On the morning of Friday 25 October, around 80 leading women entrepreneurs from Luanda gathered together for the first in a series of popular Lioness Lean In networking events in Angola. The event was hosted by Lionesses of Africa and Standard Bank Angola. The event built on the host of events that have been held already in Africa’s leading cities on the continent by Lionesses of Africa in partnership with Standard Bank Group over the past five years. As always, the focus of the event was on women entrepreneurs sharing their startup stories, inspiring each other with their experiences, and of course, lots of networking.
The Lioness Lean In Luanda breakfast networking event was hosted at the Hotel Palmeiras, Talatona, Luanda Sul, Luanda, with the Standard Bank Angola team playing host led by the inspirational Yonne Castro, Executive Director, Risk, Compliance, Exchange Control, and Quality of Services, together with Lionesses of Africa founder and ceo, Melanie Hawken. The programme for the morning got underway with breakfast networking, with women entrepreneurs encouraged to meet and do business with one another in the relaxing outdoor surroundings of the Hotel Palmeiras.
Speaking before the start of the event, Melanie Hawken said:
“It is so good to be finally bringing our Lioness Lean In events to Angola and to have the opportunity of meeting so many women entrepreneurs in our Lionesses community here and hearing about how their businesses are growing, and seeing at first hand their new products and services. We look forward to welcoming many more women entrepreneurs from Angola into the Lionesses of Africa community where they can connect and do business with their counterparts across the continent, and of course, raise the profile of their own businesses and brands at the same time. We are looking forward to a great first event here in Luanda, the first of many we have planned going forward, and thank our first impact partner here in Angola, Standard Bank, for their support for women entrepreneurs.”
The agenda on the morning kicked off with Claudia Viana, Customer Journeys Personal Business Banking (PBB) / Head at Standard Bank, providing the official welcome to attendees and introducing the first speaker to the podium. Welcoming remarks came from Melanie Hawken, founder and ceo of Lionesses of Africa, who introduced the work of the Lionesses of Africa community across the continent and the global Diaspora. Melanie updated attendees on new initiatives, programmes and news from Lionesses of Africa, and encouraged all women entrepreneurs in Angola to join the community, and to have their businesses showcased across all its platforms.
Next on the programme and giving the official welcome from Standard Bank Angola was Yonne Castro, Executive Director, Risk, Compliance, Exchange Control and Quality of Services. As a passionate supporter of women business builders in Angola, she outlined the bank’s commitment to encouraging the growth and development of a new generation of successful women entrepreneurs. She also showed a highly creative video presentation, produced by one of the attendees in the room, that served to entertain and uplift the audience.
The programme then featured three invited women entrepreneurs who shared their personal entrepreneurial startup stories with the audience - these included: Vanda de Oliveira, founder of Bantu Makers; Eva Rosa Santos, founder of Liderança Feminina; and Itweva Nogueira, founder of IN Sociedade de Advogados. Each of the women took the opportunity to share their personal entrepreneurial stories, to talk about how they overcame their challenges along those journeys, and their aspirations for their businesses going forward.
Melanie Hawken then returned to the speaker podium to update attendees about the latest business launches from across the Lionesses of Africa network, introducing the concept of the Lioness Launch platform. She invited 5 local women entrepreneurs from the audience to pitch their businesses and new products. Each of these women entrepreneurs will be invited to be featured on all the Lionesses of Africa platforms following the event.
To support the women entrepreneurs of Angola during the month of October, Lionesses of Africa is planning a series of special editorial features, women entrepreneur case studies, and interviews with leading women business builders from Angola, which will be published across its digital and social media platforms.
Closing remarks were then made by Lionesses of Africa and Standard Bank Angola who thanked speakers and audience members for their participation and encouraged everyone to support one another in business and to maximize the networking opportunity of the event. Women entrepreneurs took up the challenge and the networking continued over more refreshments, with new business contacts made and friendships cemented.