Connect with us

Entrepreneur Today

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

Inspirational women entrepreneurs from across the African continent gather in Johannesburg for the first Lionesses of Africa Conference on 12 October 2016.

Entrepreneur

Published

on

lionesses-of-africa-conference-logo

lionesses-of-africa-logo

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’.

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”.

lionesses-of-africa-supportive-banner

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.

Entrepreneur Magazine is South Africa's top read business publication with the highest readership per month according to AMPS. The title has won seven major publishing excellence awards since it's launch in 2006. Entrepreneur Magazine is the "how-to" handbook for growing companies. Find us on Google+ here.

Advertisement
Comments

Entrepreneur Today

Surge In South Africans Swopping Their Cars For Bitcoin

The cryptocurrency Bitcoin has experienced a seemingly interminable rise. Early adopters have experience lottery-sized pay-outs on minor investments as the currency exploded in value in 2017.

Entrepreneur

Published

on

bitcoin

The cryptocurrency Bitcoin has experienced a seemingly interminable rise. Early adopters have experience lottery-sized pay-outs on minor investments as the currency exploded in value in 2017.

As South Africans are itching to get their hands on the digital currency, there’s been an increase in swops and bitcoin-only sales on Gumtree.co.za, says Claire Cobbledick, Head of Core at Gumtree. “This is particularly true for high-value items like cars, bikes and boats. Many sellers are willing to take a gamble with their assets in hopes of a large pay-out.”

This is on trend with other marketplaces. In the United States a McLaren 720S was put up for sale in exchange for 25 bitcoin, a theoretical value of $425,000.

Related: 11 Things You Need To Know About Bitcoin

While Gumtree does not allow for the sale of bitcoin miners or services, Cobbledick says that customers can exchange goods for bitcoin on the site, but should be fully aware of the risks. “Bitcoin is a volatile currency, so while you could easily see a 50% increase in your investment, you could just as easily end up with nothing. It’s up to the seller to decide if they are willing and able to take a gamble.”

Some cars currently up for sale in exchange for bitcoin includes a Land Rover Defender, BMW X5 and a rare 1970 Mercury Cougar V8.

“There are also a few other sellers accepting bitcoin in exchange for Kruger Rands,” says Cobbledick. “Perhaps proving that gold as a store of value is falling out of vogue.”

But the most unusual swop would have to go to an entrepreneurial seller who is offering carnivorous plants in exchange for the cryptocurrency.

Continue Reading

Entrepreneur Today

Zando Sold 80 Items A Minute During Black Friday – By Doing This

Black Friday has brought immense success for numerous local online retailers – reflecting the potential of e-commerce in South Africa. Why not learn from Zando’s success in 2017 to ensure your success during the 2018 Black Friday sales season?

Entrepreneur

Published

on

zando-mannequin

For South African e-retailers, Black Friday is a big sales event. But you need to ensure you’re prepared for the web traffic and that your e-commerce store can handle the logistics of thousands of orders.

zando-sascha-breussAccording to Zando, they experience 100% up-time during Black Friday and less than a week after the season sales event, 95% of customer orders have already been shipped.

To help fellow e-tailers perform better next year, Zando’s CEO, Sascha Breuss answers some key questions about the company’s preparations and learnings around Black Friday:

1. How did you encourage greater sales on Black Friday?

Over the last few years Black Friday has developed a following in South Africa, so we benefitted from the existing hype around it. We didn’t focus too much on upfront marketing, but put our energy into flawless execution and of course great deals for the customers.

Related: The Evolution Of Retail: From Corner Store To Artificial Intelligence

2. How much planning went into ensuring your store platform ran at optimum?

The real ‘hot phase’ started with the first day of November when our IT department went into a ‘feature freeze’ and we focused 100% on site-stability and scalability.

We went through some intense testing of our site with loads up to 15 times the average daily amount of visitors. So, when the actual day came, we were confident in our systems.

3. How were you able to successfully co-ordinate logistics during Black Friday?

Early preparation and experience from past years have been the key to success. We increased our head count in both Warehouse and Customer Service well in advance so that we could rely on well-trained and experienced colleagues come Black Friday.

4. How did you ensure a seamless experience between your website and your app?

We know that our customers are browsing Zando on all platforms, desktop, mobile and app so we implemented some handy features to make the transition between each platform easier. For example, shared baskets and wish lists are now a feature. Some of the deals however have been app-only and sometimes we reward our app users with early access to shop the best deals. So it is definitely worth it to download our app.

Related: How SA’s Online Retailers Can Cash In On Black Friday Fever

5. How did you scale your entire operation for a single event?

This is easy to summarise in one word – TEAMWORK. The Zando staff did an amazing job and were the backbone of our success. Not only did they put the required extra hours in and worked hard until the job was done, but they also showed real team-spirit. When you called our Customer Service during Black Friday it’s very possible that you spoke to someone in our HR, Social Media or Legal team who helped out answering calls.

