This month saw the 2017 programme of Lioness Lean In events to be held in cities across the African continent, come to a close in great style as the team headed to Mzuzu in Malawi for the first time. The latest in the series of inspirational monthly Lioness Lean In events took place on Friday 8th December, once again powered by Standard Bank, and hosted at Sunbird Mzuzu Hotel, in Malawi’s northern region city of Mzuzu.
The Lioness Lean In events are proving to be a huge hit with women entrepreneurs who come together in key cities to ‘lean in’ and listen to successful women business brand builders share their stories, to inspire one another, and to network and connect for business success.
"Put women entrepreneurs in a room together, the networking starts immediately, the noise level rises as interesting conversations take place, and great things happen on the business front - its inspirational!” - Melanie Hawken, founder & CEO of Lionesses of Africa
This latest Lioness Lean In event in Mzuzu, Malawi, was a great one, co-hosted by Dr Margaret Kubwalo-Chaika, Head of Personal and Business Banking, Standard Bank, Malawi, and Lionesses of Africa founder and CEO, Melanie Hawken. The event also heard from two highly successful Malawian women entrepreneurs who shared their personal business building stories, and networked with other women business owners, talking about how they have achieved success and overcome the challenges along the way. First to the speaker podium was Esmie Nafitale, founder of Y & E Investments, a mobile sales company providing employment to a network of sales representatives in the city. She shared her personal experiences of building the company and her ambitions for its growth in the future. Next to speak was serial entrepreneur Wezie Moyo, founder of Hillside Lodge and the Venequity Consultancy. Wezie’s insights were invaluable as she shared with the audience how she manages her multiple businesses at the same time, including a hotel, a business consultancy, and a working farming venture.
“It is my sincere hope that women entrepreneurs in Mzuzu will draw inspiration from colleagues in Lilongwe, Blantyre, and across Africa. Mzuzu, as Malawi’s 3rd City and the Northern region in general, has so much going for it and you can count on our bank’s presence, stature and deep pool of expertise to help you climb the ladder to successful entrepreneurship,” said Margaret Kubwalo-Chaika.
Lionesses of Africa founder and ceo, Melanie Hawken, says of the Lioness Lean In event series: “There is a real energy at all our Lioness Lean In events across the African continent, as women entrepreneurs at all stages of their business journeys get the opportunity to network and connect with one another, share stories, swop ideas, and of course, do business with one another. I really enjoyed meeting the truly inspirational women entrepreneurs of Mzuzu, Malawi who are helping to create a new and exciting spirit of enterprise in the country. The future looks bright in the hands of women entrepeneurs.”
The Lioness Lean In events are based on a successful networking and speaker presentation format that is highly popular with women entrepreneurs in Africa, and Lionesses of Africa has been rolling these events out, city by city, for the past 12 months. However, 2017 has seen a record number of events taking place, organized in partnership with Standard Bank, in different locations around the continent. The format of each Lioness Lean In is a three hour event, commencing with networking, followed by inspirational guest speakers sharing their own entrepreneurial journeys and experiences; often a guest woman entrepreneur is invited to speak and share their business building story; a presentation from the in-country Standard Bank senior executive follows; and the event is rounded-off with more networking.