On the morning of Wednesday 11 September, 70 women entrepreneurs gathered together for the latest in the series of popular Lioness Lean In networking events in Windhoek, once again hosted by Lionesses of Africa and Nedbank Namibia. As always, the focus of the event was on women business builders sharing their startup stories, inspiring each other with their experiences, and of course, lots of networking.
The Lioness Lean In Windhoek breakfast networking event was hosted at a wonderful new venue, Droombos, Korlia, Klein Windhoek Townlands in Windhoek, with the Nedbank Namibia business banking team playing host together with Lionesses of Africa founder and ceo, Melanie Hawken. The programme for the morning got underway with breakfast networking, with women entrepreneurs encouraged to meet and do business with one another.
Speaking at the event, Melanie Hawken said:
“It’s so good to be back in Windhoek and to have the opportunity of meeting more incredible women entrepreneurs and hearing about their businesses, products and services. We look forward to welcoming them into the Lionesses of Africa community where they can connect and do business with their counterparts across the continent, and of course, raise the profile of their own businesses and brands at the same time. We are looking forward to another great event, and thank our impact partner here in Namibia, Nedbank, for their support of women entrepreneurs in the country this year.”
The agenda kicked off with welcoming remarks from Melanie Hawken, founder and ceo of Lionesses of Africa, who introduced the work of the Lionesses of Africa community across the continent and the global Diaspora. Melanie updated attendees on new initiatives, programmes and news from Lionesses of Africa, and encouraged all women entrepreneurs in Namibia to join the community, and to have their businesses showcased across all its platforms. Next on the programme and giving the official welcome from Nedbank Namibia was Britt du Plessis, Head of Business Banking and a real champion of women business founders. She introduced the bank and its range of support for women business owners during the morning.
The programme featured three invited women entrepreneurs who each shared their personal entrepreneurial startup stories. These included:
Mariane Akwenye, serial entrepreneur and founder of Nomad Spa. Mariane is an advocate and pioneer for Africa’s wellness industry. She is also Namibia’s ﬁrst black female commercial pilot turned Wellness Entrepreneur, and is at the forefront with Destination Namibia to highlight Wellness Tourism in Namibia, and has been elected as The Spa and Wellness Association of Africa’s Wellness Ambassador.
Social impact entrepreneur Huipie van Wyk, founder of Side by Side, a specialist for children with special needs that trains parents, teachers, caregivers and the community on successfully living with disability. She shared her very personal story of becoming a social entrepreneur and her own young daughter’s challenging life journey.
Zodidi Gaseb, founder of African Naturals, a Namibian based natural hair and skin care line, an initiative dedicated to the cultural preservation of the African aesthetic. Zodidi is passionate about the healing and restorative powers of natural products and essential oils, and the company prides itself on combining the best ingredients that nature has to offer in order to achieve hair health, whilst celebrating Africa’s rich heritage.
Melanie Hawken then returned to the speaker podium to update attendees about the latest business launches from across the Lionesses of Africa community, and thereafter inviting 6 local women entrepreneurs to pitch their businesses and new products to the audience. These included Susan Linosi and Christine Joao of Star for Life (www.starforlife.org); Karen Powell, Creativity Coach (www.kcpowell.com); Lauren Voges, founder of Latitude (www.latitudecoach.com); Susan Nel, founder of Braveart and Susan Nel Photography (www.susannelphotography.com and www.braveart.com.na); Loretta Mtombeni, founder of Vault Financial Services (firstname.lastname@example.org); and Hermine Bertolini, founder of Ann Pads (www.facebook.com/AnnPadsNamibia. Each of these women entrepreneurs has been invited to be featured on all the Lionesses of Africa platforms following the event.
The morning ended with the always popular Prize Draw, with fabulous prizes donated by the speakers and by Nedbank Namibia. Closing remarks were made by Melanie Hawken and Britt du Plessis who thanked speakers and audience members for their participation and encouraged everyone to support one another in business during tough economic times and to maximize the networking opportunity of the event.
For more information on Lionesses of Africa, visit the website www.lionessesofafrica.com