A packed audience of Namibia’s leading women entrepreneurs gathered together in Windhoek on the morning of Wednesday 22 May for the second Lioness Lean In event in the country. The much-anticipated event was once again hosted by Lionesses of Africa (the fastest growing network of women entrepreneurs on the African continent with over 750,000 women business owners in all 54 African countries) in partnership with Nedbank Namibia. One again, the event lived up to all the expectations, as it delivered a morning of inspiration and great business networking.
The Maerua Rooftop Restaurant at the Maerua Office Tower, Maerua Mall in Windhoek once again got ready to welcome around 70 leading women entrepreneurs from the city for the 2nd Lioness Lean In event to be held in the city. It was an occasion for sharing, inspiring and connecting for greater business success. As always at a 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 under way with a vibrant welcome from host and MC for the morning, Hlubi Mboya-Arnold, Lioness Lean In Ambassador Southern Africa. Hlubi 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 news about 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 Namibia’s women entrepreneurs in particular.
Hlubi also took the opportunity to share news of two big happenings this past week at Lionesses of Africa. Firstly, a partnership with Stanford University to introduce an exciting new entrepreneur development programme for Africa’s high growth potential entrepreneurs called Stanford SEED. Lionesses of Africa launched the programme in Lusaka, Zambia at a special event for leading women entrepreneurs hosted in partnership with NATSAVE and Stanford University. Secondly, Hlubi shared with the audience news of Lionesses of Africa founder and ceo, Melanie Hawken, being in Amsterdam to speak at the World Retail Congress about women’s entrepreneurship in Africa’s retail sector. Melanie will be sharing some interesting insights and trends on all the Lionesses of Africa news platforms this week, and will be writing a series of articles shortly giving readers all the information they need to know about building a successful retail brand.
Speaking in advance of the event, Melanie Hawken commented:
“It’s wonderful to be back to host our Lioness Lean In events in Windhoek, Namibia, and to have the opportunity of connecting with and building our community of women entrepreneurs in the city. It is the perfect opportunity to share news of the various initiatives that Lionesses of Africa is rolling out for these women business builders, and also to showcase their stories and their businesses all this month on all the Lionesses of Africa platforms.”
Welcoming guests to the event on behalf of Nedbank Namibia, was co-host of the Lioness Lean In event, Britt du Plessis, Head of Business Banking at Nedbank, who gave a powerful presentation to the audience, whilst also providing an overview of the wide range of services and support available to women entrepreneurs from the bank. Nedbank Namibia positions itself to serve as a mentor for female entrepreneurs, and is fully committed to supporting them in managing their financial resources and funds. With financial planning and optimum services, the bank’s clients are able to grow their wealth and expand their operations, and in the long run, positively contribute to the economy of the country. Nedbank aims to eliminate the barriers that come with a lack of access to funding in Namibia – a challenge women have faced across the globe and has kept them from starting their dream businesses.
Highlights on the programme included four guest speakers, all successful women entrepreneurs from Namibia, who shared their highly personal and emotion-packed stories of how they launched their businesses, how they overcame numerous challenges, and how they have built them into the vibrant and growing businesses they are today. The speaker lineup included: Jamilla Jacobs, co-founder of Kids Emporium Namibia. Jamilla is a highly experienced marketing and advertising professional who saw a gap in the market for a specialist, trendy kids clothing story in Windhoek. Today, her store in Grove Mall, which she runs with her sister and business partner, Fierdowsah Jacobs, which is a must-visit retail experience for all parents.
The next guest speaker to share her story was Juliet Madamombe, founder of Global Edge Training Institute. Juliet is a go-getting serial solo entrepreneur who shared her experiences of building various businesses and the launch of her new business venture in Windhoek. The Global Edge Training Institute is a specialist training and skills development organisation helping people to gain the necessary skills to advance their careers.
The third guest speaker was Petrina Auino-Mwandingi, founder of KOVA. Petrina is a multi-talented serial entrepreneur. She is a naturopathic doctor and the founder of Naturo Health and Wellness Centre, but is also the creative director of KOVA, a great handcrafted leather accessory brand in Namibia. She shared her story of being a serial entrepreneur, and what it takes to build a new brand in a highly competitive manufacturing and retail environment.
The final guest speaker to share her story was Lelanie Basson, founder of Twafika Consultants, a strategic management boutique consultancy operating in both Namibia and South Africa since 2009. Lelanie is an accomplished change agent and strategist, and also one of the founding board members of the Namibia Institute of Corporate Governance. She also serves on the board of the human rights trust Positive Vibes. She shared her very personal entrepreneurial journey which resonated with the audience on many levels.
Next, as part of the morning’s programme, the highly popular Lioness Launch Open Mike session provided the opportunity to 5 women entrepreneurs from Windhoek to pitch their businesses, products and services in 1 minute to the audience. Each of the entrepreneurs will be invited to 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.
Finally, to round off a packed and inspirational morning’s programme, Hlubi led the audience in a celebration of women entrepreneurs from across the Lionesses of Africa network who are collaborating with their fellow women business builders to launch exciting new businesses and brands. She introduced the collaboration stories of two talented and highly creative woman entrepreneur tv and film producers, one from South Africa and one from Namibia. Tshego Monaisa of Mona Lisa Productions, 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.
Secondly, Hlubi introduced an exciting new collaboration in the specialist wedding sector. Mzansi Bride was born out of the collaborative efforts of two industry professionals Unathi, founder of Unathi Mbonambi Photography and Anna Di Donati, founder of Zodwa Bridal. 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 created 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.
Hlubi then returned to the speaker podium to announce some exciting new initiatives that will benefit the women entrepreneurs of Namibia. These include 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.
For more information on Lionesses of Africa and the Lioness Lean In events, go to www.lionessesofafrica.com
To find out more about what Nedbank Namibia is doing to support women entrepreneurs and their businesses visit their website www.nedbank.com.na