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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.

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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”.

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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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This Is A Call To The Curious – Applications For The Allan Gray Orbis Foundation Fellowship Programme Are Open

The Allan Gray Orbis Foundation is calling on all young, entrepreneurially-minded South Africans to enlist in the most comprehensive and stimulating Fellowship opportunity in Southern African. Applications opened on 22 January 2018.

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The Foundation takes a holistic approach to entrepreneurial development and believes that entrepreneurially-minded individuals with ethical values and strong leadership skills hold the key to change in South Africa and the globe. The Foundation supports entrepreneurs to improve the socio-economic landscape of Southern Africa. Further, it provides youth who demonstrate the highest potential access to education and assists them with cultivating an entrepreneurial mindset.

The Fellowship’s entrepreneurial and personal development programme runs throughout the academic year alongside the Candidate Fellow’s university studies. The Fellowship provides access to university education and includes comprehensive tertiary financial support to selected students.

Criteria for Grade 12 Learners

  • Level 5 in Pure Mathematics for Grade 11 final results
  • Level 6 average for your final Grade 11 results (excluding Life Orientation)
  • Completion of the National Benchmark Test by 30 September 2018
  • Under the age of 21 in your application year
  • South African citizens.

Related: 10 Young Entrepreneurs Under 30 Share Their Start-Up Secrets

Intention to study towards a degree in Commerce, Science (excluding Medicine), Engineering, Law or Humanities (majoring in Politics, Philosophy or Economics) at the University of Witwatersrand (WITS); University of Johannesburg (UJ); University of the Free State (UF); University of Cape Town (UCT); Nelson Mandela University (NMU), Rhodes University; the University of the Western Cape (UWC); University of Stellenbosch or the University of Pretoria (UP).

What it covers

  • The full cost of university tuition
  • The full cost of university accommodation, meals, books and tutor allowance
  • A monthly living stipend
  • Academic support and access to entrepreneurial and personal development programmes
  • Mentorship from individually assigned Foundation staff as well as business mentors
  • Access to potential postgraduate funding for graduated Candidate Fellows
  • There are no postgraduate contractual obligations with the Foundation.

Related: 9 Top Tips For Young Entrepreneurs

How to apply

Visit www.allangrayorbis.org to download an application form or SMS “Gr12 and your fax number or email address” to 36777. The application closing date is the 11 May 2018.

Watch this video to learn more about the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation. More information is available at www.allangrayorbis.org and www.facebook.com/allangrayorbis.

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Facebook Launches A Classifieds Marketplace In South Africa

Facebook has launched Marketplace in South Africa, offering users a single destination on Facebook where they can easily discover and buy and sell goods with other people in their local community.

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Available in 47 countries, with more than 550 million people from around the world visiting Facebook to buy and sell goods each month, Marketplace makes it easier for people to trade with others on Facebook.

Using Marketplace

  • To use Marketplace, tap on the Marketplace icon
  • To find what you’re looking for, search at the top and filter your results by location, category or price
  • To sell something, take a photo, describe your item, set your price and you are done
  • Buyers and sellers can communicate with each other using Facebook Messenger.

Related: 10 Motivational Quotes from Facebook Genius Mark Zuckerberg

Trading Safely

Facebook helps you trade safely on Marketplace by offering safety tips, privacy controls and easy-to-use reporting tools.

Top tips for trading safely on Marketplace:

Commerce Policy

Items, products or services sold on Facebook must comply with Facebook Community Standards and Commerce Policies. Please view the list of items prohibited on Facebook.

Verify the item

When buying an item, examine it carefully for quality, condition and authenticity before paying. For high-value items (watches, luxury bags), consider requesting a certificate of authenticity or proof of purchase.

Related: How You Can Avoid The ‘Facebook Effect’

Be shipping savvy

facebook-shipping-productsIf the seller offers to ship the item rather than exchanging it in person, you may not have the opportunity to verify the item before completing your purchase. You can use a service such as Standard Bank’s Shepherd to arrange safe payment and shipment. Shepherd keeps the money for a transaction in a trust account and releases it to the seller once the buyer verifies he or she has received the correct item in good condition.

Meet in a safe location

Don’t invite buyers or sellers to your home. Meet in a public place like a coffee shop or the mall. Before going, tell a family member or a friend where you will be, bring your cell phone, and consider asking another adult to come with you.

