Stanbic Bank Botswana hosted women entrepreneurs at the first Lioness of Africa breakfast session in Botswana at Avani Hotel on Friday. The founder of Lioness of Africa Melanie Hawken described the Botswana breakfast session as the best that they have had. The event was attended by women entrepreneurs locally and even the heads of departments and CEOs of different organisations. Lioness of Africa is a vast network of about 400 000 women entrepreneurs all over Africa with many joining every day. Hawken encouraged the women that attended the Botswana breakfast to join. “Lioness of Africa was born from a book that I was writing after I clocked 50 and wondered what exactly had I given back to the society. I knew a book was not enough and that is why I had to build this network after a successful career in communications,” she said. Nkata Seleka of Sleek Foods wowed the audience about the brand that was built from a home kitchen while just cooking for her husband who loves chilly foods. She did not eat chilli foods but her husband loved them, and as such she needed to find a way to address that need. It started off with buying sauces from the shops. “That was when I started experimenting in the kitchen, and he loved everything that I did and enjoyed it more,” she said. Seleka then started enjoying doing this and gave such to her friends in the small community of Jwaneng mine. Everyone then began falling in love with the relishes that she made and they even encouraged her to charge them for it. All this started in 2013 and she now supplying all Pick n Pay’s, Spar, Choppies and Sefalana retailers across the country. Her biggest partnership is with KFC for the supply of Chakalaka.
Botswana Insurance Holdings Limited (BIHL) Group CEO Catherine Lesetedi-Letegele shared the same sentiments that it is all about hard work. She remembered the times when she would be rejected for a job position just because they will say she was handicapped. “Despite all those challenges I made sure that I soldiered on, and that is how I ended up heading the BIHL Group which has many organisations under it,” she said. She said she has availed her time to help young women who want to succeed by mentoring them. Rutang Moses of RH Diamonds also shared the challenges that she faced as she was stepping up the ladder, and one of those was her fellow colleagues thinking that there was another way that she was using to go to the top. “I used to wonder what they were talking about because all I know is that the only way to the top is hard work,” she said. Moses said they even used to tell her that the parachute that she was using will eventually betray her and that she will come back crushing to the floor. That never stopped her though. Founder of Lebatha Consulting which is based in South Africa Que Lebatha emphasised the need for women to keep on learning every day because when they get into business they need a vast knowledge of many things that they are not trained for, and that is why it is important for them to make sure that they get educated every day. Stanbic Bank Head of Markets Omphemetse Dube encouraged women to understand how banks can help them expand their businesses and how they can even invest outside through the bank.