On Thursday 12 July, despite the cold outside temperature on a crisp winter’s day, Lesotho’s leading women entrepreneurs made their way to the impressive Mathabiseng Convention Centre in Maseru for a morning of networking, inspiration and motivation at the Lioness Lean In event in the city.
Once again, Lionesses of Africa partnered with Standard Lesotho Bank to host more than 75 leading women entrepreneurs at the Mathabiseng Convention Centre in Maseru. The morning’s agenda commenced with breakfast and networking, with women entrepreneurs getting the opportunity to meet one another, make important connections, and open up new business opportunities. The warmth of the welcome inside the venue made up for the cold but beautiful morning outside. Attendees were not only treated to some delicious hot coffee and breakfast snacks, but also an exhibition of local women entrepreneurs who were showcasing their businesses and brands, and selling a variety of products.
The event programme formally got under way with a welcome address from Mahlompho Mojakhomo, Head of Business Banking at Standard Lesotho Bank who set the scene for the morning’s event and activities. She then introduced her colleague, Selloane Tsike, Head of Personal and Business Banking at Standard Lesotho Bank, who talked about the bank’s commitment to supporting women entrepreneurs, and also about the partnership between Standard Lesotho Bank and Lionesses of Africa.
Next to the podium to present an overview of the work of Lionesses of Africa to empower and support 1 million women entrepreneurs across the African continent was founder and ceo, Melanie Hawken. She shared some of the major initiatives currently being rolled out by Lionesses of Africa, including a range of comprehensive programmes, activations and resources for Africa’s women entrepreneurs covering 4 main areas namely: Entrepreneur Education, Mentoring, Access to Capital & Markets, and a range of digital media channels, platforms and information resources. She reiterated Lionesses of Africa’s work to advance the business startup dreams of all women on the African continent. Melanie also shared the organisation’s plans for the remainder of the year ahead. A highlight of this part of the event was when Melanie showed attendees a video from the most recent Start-Up Night! Africa London event which showcased some of Africa’s leading women global brand builders to an audience of high profile investors and influencers.
Speaking at the event, Melanie Hawken commented: “It’s wonderful to be back in Lesotho and to have the opportunity of connecting with our community of women entrepreneurs in Maseru. It is great to be able to share news of the various initiatives that Lionesses of Africa is rolling out for the women business builders of Lesotho, and also to showcase their stories and their businesses all this month on all the Lionesses of Africa platforms.”
Next on the programme, and a real highlight of the morning, were three leading women entrepreneurs from Lesotho who took to the stage to share their personal entrepreneurial success stories with the audience. First to speak was Ms Malerato Khoeli, Board Director at Riverside Fresh Farm Produce; followed by Ms Matokelo Julia Seturumane, Managing Director of Thaba-Bosiu Risk Solutions; and finally Ms Baile Seakhoa, Technical Director at TP Technologies and co-founder of Phenomenal Woman Lesotho. Each of the women entrepreneurs talked about their own journey’s to building their businesses, the challenges they overcame, and their hopes for the future of other young women entrepreneurs who will follow in their footsteps.
Attendees were then treated to some wonderful entertainment from a leading group of talented musicians from Lesotho who performed two of their most well-known songs for the audience, all to rapturous applause.
Mahlompho Mojakhomo, Head of Business Banking at Standard Lesotho Bank then returned to the stage to talk about Standard Lesotho Bank’s own journey to create a range of exciting product and service offerings for entrepreneurs. She also encouraged the audience members to take the opportunity to meet with the bank’s executives during the course of the event to find out more and to build useful business relationships.
Lionesses of Africa CEO, Melanie Hawken, then returned to the stage to share with the attendees the opportunity for all women entrepreneurs in Lesotho to join the Lionesses of Africa community and to access all the resources available to them. This included signing up for the free daily newsletter, Good Morning Lionesses; the weekly e-newsletter The Mix; and the weekly Lioness Radio Show, to name but a few. Melanie also encouraged all attendees to share their startup stories on all the Lionesses of Africa platforms in order to get their businesses and brands out to a wider audience.
The formal part of the event programme came to an end with closing remarks from Board Director, Mrs Mannete Ramaili, who was also joined back on stage by Selloane Tsike, Head of Personal and Business Banking and at Standard Lesotho Bank, and MC Mahlompho Mojakhomo, Head of Business Banking at Standard Lesotho Bank, who formally thanked attendees for coming to the event. Each of the speakers was also presented with a bouquet of flowers as a token of appreciation for their participation in the event,
The event closed with some more great entertainment from the band, a delicious lunch and lots more networking. The exhibition of 14 women entrepreneurs showcasing their products and services was also a great attraction for attendees to visit during the final lunchtime networking session, as each attendee was given a gift voucher to spend at their chosen exhibitor stall.
For more information on other Lioness Lean In events taking place this year, go to http://www.lionessesofafrica.com/lioness-lean-in-series/