Lionesses of Africa’s key focus for 2019 on celebrating and acknowledging the power of Africa’s women entrepreneurs to create much needed jobs, continued and was the key topic for discussion at the 3rd Lioness Lean In Event in Cote d’Ivoire on 29 March. Women entrepreneurs who were looking to take their businesses to the next level and be the next job creators in the country, gathered in the city of Abidjan for a morning of sharing, inspiring and connecting for greater business success. The much-anticipated event was again hosted by Lionesses of Africa in partnership with Ambassade du Royaume des Pays-Bas.
The Hotel Tiama, Boulevard de la Republique, in Plateau, Abidjan, welcomed an audience of around 100 leading women entrepreneurs from the city for the Lioness Lean In event. The morning’s programme 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 event programme then formally got underway with a welcome from host and MC for the morning, Melanie Hawken, founder and ceo of Lionesses of Africa. Melanie presented an overview of the work of Lionesses of Africa and its vision to empower and support 1 million women entrepreneurs across the African continent. She shared some of the major initiatives currently being rolled out by Lionesses of Africa across the African continent and also plans for the remainder of the year ahead, including some initiatives that will support Abidjan’s women entrepreneurs in particular.
Speaking on the morning of the event, Melanie Hawken commented:
“It’s wonderful to be back in Cote d’Ivoire this year and to see our amazing community of women entrepreneurs here going from strength to strength. I am continually impressed by the range of businesses being launched here, in all sectors and all sizes. It bodes well for the local economy and for the continent as a whole, as a new generation of women entrepreneurs are creating uniquely Ivorian products that the world wants to buy and enjoy. We look forward to showcasing more of these women and their businesses across all our platforms and events this year.”
Welcoming guests officially to the event and getting the morning’s proceedings underway on behalf of Ambassade du Royaume des Pays-Bas was Ambassador Robert van den Dool. Other highlights on the programme included three inspirational guest speakers, all successful women entrepreneurs from Abidjan, who shared the stories of how they launched their businesses and how they have built them into the vibrant and growing businesses they are today. The speaker lineup included the passionate Dana Mroueh, founder of Mon Choco, the world-class artisan bean-to-bar chocolate producer that is garnering worldwide attention from chocolate and cocoa lovers. Also sharing her entrepreneurial story as an entrepreneur was Tatiana Massangu, founder of textile and home decor brand, Kiyana Designs, who talked about her pan-African journey of business building that led her to launching her new business in Abidjan. Finally, Marie-Anne Assanvo, founder of Myrhann Traductions, shared her story of building a specialist niche translation and interpretation services business in Cote d’Ivoire. She also talked about the power of giving back and making an impact, sharing her commitment to growing the next generation of young women who will become trained translators and interpreters in the country.
Lionesses of Africa Founder and CEO, Melanie Hawken, then returned to the speaker podium to announce some exciting new initiatives that will benefit the women entrepreneurs of Abidjan. These included subscriptions to the Lionesses of Africa free daily newsletter, Good Morning Lionesses; the free weekly digital magazine, The Mix; the weekly Lioness Radio Show; plus access to showcasing new businesses and products on Lioness CoLab, a platform to promote new products and services being created by collaborating fellow women entrepreneurs. Also, Lioness Launch, a platform dedicated to helping women entrepreneurs to digitally launch their new products and services into the marketplace across the African continent through the Lionesses of Africa community.
Finally, as part of the morning’s programme, the Lioness Launch Open Mike session gave the opportunity to 6 women entrepreneurs from Abidjan to pitch their businesses, products and services in 1 minute to the audience. Each of the entrepreneurs will be featured on the Lionesses of Africa platforms over the coming month to showcase their businesses and products to the entire network across the African continent.
The Lioness Lean In Abidjan event programme then came to a close with final remarks from co-host Raissa Marteaux, Chef de Mission Adjoint et Chargée de Section Economie, Ambassade du Royaume des Pays-Bas. Attendees were encouraged to network and make new business contacts over refreshments.