Use cash, COD, or person-to-person payment methods

Buyers and sellers may offer or accept cash or person-to-person (P2P) payments. If you choose to pay electronically using EFT, avoid payment links and log in directly through the payment method’s website. If the value of the item you intend to buy or sell requires a significant amount of cash, you might consider using a person-to-person payment method, such as PayPal or FNB eWallet.

Protect your privacy

Don’t share your financial account information (example: Payment login and password, bank account info) with buyers or sellers. Additionally, make sure your Facebook Privacy Settings are up-to-date. These settings help limit what other people can see (example: status updates, location, photos) on your profile page and what you share on Facebook.

Report someone

If you’re having a problem with someone in Marketplace, you can report them.

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5 Things SME’s Need To Be Thinking About In 2018

In 2018, small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SME’s) will be looking for a glimpse of inspiration to chart a new growth path and scale their businesses. This is off the back of a tough 2017 and previous years which have inhibited the growth of local SMEs.

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In 2018, small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SME’s) will be looking for a glimpse of inspiration to chart a new growth path and scale their businesses. This is off the back of a tough 2017 and previous years which have inhibited the growth of local SMEs.

Jesse Weinberg, Head of the SME Customer Segment at FNB Business says “Small business success becomes a monumental task when there’s arguably very little to no real economic growth overall. However every challenge presents an opportunity, and in South Africa, not only are we fortunate to consistently have SME development as a key objective on the national government agenda, but most corporates are also  hungry to shift spend to smaller businesses as part of the procurement policies.”

Weinberg says as 2018 begins in earnest, there are some important insights that business owners should consider in order to grow their businesses.

The digital economy is in full swing

SME’s that are comfortably operating without adopting digital technology in their business will likely be outperformed by their competitors unless they adapt to the current reality. Across the globe, consumers and businesses are rapidly migrating services to digital channels for its sheer efficiency, convenience and scalability. This includes basic elements like digitising accounting processes with software, through to using social media to campaign to customers.

If you’re ever unsure where to start, start by observing your customers and listening carefully to how they expect to be dealing with a business like yours – you can’t go wrong by putting yourself in your customers’ shoes and then reflecting on your business through their eyes.

Related: 4 Unique Marketing Ideas For SMEs On A Budget

Expect little to no help from the economy

The Word Bank recently predicted that SA will grow at roughly 1.1% in 2018 and while this is not cast in stone, it’s a relatively firm indicator that SME’s will have to do the hard yards to engineer any form of business growth. The focus should thus mainly be on differentiating your business, products or services from your competitors through marketing or even innovation if possible.

Maximise your banking relationship

Banks are investing a lot of time to understand the needs of businesses and have some of the tools to help SME’s run efficiently. The relationship should not be only be limited to just banking. With the multitude of rewards and value-add services offering by most banks, with just a bit of time spent understanding the offerings, great value can be derived for you and your business. Examples of these offered by FNB include eBucks rewards, free Instant Accounting software and CIPC registration services.

‘Think Local, Act Global’

Your business may be based in South Africa but its potential to scale shouldn’t be hampered by your location. In other words, be open to the opportunity of growing your business beyond South African shores, especially if your service or product has universal appeal and relevance. With global marketplaces such as Alibaba and AirBnB, the world market has never been more accessible and easier to do business with.

Related: SchoemanLaw Shakes Up The Legal Industry To The Benefits Of SMEs

Avoid the race to the bottom

Market forces continue to show that consumers aren’t only focused on the cheapest product or service despite the tough economic conditions. These days offering great service will build trust and loyalty with customers and keep them coming back. If you combine this with good quality, accessible products and services you will generally have an edge over your competitors offering the same or similar products and services.

“Even though 2018 is unlikely to come with an SME development boom, a solid homegrown business can still grow sustainably. More than ever, business owners need to arm themselves with as much information and insights as they can to grow their businesses or even reduce the risk of total business failure. With South Africa’s level of unemployment showing little to no signs of reduction, we need to sustain the spotlight on growing our SME sector and offering as much support to it as possible. SME’s represent one of the most effective ways to create employment in local communities, especially if these businesses find ways to trade with customers beyond their normal operating territories.” says Weinberg.

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