behind the organisation which is now on a mission to empower 1 million women entrepreneurs in Africa. She introduced many of the projects, initiatives, platforms and tools which are available to women entrepreneurs in Lesotho, whilst inviting each of them to share their stories and be showcased on all the Lionesses of Africa platforms over the coming weeks and months. Following her speech, Melanie invited one of the recent Lionesses of Africa Accelerator graduates, Ms Que Lebatha, founder and ceo of QL Consulting, whose family originate from Lesotho, to share her own personal entrepreneurial story with the audience.
Following the morning’s inspirational speeches, it was time to showcase the depth of entrepreneurial design talent in Lesotho, with the woman founded Katleho Designs, bringing the best of the country’s fashion to the runway. This is a proudly Lesotho fashion design brand to watch out for in the future.
To close the event, a number of Women’s Appreciation Awards were presented to some of the Lesotho’s leading women entrepreneurs and corporate leaders who have made significant contributions to the economic success of the country over the years. Each awardee was presented with a beautiful glass trophy, flowers, and a special gift of acknowledgement. Mrs Maude Boikanyo, representing all the awardees, gave a special address of thanks. The formal programme was closed by Ms Selloane Mailie, who introduced all the delegates to the wide range of services and products on offer to women entrepreneurs from Standard Lesotho Bank. The event came to a formal end with more music from Leomile, followed by a delicious buffet lunch and an invitation to browse all the exhibition stands showcasing the products created by young, up-and-coming women entrepreneurs and craftspeople.