It was another city first for Lionesses of Africa on Wednesday 30 October as the latest Lioness Lean In Enterprise took place for high growth potential women entrepreneurs in the city. Once again in this important series of events, it was hosted in partnership with ABSA.
The latest in the series of special Lioness Lean In Enterprise events headed to Nelspruit in South Africa on 30 October. The aim was to bring together women entrepreneurs who are looking to take their established businesses to the next level, connecting them to each other, to new markets, and of course, to growth finance opportunities. The morning got underway with breakfast and networking, with the chance for women entrepreneurs to meet one another and also members of the Absa enterprise and business banking teams. Lionesses of Africa host for the morning was once again Nomalanga Sitole, Lioness Lean In Enterprise Ambassador. Nomalanga gave an overview of the work of Lionesses of Africa in supporting the growth potential of Africa’s women entrepreneurs and some of the success stories and highlights over the past month.
The first speaker for the morning was Zingisa Beshe, Absa Coverage Head, Relationship Banking Mpumalanga, who took the opportunity to say a few words on behalf of Absa, the impact partner for the Lioness Lean In Enterprise event in Nelspruit. She welcomed the women entrepreneurs in the audience and gave an overview of the support being provided by Absa to help women entrepreneurs to grow their businesses and access new markets.
The highlight of any Lioness Lean In Enterprise event is the opportunity to hear from established and highly experienced women entrepreneurs who share their startup stories and their insights into building growth businesses. There is no better way of learning how to achieve stellar business growth by owning and growing your market niche than hearing from those women entrepreneurs who are doing it. So where better to start than with the first guest speaker, Lillian Mkhonza, Managing Director of Grow Makhosikati Holdings. She shared her personal journey of how she has grown her business and in the process grown a new generation of great leaders.
The next startup story came from a woman entrepreneur who is a great example of a business owner who knows the importance of diversification and pivoting in the marketplace in order to stay relevant and sustainable. Sarah Koster, Managing Director of Nelspruit Mica, shared her experience of building not just one established niche retail business, but also two other businesses that respond to local market needs. Sarah was a great example of serial entrepreneurship in action.
Next on the agenda was the important topic of how to successfully harness the power of networks to build growth businesses; how to scale and access the funding you need, and how do you grow to create jobs. To talk about this and to share their personal experiences, each of the morning’s speakers came back to the stage to join host Nomalanga Sithole, to talk about their experiences in their respective business sectors.
The final speaker for the morning tackled the topic of how to achieve growth through access to finance and new market opportunities. Lefentse Ledwaba-Chapman, Senior Specialist: Wholesale, Retail & Franchise, at Absa, shared news of what the bank is doing to support the growth and financing of women entrepreneurs in South Africa. She introduced specific funds, banking products, and other sources of advice and information from Absa that women entrepreneurs in South Africa can tap into. She took a lively and informative Question and Answer session with the audience, following her presentation.
The formal part of the morning’s programme ended with host Nomalanga Sitole thanking impact partner Absa for their support for high growth women entrepreneurs in Nelspruit. She encouraged all attendees to take the opportunity to meet with Absa’s specialist banking representatives who were in attendance during the morning. She also thanked all the guest speakers for so kindly sharing their experience and expertise with the audience. Nomalanga encouraged all the women entrepreneurs in attendance to spend the rest of the morning networking with one another and making those all important business connections so that they could all take their businesses to the next level, and hopefully, be the next key job creators in the country.