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.
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”.
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.
Top Sectors For SMEs In 2019
“As such, SMEs in the construction, communications and electrical fields are all likely to benefit from supply and sub-contracting agreements over the coming years.”
While the South African economy has been underperforming for a number of years, the first positive signs of turnaround started to become visible by the second quarter of 2018, and by the end of the third quarter, data supplied by Statistics South Africa showed that the economy had indeed grown by 2.2 percent, compared to the previous quarter. This uptick is expected to have a positive effect on business confidence in 2019.
This is according to Jeremy Lang, regional general manager at Business Partners Limited (BUSINESS/PARTNERS), who says that certain business sectors have already seen an increase in opportunities for small businesses and start-ups.
“While these sectors will not be without challenges, the following four industries are likely to offer the best opportunities for small and medium enterprise (SME) owners to grow their enterprises in the coming year.”
The World Travel and Tourism report 2018, revealed that the direct contribution of the travel and tourism sector to South Africa’s GDP has been projected to rise from R136bn in 2016 to R197.9bn by 2028 – set to make up a total of 3.3 percent of the country’s total GDP, says Lang.
“Although this sector experienced some setbacks in 2018, such as the drought in the Western Cape and stricter visa regulations for children entering the country, both the water restrictions and visa regulations have been relaxed and the sector is once again poised for growth,” he says.
Statistics South Africa has credited this industry with being the biggest driver of growth in the country’s GDP, having expanded by 7.5 percent in September 2018, says Lang. “To bolster this, Government has made a concerted effort to stimulate small business growth in this area with initiatives such as the Black Industrialist Programme and the SA Automotive Masterplan.”
He adds that businesses in the manufacturing sphere could therefore likely see significant opportunities in the form of outsourcing contracts and new partnerships with large corporates.
“The debate around land expropriation has occupied most of the discussions surrounding the agricultural sector in 2018, with some questioning growth prospects of this sector. However, this industry has a lot of growth ahead of it, as demonstrated by its 6.5 percent growth over the last three months of 2018,” explains Lang.
“Further to this, the industry is also already taking significant advantage of seven climatic regions in South Africa, with the export of a wide variety of high quality fruit and vegetables increasing substantially,” he points out. The recent outbreak of foot and mouth disease that has resulted in the suspension of the country’s FMD-free status will however significantly impact meat exporters.
In terms of opportunities for SMEs, he says that these may most likely be found in the rural and underdeveloped regions, where the need for resources like efficient transport, state-of-the-art cold storage, better irrigation and private power generation will be key to making agriculture projects more productive and competitive in the export market.
Data and information technology
Connectivity and information technology infrastructure are both crucial to business and employment growth in South Africa, says Lang.
“With many municipalities and the Western Cape government committing to providing all of its residents with free data as part of a plan to expand public Wi-Fi network access, it is clear that this is also becoming a high priority on a state level.”
It has also been reported that South Africa is awaiting the arrival of three international data centres, and large players in the communications sphere, including Vodacom, Telkom and Vumatel, are making huge strides in drastically growing the country’s fibre optic backbone, he adds. “As such, SMEs in the construction, communications and electrical fields are all likely to benefit from supply and sub-contracting agreements over the coming years.”
In conclusion, Lang says that as South Africa’s economic growth has started to turn around, business owners should keep their ears to the ground as 2019 is highly likely to be a year of opportunity.
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SME Insurance Checklist For New Year
Malesela Maupa, Head of Product and Insurer Relationships at FNB Insurance Brokers, advises SMEs to consider the following factors when reviewing their policies.
Business owners who are planning for the year ahead should not overlook the importance of reviewing their insurance policies to ensure they are adequately covered against insurable risks.
Malesela Maupa, Head of Product and Insurer Relationships at FNB Insurance Brokers says, every year businesses face unique challenges ranging from credit and market risks, technological disruptions, compliance, operational and regulatory risks, amongst others. As a matter of precaution, insurance policies should at least be reviewed or updated once a year.
He advises SMEs to consider the following factors when reviewing their policies:
- Employee movements – if there are any employees who have left or joined the company, ensure that your policy is updated accordingly.
This type of cover normally depends on the role and contribution of the employee to the business. For instance, directors may be covered for Key Person Insurance and Directors & Officers Liability insurance.
- Protest Actions – this year is the national election year and leading up to elections we can expect to see an increase in the frequency and severity of protest actions, riots and strikes. Thus, it is essential to ensure that adequate special risks cover is in place from the South African Special Risks Insurance Association (SASRIA).
SASRIA provides cover to both individuals and businesses against special risks like civil commotion, public disorder, strikes, riots and terrorism at affordable premiums.
- Cyber risks – it is essential to communicate with your insurer or broker and find out if there are any new risks that your business should be protected against. Cyber incidents continue to be a major risk for businesses especially in the SME sector. Over the last couple of years there has been a major increase in the number of reported cyber incidences.
More businesses are now facing increased cyber threats due to their increased dependency on technology, relating to their internal and customer data being compromised by fraudsters. It is therefore essential to have some form of cyber risk insurance cover and/or enhancement of data security protocols.
- Regulatory changes – every year there are a number of regulatory changes that impact businesses directly or indirectly, which may result in fines and penalties for non-compliance.
- Natural catastrophes – the increase in the frequency and severity of extreme weather conditions, coupled with intensifying natural catastrophes will continue to have a significant impact on businesses.
Businesses should ensure they are adequately protected against these risks to avoid incurring sever financial losses.
- Business changes – should a business consider moving to a new location, purchasing new premises or venture into new business activities, these types of changes could have a major impact on its risks profile. As a result, the policy needs to be updated accordingly.
- New and Enhanced products – An innovative culture has taken over the insurance industry and ever so often we see the introduction of new products or the enhancement of existing products. Get in touch with you broker to advise you on any new products that might add value to your existing insurance portfolio.
“Reviewing your policy regularly gives you peace of mind knowing that you can focus on running your business effectively, without worrying about unforeseen risks,” concludes Maupa.
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