On a beautiful morning in Centurion, South Africa, on Friday 3 May, 130 women entrepreneurs with businesses ranging across a wide variety of sectors, came together to be inspired and to network. The occasion, the latest Lioness Lean In event, always a great occasion to bring together established and new women business builders to share their experiences and to connect for greater business success. Once again, the event was co-hosted between Lionesses of Africa and Volkswagen Group in South Africa, and took place at the VW Training Academy in Centurion.
The Lioness Lean In event got underway with lots of networking over a great breakfast and plenty of coffee, and as always, it was great to see old friends and business colleagues reconnecting, and new friendships made. The formal programme kicked off with a rousing welcome from Lioness Lean In Ambassador for Southern Africa, Hlubi Mboya Arnold. The scene was set for a great morning as she was joined by Lionesses of Africa founder and ceo, Melanie Hawken, who had flown in to South Africa to welcome attendees to the event in person. Also saying a few words of welcome was Meredith Kelly, VWSA’s Marketing and Communication Manager, who encouraged all the attendees to make the most of the morning’s networking opportunities with her team.
A Lioness Lean In event is all about sharing our experiences as women entrepreneurs; it’s about sharing our business building journeys; it’s talking about our challenges, our highs and lows; and inspiring one another. So, to kickstart the morning, the audience heard from a talented and highly creative woman entrepreneur tv and film producer, Tshego Monaisa. She has not only launched her own successful company, Mona Lisa Productions, but is now also collaborating with fellow Namibian woman entrepreneur Jenny Kandenge of Dark Crown Productions to bring new and refreshing local content to the small screen, big screen and mobile screen across the continent.
The next speaker was another entrepreneur who knows about the power of collaboration. Mzansi Bride was born out of the collaborative efforts of two industry professionals Anna Di Donato, founder of Zodwa Bridal, and Unathi Mbonambi, founder of Unathi Mbonambi Photography. Having been wedding professionals for a number of years, they recognised the challenges and obstacles that the black wedding supplier faces in the wedding industry. As a result they wanted to create a platform that would enable reputable black wedding professionals to have a significant impact, increased visibility and become prominent players in the industry and the economy as a whole. Anna Di Donato introduced the concept of Mzanzi Bride and the forthcoming launch of their wedding showcase in June.
The entertainment world can be both exciting and tough, particularly for performing artists such as musicians, and getting recorded can be a challenge. Next to share her entrepreneurial story was one woman entrepreneur who is making the move from creative performer to setting up her own recording label, Bahatii Productions, in South Africa. Nonhlanhla Sithole shared not only her inspirational startup story but also entertained the audience with one of her own recorded songs.
The theme for the overall Lioness Lean In event in Centurion was about Lionesses launching, so next on the programme came three amazing women entrepreneurs who were all launching exciting new products and collections in the month of May. To start this section of the programme off with a real bang, Frances Edwards, founder of the well established, boutique luxury shoe design and manufacturing company, House of Cinnamon, shared her story and news about her latest exciting shoe retail and bespoke collection.
The next Lioness launch featured the multi-award winning Precious Mvulane, founder of GADS Consulting and author of The Essential Finance Handbook, the latest edition of which she launched to Lioness Lean In attendees. This really practical guide is suitable for all entrepreneurs looking to manage their business finances in the most effective way possible. Precious gave a very entertaining talk on the subject of financial management for entrepreneurs, sharing her own experiences and considerable insights.
The final Lioness Launch guest was Thokozile Mangwiro, founder of Nilotiqa, the popular specialist retail haircare brand. She is launching a new retail campaign through her association with retailer Clicks during the month of May, the 100K campaign, which not only aims to boost sales of her wonderful products, but also aims to positively impact the lives of young people.
One of the most popular parts of the morning’s programme, came with the Lioness Launch Open Mike, an invitation to 5 women entrepreneurs from the audience to come up and introduce their new products and services they are launching - in just 1 minute. MC for the morning, Hlubi, ensured that each woman pitcher hit their mark and got their message across to the supportive audience.
The morning programme wrapped up with MC Hlubi informing attendees of how they could tap into all the Lionesses of Africa resources post event, including getting copies of the Good Morning Lionesses daily newsletter and The Mix weekly digital magazine, plus links to the Lioness Radio Show. Importantly she encouraged everyone to join the Lionesses of Africa community. The morning ended with the final part of the programme, the Prize Giveaway, with lucky audience members taking away with them some fabulous prizes donated by speakers and event supporters. Once again, it was another memorable Lioness Lean In event in Centurion and a great morning was enjoyed by everyone, with the opportunity to take away inspiration, new business contacts made, and a good dose of can-do entrepreneurial spirit.
For more information on all the Lioness Lean In events coming up over the next few weeks and months, go to the Lionesses of Africa website events page www.lionessesofafrica/events