As part of a programme of special Lioness Lean In Enterprise events taking place across South Africa, 100 growth focused women entrepreneurs came together in Polokwane on 28 August. The aim, to connect them to one another to build business connections, to connect them to financing and business advisory services, and to inspire them to take their businesses to the next level.
On a beautiful morning in Polokwane, the Lioness Lean In Enterprise roadshow, the result of a partnership between Lionesses of Africa and Absa, arrived to inspire and connect growth potential women entrepreneurs in the city. The event was a great way of bringing a packed women’s month calendar of initiatives to a close. The morning got underway with some great networking over breakfast, before Lioness Lean In Enterprise Ambassador, Nomalanga Sitole, gave the welcoming remarks to a packed audience. She gave an introduction to the Lionesses of Africa community and its work to share, inspire and connect the 835,000 women entrepreneurs in its network, in all 54 African countries. She outlined the aim of the event, to bring high growth potential women entrepreneurs together in one room to share experiences, talk about how they address their business challenges, and how they access funding, markets, and business opportunities.
The morning’s programme then continued with welcome remarks from the event co-host Absa, represented by Nombuso Mphali, Area Coverage Manager: Limpopo West at ABSA. She spoke about Absa’s support for women business builders and outlined some of the initiatives, products and services on offer from the bank.
The first woman entrepreneur speaker to share her story at the podium was a great example of how to build business growth and create much need jobs, particularly in the Agri sector. Linda Cronje has created a really interesting business focusing on quail products. Her company, Tweeter Quail Products, farms quail for meat, and also eggs, which it pickles to extend its product value chain. Linda shared her business growth strategy and her ambition to take it to a whole new level, creating new market strands and job opportunities as a result.
Next to the speaker podium was entrepreneur Dudu Mahlangu, co-founder of Minatlou Trading. Dudu shared her story of building her highly successful business and dealing with the challenges along the way as a high growth company.
The final startup story came from an entrepreneur who is a real success story in the tourism industry in Limpopo, Nyeleti Mushwana. Many audience members were familiar with her hotel and conference business, the NMN Grand Hotel, which is a wonderful example of high growth in a competitive business sector. She is a force to be reckoned with in the industry and she shared her story with audience members.
The programme continued with an insightful panel discussion led by Nomalanga Sitole, joined by each of the women entrepreneur speakers who had shared their individual experiences at all stages of their business building journeys. They spoke about how they are harnessing the power of networks to build growth businesses; how they are addressing the challenges of scaling and funding; and how they are creating jobs.
The formal programme agenda then turned to the practical support needed by high growth women entrepreneurs in Polokwane. To talk about how businesses are achieving growth through access to finance and new market opportunities was Rati Moela, the Regional Manager for External Sales at ABSA, who shared information on what the bank is doing to support the growth and financing of women entrepreneurs in South Africa. She was joined by Tsakani Mhlongo, Relationship Executive Sales, responsible for Merchant Payments at ABSA.
The morning’s programme was wrapped up by Lioness Lean In Enterprise Ambassador, Nomalanga Sitole, who thanked everyone for attending the event. She also took the opportunity to thank host impact partners Abs for their support for high growth women entrepreneurs in South Africa. She encouraged all attendees to meet with their specialist banking representatives who were at the event and to discuss their financing and business advisory needs in person. The morning continued with more networking and experience sharing amongst the women entrepreneurs attending, with great new business contacts being made.
For more information on the Lioness Lean In Enterprise events for high growth potential women entrepreneurs, go to http://www.lionessesofafrica.com/lioness-lean-in-series