The First Lionesses Of Africa Conference Gathers Inspirational Women Entrepreneurs From Across...

The First Lionesses Of Africa Conference Gathers Inspirational Women Entrepreneurs From Across Africa



Lionesses of Africa, the social enterprise and digital home for a rapidly growing audience of 200,000+ women entrepreneurs across the African continent, and with a footprint in 36 African countries, is preparing to mark the 2 year anniversary of its launch with an inaugural Conference on 12 October in Johannesburg, South Africa.

This special Lionesses of Africa Conference 2016, held at an equally special venue in beautiful surroundings (The Inanda Club, Johannesburg) aims to bring together around 200 women entrepreneurs from all corners of the continent to share their business building stories, to inspire others with their success, to discuss some of the big issues and challenges facing women entrepreneurs on the continent, and to network.

Related: 10 Successful SA Women Entrepreneurs’ Top Advice On Balancing Work And Family

Melanie Hawken
Melanie Hawken

Lionesses of Africa Founder and CEO, Melanie Hawken, said of the vision for the Conference:

“We believe the powerful voices and insights of all these inspirational women entrepreneurs from across the African continent and the Diaspora are so important in empowering a new generation of women entrepreneurs who are following in their footsteps. By sharing our combined knowledge and experience, by motivating others through our personal entrepreneurial journeys, and by connecting for greater business success, we can help to create a great new entrepreneurial landscape for women in Africa, one that is full of possibilities.”

The Lionesses of Africa Conference is a full-day event on 12 October 2016, with the theme of ‘Powering a New Era of Women’s Entrepreneurship in Africa’.

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The goal is to bring together Africa’s leading women entrepreneurs to discuss some of the major challenges affecting the continued growth and development of women’s entrepreneurship on the continent, to explore possible solutions to some of those challenges, and to celebrate the game-changing women entrepreneurs who are making a difference.’

Lionesses of Africa’s lead sponsor at this inaugural Conference is Standard Bank, Africa’s largest banking group, and its key champion who will be opening the event is Ms Funeka Montjane, Chief Executive Officer, Personal and Business Banking South Africa, Standard Bank. Other impact partners include Liberty Group, GE Africa Innovation Centre, IDF Capital and Telkom FutureMakers.

“Our vision to drive Africa’s growth has been given a boost by Standard Bank Group’s support of women entrepreneurs across the continent through the Lionesses of Africa Conference. It supports the growth and development of women’s entrepreneurship and has an expanding client base of women-owned businesses ranging from start-ups to high-impact and high potential concerns.” says Ms Funeka Montjanea.

“Standard Bank Group has sponsored a series of 20 breakfast events, Lioness Lean In Breakfasts, which will be rolled out in various African countries. We are building real relationships within the entrepreneurial ecosystem across Africa. We’re moving forward. This is not just a partnership; it is a way to get closer to our customers so that we deliver what matters to them, when it matters to them”.


Related: Funding And Financial Assistance For SA Women Entrepreneurs

Standard Bank has been engaging with the woman entrepreneurs through several sponsored events and over the last year over 12 Lioness Lean In events have been held in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. These events have seen hundreds of female entrepreneurs come together, collaborate, share their journeys and become part of a broader community supporting the growth of female entrepreneurs.

Highlights at the Lionesses of Africa Conference will include inspirational keynote speakers, special focus panels with global and regional women entrepreneurs discussing important topics and challenges, the launch of some exciting new initiatives and opportunities for women entrepreneurs, and an Open Innovation Competition launch by GE Africa Innovation Centre.

Some of the leading guest speakers on the 35 person strong Conference programme include: Deola Sagoe, the Queen of African Haute Couture and founder of Deola in Nigeria; Dr Ola Orekunrin, the inspirational founder of Flying Doctors Nigeria; Margaret Hirsch, co-founder of the mega-successful retail business Hirsch’s Homestores in South Africa; Adele Dejak, groundbreaking jewellery designer and founder of Adele Dejak in Kenya; Akosua Afriyyie Kumi, the multi-award-winning accessory designer and founder of AAKS Ghana; and Angela Dick, founder of the hugely successful Transman in South Africa; plus many, many more.

The Conference will end with a wonderful cocktail party in the grounds of the Inanda Club, co-hosted with Standard Bank, and featuring a showcase of luxury products created by some of Africa’s leading women entrepreneurs and fashion designers, all beautifully curated and with their creators in attendance to share their stories and inspiration with guests.

Some great entertainment from DJ Thalia performing a collaboration with a live saxophonist Ayo, combined with cocktails inspired by and made from wines and spirits produced by some of South Africa’s leading women entrepreneurs in the field, will all add to creating a memorable event.

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