A cold sea breeze may have been blowing across Cape Town on the morning of Friday 4 October, but it did nothing to deter the spirits of the 100 women entrepreneurs who gathered at The Argyle in Woodstock for the latest Lioness Lean In event. The welcome was warm, the breakfast and hot coffee gave a much needed boost, and energy levels were high as the conversation and networking got underway.
Cape Town’s women entrepreneurs are renowned for their creativity, their innovation, and their expertise, and the guest speaker line-up at the latest Lioness Lean In event in Woodstock on 4 October reflected these traits. Once again, co-hosts with Lionesses of Africa for this latest event were VW with their Commercial Vehicles Division in Cape Town taking their turn to welcome the city’s women entrepreneurs to the event.
The morning’s programme got underway with welcome remarks from Lionesses of Africa Founder and CEO, Melanie Hawken, who updated guests on the latest happenings and news from the organisation from around the globe. Next to the podium came Buli Gongxeka, National Sales Manager with VW Commercial Vehicles, who spoke about the company’s support for women entrepreneurs and their businesses, and outlined the product offerings specifically created for small and medium sized businesses.
The highlight of a Lioness Lean In event is always the women entrepreneurs who are invited to come along and share their personal startup stories of how they have grown their businesses and brands. First to speak about their impact driven, eco business story were sisters Kim and Natalie Ellis, co-founders of The Joinery. They have created a highly successful and growing business that creates beautiful products for the home and office using eco-friendly and innovative fabric produced from waste plastic bottles, whilst also creating jobs in the places they are most needed - truly inspiring. Kim and Natalie took the opportunity to showcase some of their products to the audience, winning fans and future customers alike.
Next to the speaker podium was Mandisa Maxibalo, founder of Unlimited Experiences, a unique business that specializes in helping clients to create sustainable customer experiences and strategies. Mandisa’s personal and business stories both resonated with the audience who sought her insights and specialist know-how on building and retaining customers in business.
The third guest speaker for the morning was Ronel Jooste, cofounder of PhysEQFiT. Ronel, who is a successful serial entrepreneur, author and specialist financial consultant, shared her story of creating her guest house business whilst at the same time building her reputation as a financial consulting expert, helping individuals and companies with their financial and tax management. She shared the business and personal lessons she has learned as a serial entrepreneur over the past few years.
The popular Lioness Launch section of the programme came next, with two inspirational stories to be shared with the audience. Firstly, Joy Ezeka, founder of Zuri and Imani, shared her very personal and emotive entrepreneurial journey, from personal hardship to getting the business break that is now going to propel her to success. This highly talented textile and creative designer introduced the audience to her new range of textiles and fabulous limited edition designer coats. She also shared the exciting news of her first external investment into the business to launch her new textile and clothing range.
The next Lioness Launch came from foodpreneurs Talezia Pillay and Candice Perkins, co-founders of Happy Earth People, who have created a fabulous natural brand of pasta made from legumes. This wonderful brand is great news for all those who want to enjoy pasta that is highly nutritious, vegan, and delicious, improving diets and the intake of healthy legumes. These enterprising and innovative entrepreneurs shared the story of how they have built this brand and business in a really tough market sector, winning customer and retailer fans along the way. This is definitely a brand to watch over the coming months.
The morning’s programme came to a close with Melanie Hawken sharing news of forthcoming initiatives and events at Lionesses of Africa, encouraging women in the audience to take advantage of the free LoA resources, networks, and information available. The morning was wrapped up with a prize draw featuring a host of wonderful prizes donated by all the speakers on the morning. It was a great end to a great morning.
To find out more about forthcoming Lioness Lean In events across the African continent, visit the website www.lionessesofafrica.com/events