Lesotho’s leading women entrepreneurs come together for the launch of Lionesses of Africa in the country
Over 100 women entrepreneurs, representing a wide variety of business and industry sectors, gathered together for a morning of inspiration and celebration at the launch of Lionesses of Africa in Maseru on Friday 13th October. Co-hosted by Standard Lesotho Bank, this unique event is aimed to acknowledge game changing women entrepreneurs who have built some of the country’s most successful businesses, and to inspire a new generation of young women entrepreneurs who aspire to follow in their footsteps.
The event attracted women entrepreneurs who came along for a morning of networking, celebration and the wearing of crowns to becoming part of the successful network of business-building Lionesses of Africa. Under a beautifully decorated white marquee, women gathered to be inspired by a host of inspirational speakers.
Proceedings for the event got underway with an inspirational speech by Standard Lesotho Bank’s Head of Personal and Business Banking, Ms. Selloane Malie, who celebrated the significant contribution made by Lesotho’s women entrepreneurs to the socio economic development of the country. She was followed by Standard Lesotho Bank Board Representative, Mrs Mannete Ramaili, also a leading entrepreneur in the country, who spoke passionately about women’s economic empowerment through entrepreneurship.
The guest speaker for the event was Lionesses of Africa Founder and CEO, Melanie Hawken, who shared her personal entrepreneurial journey and the inspiration behind the organization which is now on a mission to empower 1 million women entrepreneurs in Africa. She introduced many of the projects, initiatives, platforms and tools which are now available to women entrepreneurs in Lesotho, whilst inviting each of them to share their stories and be showcased on all the Lionesses of Africa platforms over the coming weeks and months. Following her speech, Melanie invited one of the recent Lionesses of Africa Accelerator graduates, Ms. Que Lebatha, founder and CEO of QL Consulting, whose family originate from Lesotho, to share her own personal entrepreneurial story with the audience.
Speaking about the event, Lionesses of Africa Founder and CEO, Melanie Hawken said: “It was such a pleasure to launch the Lioness Lean In events in Lesotho for the first time and to have the opportunity to meet and connect with the country’s truly inspirational women entrepreneurs here. These women are building significant businesses of both scale and stature, and are a great example to the next generation of aspirant young women who want to follow in their footsteps and turn their own business ideas into reality. We can’t wait to come back to the country and to host our next event, to keep the networking and business conversation going, and to start showcasing these incredible women entrepreneurs of Lesotho to the rest of the world.”
A number of Women’s Appreciation Awards were also presented to some of the Lesotho’s leading women entrepreneurs and corporate leaders who have made significant contributions to the economic success of the country over the years. Each awardee was presented with a beautiful glass trophy, flowers, and a special gift of acknowledgement. Ms Maude Boikanyo, representing all the awardees, gave a special address of thanks. The Governor of the Central Bank of Lesotho, Dr. Retselisitsoe Matlanyane was one of the awardees, recognized as the first woman governor in Lesotho. However, she could not accept the prize due to her role as the head of financial services regulatory authority, of which Standard Lesotho Bank is a part of.
Following the morning’s speeches, it was time to showcase the depth of entrepreneurial design talent in Lesotho, with the woman founded Katleho Designs, bringing the best of the country’s fashion to the runway. This is a proudly Lesotho fashion design brand to watch out for in the future.
At the event, delegates were introduced to a wide range of services and products on offer to women entrepreneurs from Standard Lesotho Bank. The event came to a formal end with music from the talented singer/songwriter, Leomile, who performed a selection of her well-known songs with her band, followed by a delicious buffet lunch and an invitation to browse all the exhibition stands showcasing the products created by young, up-and-coming women entrepreneurs and crafts-people.
Lionesses of Africa aims to recognize all those women entrepreneurs in Africa who are an inspiration to us all, those who have made it to the top of their fields and who are shaking up their industries and business sectors. To find out more about Lionesses of Africa and its work to support women entrepreneurs from across the African continent, visit the website www.lionessesofafrica.com