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BY MOSIDI MOKAEYA
Two local banks – National Development Bank (NDB) and Stanbic Bank Botswana this week held two separate events aimed at empowering women entrepreneurs in the country.
Despite making marked advances as business owners, women entrepreneurs across the globe including in Botswana are still facing hurdles various surveys and reports continue to show.
Industry observers believe that there are some deeply surrounded factors such as gender inequality that are limiting women-preneur’s ability to start or grow their business.
In recognising that Botswana women-preneurs are facing similar challenges as their foreign counterparts, the Women in Business Conference (WIBC) was thus launched 10 years ago.
The founder - Vince Mosimanewakgang says for the past 10 years the conference has helped shape the narrative of women empowerment in the country.
“We do not just dialogue and then go our separate ways. The objective is to create a thought leadership platform through which the ideals of women empowerment can be discussed and implemented. It would be refreshing to see more successful businesses that are owned by women. Botswana is currently at a crossroads and we need to see women take a much bigger piece of the pie,” said an ambitious Mosimanewakgang.
Speaking at the 10th WIBC held in the capital Gaborone on Thursday, National Development Bank (NDB) CEO - Lorato Morapedi said it is important for women entrepreneurs to bond more.
Morapedi said modern business women should rise above the stereotype of bringing each other down.
“I believe the only way our businesses can grow is by forging close relations amongst each other as women. I say this because I was raised by a woman, I am a woman and I have made it my business to contribute whatever we have at NDB to help local women grow in business. It has been very humbling for me and my team to see the conference grow over the years. On the first year we only had fifty local women, today we have over 500 women business owners learning how to get along and help each other in their business ventures,” said an excited Morapedi.
Meanwhile another local bank – Stanbic Bank Botswana also gathered womenpreneurs in the tourism town of Maun this week through the Lionesses Lean In-Breakfast series. Lionesses of Africa has the fastest growing network of women entrepreneurs across the African continent, with almost 700,000 women business builders in its community in 49 African countries and the Diaspora. Lionesses of Africa continue to grow at an incredible rate of 20,000 new members joining every month. The Lioness Lean In events take place in cities across the continent each week and are designed to bring together women entrepreneurs to share, inspire, and connect for accelerated success.
Five Botswana young women start-up entrepreneurs from the audience also had the opportunity to pitch their businesses and their products, services or ideas to the audience, thus granting them exposure, and the opportunity to grow their network and connections.
“The Maun engagement was also a chance for us to gauge the appetite for networking and growth sessions such as this, and the turnout is proof of a clear hunger and desire. The number of women entrepreneurs in Maun and the surrounding communities is incredible, and there is even more potential for those figures to growth further. As a financial partner, we remain committed to helping these women in their growth journeys”, said Stanbic Bank Botswana Head of Marketing, Stephanie Stoneham.