As part of the year-long rollout of Lionesses of Africa’s tour of the African continent with its Lioness Lean In Breakfast events, October 19th saw the latest event coming to Gaborone. Co-hosted by Stanbic Bank, this unique event aimed to showcase 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 hugely popular Lioness Lean In Breakfast Series brings together inspirational and successful women entrepreneurs to share, inspire and connect with the next generation of great women-led startups. The series is based on a breakfast networking and speaker presentation format that is highly popular with women entrepreneurs in Africa, and which has been organized in different city locations across the African continent for the past three years by Lionesses of Africa. The format of each Lioness Lean In is a two-and-a-half hour event, commencing with breakfast and networking, followed by an introduction by Lionesses of Africa founder and ceo, Melanie Hawken; a keynote address by a distinguished guest from the country; three inspirational guest speakers sharing their own entrepreneurial journeys and experiences; presentations by key women executives from Stanbic Bank in-country; and rounded-off with more networking.
The line-up of guest speakers at this latest Lioness Lean In Breakfast event in Gaborone included Melanie Hawken, Founder and CEO of Lionesses of Africa who gave an overview of the work of Lionesses of Africa to empower 1 million women entrepreneurs in Africa. Next to the podium was Mrs. Orefitlhetse Masire, Stanbic Bank Board Member, who official welcomed all the attendees to the event and introduced the distinguished keynote speaker, Mrs Neo Jane Masisi, First Lady of the Republic of Botswana. Mrs Masisi gave an inspirational speech which encouraged women entrepreneurs in the country to inspire the next generation of young women to follow in their footsteps and consider entrepreneurship as a way of taking ownership of their own destinies. Presentations from two inspirational women entrepreneurs from Botswana followed from Tumi Mbaakanyi who is a Project Manager - UNDP Business SDP and an Entrepreneur; and also Tebogo Modisagape, a Director of Val Interiors. As always, these business building insights from successful women entrepreneurs were hugely popular with the audience and are always a highlight of the Lioness Lean In events.
Two new additional elements to the Lioness Lean In programme then followed, presented once again by Melanie Hawken, founder and ceo of Lionesses of Africa. Firstly, Lioness CoLab, an initiative aimed at showcasing women entrepreneurs across the African continent and the Diaspora who are collaborating with each other to produce innovative new products and service offerings. Melanie introduced Naledi Toona, better known as Chef Naledi, who talked about her business as a private chef and culinary instructor, and about her experience of growing her company through collaboration and the power of partnership in both Botswana and South Africa.
Rounding off the morning’s programme was a new element, the Lioness Launch session, introducing women entrepreneurs who are launching exciting new products this month. Melanie also introduced audience members to the support, platforms and tools available through Lionesses of Africa to women entrepreneurs, all free of charge.
An exciting announcement was made to close this part of the session with news of the launch of the 1 Million Websites initiative by Lionesses of Africa, aimed at providing women entrepreneurs with the opportunity to tap into the global e-commerce market.
Closing remarks and votes of thanks were made by Omphemetse Dube, Head Personal Markets, Stanbic Bank. She said: “We are tremendously pleased to bring the Lionesses of Africa Lean In platform to Botswana once again. We are passionate about this partnership, which seeks to recognize and bring together women entrepreneurs in our community and help nurture their growth further. Botswana is blessed with a number of thriving female entrepreneurs, and the potential for the next generation of talent is strong. Platforms such as this are therefore paramount in growing the cause and we as a bank are proud to help champion that movement further.”
Commenting on the latest Lioness Lean In event in Botswana, Melanie Hawken, Founder and CEO of Lionesses of Africa said:
“It is so good to be back in Gaborone, a growing and exciting centre for women’s entrepreneurship in Africa. Our Lioness Lean In Breakfast event for women entrepreneurs in the country gave them the opportunity to hear the inspiring entrepreneurial stories of women who are building great businesses here. The event allowed them to benefit from the insights and advice of women entrepreneurs who have seen and experienced it all - and 'got the T-shirt’ in the world of business and brand building. It also provided an excellent opportunity for networking with speakers and participants who all share a passion for advancing women entrepreneurs in Botswana. And, importantly, it offered the chance to ask questions and get advice that can help take women entrepreneurs to the next level in the country. Finally, it provided the opportunity for Lionesses of Africa to announce all the new and exciting initiatives that are on offer to Botswana’s women entrepreneurs, all aimed at helping them to take their businesses to the next level.”
All this month, to support the women entrepreneurs of Botswana, there will be a series of regular feature articles on all the Lionesses of Africa platforms celebrating the game-changing women who are building great businesses in the country. Check them out on www.lionessesofafrica.com