6. How did your marketing campaign affect traffic on your platforms?

The most surprising element was probably the high volume of traffic that we saw during the night. Visits started to increase every minute before midnight and during the first two hours of the day we saw peaks that were higher than on our strongest week day. This traffic never dropped with a lot of orders being placed between 2am and 3am on Black Friday.

7. How did your technology systems handle the influx of shopper traffic?

In the build up to Black Friday we added additional server capacity and changed the way we handled the flow of traffic. This made us very flexible to switch on additional capacity wherever required. So it was a combination of intensive preparation, close monitoring and ultimately very little sleep for a couple of days to ensure we monitored our system health 24 hours a day.

8. What was your sales strategy?

For us everything that had a discount of 40%-80%, and was still a relevant and recent look, qualified for Black Friday 2017. Once these criteria were fulfilled we made sure that we had sufficient stock available – in some cases the demand was so high that we brought on additional stock from our suppliers during the Black Friday weekend.

Related: 5 Last-Minute Tips For Small Retailers To Boost Black Friday Sales

9. What were your biggest learnings?

We have been very successful in our approach to remain true to the idea of Black Friday – offering great deals on relevant product and not outdated clearance ranges. The customer is very educated and will identify a good deal, and we have seen consumers’ negative comments on stores who used Black Friday solely as a warehouse clearance opportunity.

10. What surprised you about Zando’s success during Black Friday?

Thanks to extensive preparation we have been able to achieve an uptime of 100% for the full month of November. We also kept the deliveries and returns 100% free regardless of discount or basket size. It seems like our customers appreciated this approach and we have actually seen very positive sales numbers after Black Friday while we expected a drop. I believe the full focus and investment on the Customer Experience has worked for us.

Continue Reading

Entrepreneur Today

Team Resolutions: 11 Tips To Uncover Passion And Potential In New Hires

If there’s one resolution HR departments should make this new year, it should be to transform the onboarding experience for new hires.

Entrepreneur

Published

on

hiring-staff-members

If there’s one resolution HR departments should make this new year, it should be to transform the onboarding experience for new hires says Michelle Seko, Talent Acquisition Manger at Sage Africa & Middle East.

The importance of a good candidate experience cannot be underestimated. Research has shown that 88% of job applicants are more likely to buy from a company if they’ve had a positive experience when applying for work there. Research has also shown that candidates talk about their experiences with a company, regardless of whether they got the job. Some candidates would even refer a friend to the company and others will re-apply for a future role, if the experience was a good one.

Research also found that:

Related: Why You Should (Seriously) Stop Hiring People

Win-win

Businesses enter into a relationship with a new hire the moment they sign on the dotted line. And, as with any relationship, it will only flourish if built on trust, respect and a commitment to self-improvement.

When you set new hires up for personal success, the outcomes naturally feed into your business’ success, which means you both win.

Here are a few ideas to get the most out of your new hires:

Make them feel welcome

Introduce them to the people they’ll be working with as soon as possible so that they immediately feel part of a team. At Sage, we partner new hires with a buddy, or Sage Ambassador, who helps them settle in and meet new people, contributing to the positive on-boarding experience.

Focus on the benefits

Compelling benefits not only attract the best candidates but also boost loyalty and job satisfaction. People are motivated by different things: one person might value flexi-time while another could place more importance on growth opportunities or bonuses. Focus on the benefits that align with the individual’s values when onboarding.

Set goals early and outline a plan to achieve them

This keeps your team focused, especially if they will be rewarded for achieving their goals.

Assess performance

Monthly, at least. Adjust goals and plans where necessary, reward good performance, introduce new challenges and deal with issues promptly.

Show genuine interest

Regular catch-ups and remembering children’s names, for instance, makes people feel appreciated.

Empower them

Let your new hires apply their knowledge to business challenges and offer training opportunities outside of their comfort zones. Reward ideas that help you do things better and faster.

Related: Hiring The Right Person Is Critical When Growing A Business

Encourage collaboration

People thrive when they can learn from others and when they can share their knowledge. Involve experienced team members in the new hire’s training. This is a great way to recognise and appreciate their loyalty and skills.

Be transparent

Do you have difficult clients? Will the new hire have to work overtime? What are the business’s goals? New hires should know what they’re getting into.

Provide solid training on everything from company culture and benefits, to opportunities for growth

The biggest cost associated with training people is the time it takes for them to become productive. But rushing through on-the-job training could lead to a host of other problems, including repeated mistakes and a lack of confidence.

Openly communicate any changes in the business

Manage your team’s expectations and be clear about yours. Allow new hires to question and understand how you do things and to point out errors – their past experience probably gave them new ideas and ways of working that could boost your team’s efficiency and productivity.

Be upbeat

Your mood sets the tone for everyone else. You can have the best product in the world but unless your team is passionate and enthusiastic about that product, you won’t get the results you’re hoping for.

Keeping people motivated and productive is hard work

But if you provide them with the tools, knowledge and support to do their best work and to contribute their best ideas, motivation and productivity will come naturally.

Continue Reading

Trending

FREE E-BOOK: How to Build an Entrepreneurial Mindset

Sign up now for Entrepreneur's Daily Newsletters to Download​​