On a chilly 5 July morning, over 100 women entrepreneurs gathered in Woodstock in Cape Town, South Africa, for the first Lioness Lean In event of 2019, once again co-hosted in partnership with Volkswagen South Africa. It was a morning of inspirational story sharing, great networking, and importantly new business connection making.
Lioness Lean In events in Cape Town always have a great buzz, but in the new venue of The Argyle in Woodstock (a new woman owned event venue in the city), the warm atmosphere on the inside meant everyone quickly forgot about the drop in temperature on the outside. Attendees, all women entrepreneurs at various stages of their businesses, got stuck into the business of some serious networking on arrival, meeting old friends and business contacts, and making new ones.
The programme for the morning got underway with an energetic welcome from Lioness Lean In Ambassador Southern Africa region, Hlubi Mboya-Arnold, who greeted both regular attendees and first-timers alike. She spoke about the vision of Lionesses of Africa to advance Africa’s women entrepreneurs, by building and delivering entrepreneur development programmes, mentoring programmes, business tools, digital media channels, community platforms, networking events and information resources. Delivered at scale to women entrepreneurs, always free of charge. She also shared how Lionesses of Africa is on target to reach its goal of empowering ONE MILLION women entrepreneurs across Africa by end of 2019.
Next up to the speaker podium to share a little more information about Volkswagen South Africa in Cape Town and the vehicle ranges it has to offer to women entrepreneurs in the Western Cape, was Nina Davis, VW Sales Key Account Manager for Western Cape. Her remarks resonated with the audience when she spoke about how the company and brand supports all women who juggle their personal and business lives each day, particularly women entrepreneurs.
Hlubi Mboya-Arnold then returned to the speaker podium to talk about Lionesses of Africa’s major focus for the next 3 years at Lionesses of Africa being on supporting women entrepreneurs who are the job creators that this continent so badly needs. This is in response to the need for Africa to create 50,000 jobs each day, just to stay still. In response to the top four job creating sectors for women entrepreneurs in Africa being Agri, Artisan Enterprise, Fashion and Beauty & Wellness, many of the women entrepreneurs speaking at the event were from the Beauty & Wellness industry in Cape Town.
Three successful women entrepreneur business builders were invited to share their startup stories on the morning. First to speak was Kirsty Savides, founder of Wriggle & Rhyme, an inspirational music and movement business for young children. Next was Shantelle Booysen, founder of Elim Spa Products, a luxury wholesale spa product business. And finally, Debbie Ncube, founder of Eden All Natural, a home-grown and highly popular specialist peanut butter brand introducing some fabulous new taste sensations.
L-R: Kirsty Savides, Shantelle Booysen, Debbie Ncube
A regular part of the Lioness Lean In event programme is Lioness Launch, the opportunity to showcase and celebrate women entrepreneurs who are introducing exciting new products into the marketplace. Hlubi shared news of three women from across the Lionesses network launching this month. They included: Natasha Buchler and Annie Rudnick, founders of Akojo Market, a new pan African digital marketplace for Africa’s design entrepreneurs; Jessica Alily, co-founder of Vanimax Comix, a new South African online comic book creation site; and Jaclyn Holmes, founder of Schnooky Pie, a South African funky children’s wear brand launching its latest collection.
Two women entrepreneurs from the Cape Town area were invited to launch their new products and brands at the event. These were: Juanita Haasbroek (L), founder of Hemp at Heart, a luxury artisanal body care brand that uses hemp oil as its inspiration. And, Tessa Biagio (R), co-founder of Lizential, a body and face care brand inspired by nature.
As always, this was followed by Lioness Launch Open Mike, a chance for 5 women entrepreneurs attending the event to pitch their new businesses, products and services to the audience. As always, this was a highlight of the event and unearthed some exciting new businesses and products coming into the marketplace.
The formal proceedings of the morning came to a conclusion with news from Lionesses of Africa announcing some incredible new partnerships and initiatives to support Africa’s women entrepreneurs. These included:
Generation Africa Competition Launch of the US$100,000 GoGettaz Agripreneur Prize
This is a competition for women agripreneurs who have the potential to grow their agri businesses to the next level, but need the funding, training and development to get there.
Invest2Impact Launch - The 2X Africa SME Challenge Business Competition for Women Entrepreneurs
This is a business plan and pitch competition for high growth potential SMEs who have an established business with great growth potential in the digital and tech industry sectors.
Lionesses of Africa/Cherie Blair Foundation Global Women’s Mentoring Programme New Cohort Nomination Announcement
There will be a call this month for nominations for the next intake of high growth potential women entrepreneurs to enter the 12 month, fully funded global mentoring programme.
Closing remarks were made by Nina Davis, Volkswagen South Africa Sales Key Account Manager for Western Cape. The ever popular Prize Draw was made at the end of the event, featuring a range of exciting prizes donated by the speakers and other supporting companies. The event formally came to a close with more networking and business connection making.
For more details on forthcoming Lioness Lean In events in cities across the African continent, visit www.lionessesofafrica.com/events