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Big roar from the Lionesses of Africa



MOHALE’S HOEK – PROFITS are not yours to spend on personal items, they belong to the company. That was the warning delivered to women entrepreneurs by some of the region’s top business managers.
Matšeliso Mokuoane, the manager of Mahlakapese Guest House, told women entrepreneurs last Friday during the ‘Lean In Session’ hosted by the Lionesses of Africa in collaboration with Standard Lesotho Bank that the future of the continent is in their hands.

The Lionesses of Africa is a public benefit corporation, a social enterprise working to capacitate women entrepreneurs from Africa.
The corporation is helping build capacity by delivering entrepreneur development programmes, mentoring programmes, business tools, digital media channels, community platforms, networking events and information resources.

The Lionesses of Africa has over 850 000 users across 54 African countries and also reaches tens of thousands of users in the diaspora, especially in Europe and North America.
It is on target to reach its goal of empowering a million women entrepreneurs across Africa, according the corporation’s website.

In her lecture, Mokuoane said she has managed to keep her business afloat by treating her profits as sacred and that money is reinvested in the business.
“Investing the profits in the business is very important . . . it can help generate more money,’’ she said.
She said banks require a sound business plan and track record before handing out loans.

Khopotso Lerotholi, Manager of Change & Enablement at Standard Lesotho Bank, said women are at the forefront of building Lesotho’s economy because of their ability to multi-task.
Lerotholi said Standard Lesotho Bank is driving the “he-for-she movement” a global solidarity campaign for the advancement of gender equality whose goal is to achieve equality by encouraging both genders to partake as agents of change and take action against negative stereotypes and behaviours.
“We are expecting women to create such jobs so as to alleviate poverty and hunger,” Mboya said.

Mboya said agriculture and the beauty industry are the country’s leading sectors boosting the economy.
Mboya paid tribute to women who are already in business, saying they are already contributing significantly to alleviate poverty and create jobs.
“Most importantly, you are not only seeking to create jobs but you have a desire to create more,” she said.
She said women are not only enhancing the economy of Lesotho but contributing to the betterment of the economy of the entire continent.

The founder of MM Beekeeping, Julia Mafike, said women should not hesitate to run side businesses even when they are employed elsewhere.
“We have to start with the smallest things we have,” she said.
Mafike urged women to have a working knowledge of various government ministries that have a bearing on their businesses.
Further, they should keep abreast of standards required of their businesses to ensure that their services and products do not fall short.
Connections and information sharing are vital if women are to make it in the world of business, she said.
“That’s what sustains my business,” Mafike said.

The Enterprise Direct Manager at Standard Lesotho Bank, Liapeng Ponoane, said the bank is ready to assist entrepreneurs with business information and loans.
Ponoane said entrepreneurs can be assisted to access loans within two days of applying, even without bank statements.

She said the bank is also assisting entrepreneurs with insurance banking to protect their business properties, including their products, in case of emergencies.
“We also have agric experts to assist the entrepreneurs with information to improve their businesses,” she said, urging them to bank their profits as a way of saving for the future.

Refiloe Mpobole


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