On a warm and bright morning in Francistown, Botswana, local women entrepreneurs gathered at the latest Lioness Lean In breakfast event, to share their entrepreneurial experiences, learn from one another, and of course, to network and generate new business opportunities. It was a morning of inspiration and friendship building that will continue long after the event itself.
The third Lioness Lean In event of the year to be held in Botswana, took place on Friday 20 September in Francistown, and was once again hosted by Lionesses of Africa in partnership with Stanbic Bank and Liberty Life Botswana. The speaker line up was highly experienced and inspirational, representing a diverse range of businesses and sectors, but all sharing one thing in common - business success. The aim of the event was, as always, to share, inspire and connect women entrepreneurs from the city with other like-minded women business builders at all stages of their journeys. Following a networking breakfast, the event got underway with welcome remarks from Lioness Lean In Enterprise Ambassador, Nomalanga Sitole. She started her presentation by encouraging all attendees to share their morning’s experiences via social media with fellow women entrepreneurs who were unable to attend the event in person. Next, she started the session by telling attendees a little more about Lionesses of Africa, its 850,000 strong community of women entrepreneurs in the network, in all 54 African countries and in the Diaspora. She took the opportunity to remind the audience that the Lionesses of Africa community represented a lot of fellow women entrepreneurs to connect and do business with. Nomalanga also updated attendees on the organisation’s progress in meeting its goal of empowering ONE MILLION women entrepreneurs across Africa by end of 2019.
Next to the podium and representing Lionesses of Africa’s lead impact partner in Botswana, Stanbic Bank, was Omphemetse Dube, Head of Personal Markets at Stanbic Bank. She gave an overview of how the bank is working to support women entrepreneurs with their personal and business banking needs, to help drive their growth and prosperity. With the formal welcomes done, the programme got underway in earnest with the first of the invited women entrepreneurs to share their stories of building successful businesses and brands in Botswana. Duduzile Khupe, CEO of Impilo Pharmaceuticals shared the story of building her company in the healthcare and diagnostics space. She talked about how today the company is the sole distributor for Cepheid products in Botswana. Before she branched out on her own, previously Duduzile was at the helm of the Khupe Group of companies, a diversified multi faceted company that operated in the hospitality and travel sector, transport logistics, contract mining, property development and the financial sectors.
The second guest speaker was truly inspirational and a great example of a woman entrepreneur who had a big vision, the tenacity to make her dream happen, and who today is helping other young women to achieve similar success. Captain Kgomotso Phatsima, founder of Dare to Dream, a social enterprise dedicated to the advancement of youth, women and girls in STEM, Aviation and Business Leadership skills, had a great story to share. She was among the first female officers to ever kiss the skies of Botswana with a military aircraft and today she holds a Commercial Pilot's Licence from the Civil Aviation Authority of Botswana. After 10 years as a commercial aviator, today she is helping other young women to make a huge impact in society through STEM, as part of her work for her Dare to Dream enterprise.
The next part of the programme was dedicated to women entrepreneurs launching new products and services in Botswana. To kickstart the session, Nonhlanhla Sitole, Lioness Lean In Enterprise Ambassador, introduced the stories of a number of amazing women entrepreneurs from across the Lionesses of Africa community who are launching new businesses, products and services this month. They included Dorothy Mofomme, founder of Nalydia Foods in South Africa, who has launched a new, natural food solution for the young, elderly and sick consumers. Malawian fashion entrepreneur, Lilly Alfonso, well known around the world for her couture designer wear, who has launched her new designer sports and leisure wear brand LaSport. Natasha Buchler and Annie Rudnick, founders of Akojo Market, a new pan African digital marketplace for Africa’s design entrepreneurs which launched last month. Debbie Ncube, founder of Eden All Natural, who has just expanded her food processing business with the launch of a new, proudly South African peanut butter range with exciting taste sensations. And in Botswana, Mavis Nduchwa, founder of Chabana Farms, who has recently launched the country’s first honey processing factory, to produce a range of beautiful local honey including the rare white honey, yellow honey and black honey.
To continue the Lioness Launch theme, two wonderful women entrepreneurs who are launching new products and services to the market in Botswana - one from Botswana and one from South Africa - were invited to share their news. Firstly, Theo Bree Khumo, founder of African Wax Prints BW, introduced her business that offers general seamstress work to Batswana and internationally. The company serves local sewing needs for clothing production, but also produces a range of textile design services. The company also makes back packs, covers and revamps shoes, clutch bags and neck pieces.
Next, came Refilwe Sebothoma, founder of PGM Group, who joined the event from South Africa. Her company provides expert services in analyzing, sourcing, customizing, and distribution of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) that adds value and which is compliant with client’s safety standards requirements and needs. Today the company manufactures specialist equipment that is world class and highly relevant to the market in Botswana.
The popular Lioness Launch Open Mike session followed with the opportunity for 5 or 6 women entrepreneurs to join the stage to present their new businesses, products and services in 1 minute each. After some powerful presentations, the morning’s formal programme came to an end with closing remarks from Head of Retail, Liberty Life Botswana, Gerata Kewakae, and Stephanie Stoneham, Head of Marketing and Communications at Stanbic Bank Botswana.
The morning’s event wrapped up with Nomalanga Sitole sharing with attendees how they can join the Lionesses of Africa community and start accessing all the tools and resources available. She gave a big thank you to Lionesses of Africa’s wonderful impact partners in Botwsana, Stanbic Bank and Liberty Life Botswana, for their support for this event and for the growth and development of women entrepreneurs in the country.
For more information on forthcoming Lioness Lean In events in Botswana, visit http://www.lionessesofafrica.com/lioness-lean-in-series