Mozambique is a country with a rapidly growing Lionesses of Africa community of women entrepreneurs. So it was good to be back amongst some of the finest women business and brand builders on 26 July for the latest Lioness Lean In event in Maputo. As always, the atmosphere was buzzing, business relationship building was brisk, and inspiration was in the air - a typical Maputo Lioness Lean In event.
The morning started with the usual enthusiastic networking over breakfast in the great surroundings of the Standard Bank Business Incubator in Maputo, always a favourite destination for our Lioness Lean In events. Host for the morning, Lioness Lean In Ambassador for Southern Africa, Hlubi Mboya-Arnold, welcomed over 120 attendees and took the opportunity to say a few words of thanks to our impact partners in Mozambique, Standard Bank, who have been with us on this journey from the beginning. She also welcomed and thanked Lionesses of Africa’s two other partners, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands who have also been with us from the beginning, and now also ENI who have recently joined us.
Before kickstarting the programme in earnest, Hlubi took the opportunity to share a message from Lionesses of Africa Founder and CEO, Melanie Hawken, who had been speaking at the United Nations in New York. Hlubi shared news of Melanie’s participation in a number of discussions with key Ministerial and other global role-players about the challenges facing Africa’s women entrepreneurs in accessing finance for their businesses at the critical growth stages, and breaking into global markets for their products and services.
Getting the programme off to a great start and welcoming all the attendees to the event was Ivone Matule - Head of International Relations at Standard Bank, who inspired the audience with her words. Next to the podium was Henny De Vries, Ambassador of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, who was participating in her first Lioness Lean In event since joining the Embassy. Finally, the newest impact partner for the Lioness Lean In events, ENI, was represented by Jocelyne Machevo, External Relations Manager, who shared a few thoughts with the audience on business and entrepreneurship.
In her role as host for the morning’s event, Hlubi Mboya-Arnold introduced the speaker line up, women entrepreneurs who come from a wide range of business sectors, at different stages of their entrepreneurial journeys, but all sharing one thing in common. They are building businesses and brands that are exciting and on the move. The first Lioness Lean In speaker to share her story was Zina Tavares, CEO of Ilulu, which is a family business founded in 2012 and operating in the real estate area. This successful company handles a variety of real estate management contracts, including residential, offices and condominiums.
The next guest speaker was Marta Mulungo, Founder of Atos, a specialist consulting company in the Human Resources area whose mission is to assist companies to achieve success by developing their human capital. Marta is also a guest blogger at Lionesses of Africa, sharing her knowledge and expertise with our community.
The third guest speaker was the inspirational Annette Cassy, Founder of Kidzkare, a specialist centre that focuses on children and healthcare, creating a welcoming, safe place where children can come and be cared for without being afraid of doctors.
One of the most popular parts of the programme came with the Lioness Launch section, an opportunity for local women entrepreneurs from Maputo who are launching new businesses, products and services to introduce them to the audience. Six women entrepreneurs came forward to launch their businesses by pitching their unique offerings in one minute. As always, the pitches were welcomed enthusiastically by audience members.
Hlubi then took the opportunity to announce some exciting new partnerships and initiatives to support Africa’s women entrepreneurs, including a number of business competitions for agripreneurs, digital and techpreneurs, and innovation based entrepreneurs.
As always, the event proceedings were brought to a close with a prize draw featuring a host of wonderful prizes donated by speakers and other supporters, always an exciting way to end the morning. The networking continued at a pace at the women entrepreneur marketplace featuring a host of local women owned businesses showcasing their products and services. It was another hugely successful event in Maputo, which led seamlessly into another Lean In event in the afternoon for Young Lionesses, women aged between 18 and 24, who were launching new businesses or interested in starting up their new business ventures.
For more information on forthcoming Lioness Lean In events in Mozambique, visit www.lionessesofafrica.com/events