Women in business, creating networks and growing Africa

One of the things that stood out for me during my conversation with Siyanga Madikizela, the Public Relations Manager for Volkswagen South Africa, was not just how passionate she was about her work, which she absolutely is. I was struck by how through her work she is in the incredible position to be able to pay it forward to the people who are the ones who keep homes, communities and nations going and growing, women. Heartfelt, life changing and positive work that uplifts…what could get better than that? That is the kind of work that even I ache to do because it is not just about the immediate impact, it is about knowing that that life you have touched will be forever changed.

Lionesses of Africa, is a one million + strong all-female business network in Africa and I remember attending one of their breakfasts in 2017 and oh the way that I left feeling not only motivated but I felt like I was SEEN as a woman trying to find her own little space in the world. As much as #SistaHoodHour at the time had just started and I was figuring out a lot of the mechanics and what I wanted to achieve with it, I appreciated that I was in a space with women I could speak to, share my journey with and we could learn from each other – especially those little but big practical things that we sometimes lose sight of but they are key to our growth. We weren’t being talked down to, but we were invited to be part of the conversations and panel discussions, to put our hand up and be able to share parts of our journey – and no one ever felt like they didn’t belong.

Covid-19 has in a way taken away the opportunity for female entrepreneurs to gather and connect with each other but thankfully with the age of digital, there is a way to remain connected and support one another. Also, with the current social and economic climate, it’s quite tough for all businesses no matter the size. That’s why the timing of the partnership between Volkswagen and Lionesses of Africa, couldn’t be more perfect! The Lionesses Den called on female-owned businesses in South Africa to share a two minute pitch. The top three pitches will win capital to invest in their businesses which would in turn help to drive the South African economy forward!

I cannot wait until the winners are announced, and to also learn about the wonderful women owned businesses that have been pushing and working hard to make it through this challenging time – they should ALL be celebrated!

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