Lioness Lean In

This business breakfast (a real first for me) was hosted by Lionesses of Africa - a community of Africa's women entrepreneurs and Standard Bank Incubator. 

Our online community of Lionesses is all about women entrepreneurs sharing their stories, their knowledge and experiences, inspiring one another to reach greater heights, and connecting with one another for accelerated success.
— Melanie Hawken, Founder

Kristine Pearson from Lifeline Energy shared some of her fascinating, and at times tear-jerking, story of running a charity which distributes wind-up radios to rural communities in Africa. A woman with a deep commitment to enabling access to information among women and children in Africa, Kristine has years of travel, development, testing and determination under her belt. She also has a brilliant sense of humour. She reminded me of the power of finding your passion and following it. She also reminded me that even though we have access to so many resources, so much information, and articles on 'how' to get things right in business today, none of this can make up for a 'can-do' attitude. 

Gaya Schatz's company, Little Bo Babies, takes kids' drawings and turns them into plush toys. She works with a team of ladies in Hout Bay who design and make the toys, and is a proud advocate of women providers - women who are able to set an example to their kids of hard work and who are able to secure their own financial future. Gaya spoke about conceptualising a business, the early days in the business, and her delight in children's creativity. I was inspired by her energy and desire to help other women by providing a means of employment for them.  

I already had the pleasure of meeting Lucy Beard at a recent gin tasting event, so it was wonderful to hear more of the journey she's been on to becoming, along with her husband, a proud owner of Hope on Hopkins, a craft gin distillery based in Salt River, Cape Town. They quit their corporate law careers in London, travelled through the mediterranean and came back to South Africa with a vision for bringing craft gin drinking to the Cape Town scene. Hard work, crossed fingers, and collaboration with other local business has seen them move from a dream to production, now with their gin on shelves throughout South Africa. 

Getting around local business woman is a good thing. So many creatives, entrepreneurs and business owners find themselves isolated and alone on their journey. Organisations like Lionesses of Africa exist to connect women to each other, to the resources they need, and to mentors and potential markets. I highly not only attending an event like this, but building relationships with peers and mentors as you grow your business.

Are there any business networks you would recommend joining? Are there any online networks you are a part of?