Abidjan’s entrepreneurial landscape is going through some exciting changes right now and that means good news for women entrepreneurs in the city. At the latest Lioness Lean In event held on 26 July, in partnership with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, over 100 women entrepreneurs got the opportunity to meet, network and share their businesses experiences in order to grow.
There is always a buzz of excitement around a Lioness Lean In event and the latest gathering in Abidjan on 26 July was no exception. Around 100 women entrepreneurs from the city came together to listen to the startup stories of successful women entrepreneurs who have already achieved success with their businesses. They had the opportunity to swop entrepreneurial experiences, make new contacts for future business, and importantly to tap into the Lionesses of Africa community to expand their business networks.
L-R: Melanie Hawken, Raissa Marteaux
The morning’s programme started as usual with breakfast, networking and lots of lively conversation. The agenda then got underway with welcome remarks from Lionesses of Africa Founder and CEO, Melanie Hawken, who encouraged all the attendees to maximize the opportunity to network and do business with one another. She gave an overview of the Lionesses of Africa community and the range of resources available to women entrepreneurs in Cote d’Ivoire. Next up to the podium was Raissa Marteaux, Chef de Mission Adjoint et Chargée de Section Economie, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. As an impact partner for Lionesses of Africa in Cote d’Ivoire, Raissa welcomed all the attendees and shared the latest developments from the Embassy to support the growth and development of women entrepreneurs in Abidjan, including the Orange Corners Incubator in the city.
The highlight of any Lioness Lean In event in Abidjan is always the women entrepreneurs from the city who share their entrepreneurial journeys with the audience. First to share her story was Lynda Aphing-Kouassi, founder of Kaizene International. Lynda gave a very personal account of her business building story and also informed the audience of the opportunities to connect with her and the range of services on offer from her company. She also took the opportunity to answer a wide range of questions from the women entrepreneurs in the audience who wanted to know more.
L-R: Ange Dominique, Lee Vigier, Lynda Aphing-Kouassi
Next to share her story was Lee Vigier, founder of AfricaWorks Coworking, who gave a lively presentation on the launch and roll-out of her business and her experiences of building and launching an exciting new co-working space in Abidjan. She ended her presentation by inviting women entrepreneurs to visit the new space and experience it for themselves. She also answered a host of questions from the audience around the new coworking space and the services on offer to women entrepreneurs.
The final guest speaker for the morning was Ange Dominique, founder of the wonderful fashion brand, DyAnge. She not only shared her experiences of building a fashion retail brand in Abidjan, but also brought along her team of models to showcase her latest collection. Following her presentation, Ange answered questions from the audience from fellow aspirant and current brand builders about the challenges and opportunities for women entrepreneurs who are looking to break into the fashion retail business space.
The morning’s programme came to a conclusion with the popular Lioness Launch Pitch Session, providing 5 women entrepreneurs in the audience with the opportunity to present their businesses, products and services to everyone in attendance. Following the pitch session, Melanie Hawken and Raissa Marteaux returned to the podium to thank speakers and attendees alike for being part of the session and to talk about practical next steps, including showcasing Abidjan’s women entrepreneurs and their businesses on the Lionesses of Africa platforms. The morning was rounded off with more networking and refreshments, and women entrepreneurs ensuring they had made at least five new business contacts.
For more information on Lioness Lean In events, visit http://www.lionessesofafrica.com/lioness-lean-in-series