Barack Obama, USA’s 44th president, was quoted as saying, “There is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women.” And none is more true today – it is the key to economic growth, political stability, and social transformation. Enter The Lady Lion, a women’s entrepreneur movement platform launched on 29 October 2018 whose purpose it is to inspire women entrepreneurs to challenge the status quo, compete on an equal footing and lead the way in alleviating unemployment in South Africa.
South African newspapers are littered with unemployment statistics – alarming figures stand at 1.6 million and, as a large sector of the population, women have had to face even more challenges with regard to career options due to male domination in the workplace. Unemployment rates for women alone stand at 23.5% Coloured, 34% Indian, 34.2% Black and 6.75 White. However, women are now stepping up to own and run businesses in numbers that would have been hard to imagine a few decades ago.
South African economic policy places a high value on entrepreneurship and Government looks to entrepreneurship as a critical driver of growth and job creation but if efforts to promote and support entrepreneurship are to succeed, there needs to be more focus and commitment and a better understanding about what drives success in the formal sector. It is these women entrepreneurs whose efforts are likely to have the greatest impact, in terms of wealth creation, job creation, economic growth and innovation. Properly employed, their contribution could be revolutionary.
Entrepreneur Leon Lategan, CEO of The Lions Den and founder of The Lady Lion, says, “It has been my privilege to witness and work with many women in the business world who are complete champions in their respective areas and as competent as any man would ever be.”
He adds that as an entrepreneur himself, with limited access to any meaningful information around entrepreneurship, he was compelled to create a platform for women entrepreneurs where they can engage with like-minded individuals, have access to training and mentoring, in order to assist them in building sustainable businesses, both profitable and remarkable – and ultimately to help them achieve their purpose and goals.
To create awareness about the platform, The Lady Lion R100k Entrepreneur Competition was launched on 29 October and is open to every woman in South Africa who has an existing business. A judging panel will determine the winner with the best existing business that shows potential, who will receive R100 000, comprising R50 000 cash and R50 000 worth of services and marketing, including a website and personal mentorship. Four runners-up will each receive R10 000 worth of coaching and training.
Says Lategan, “The judges are looking to see who has done their homework when contemplating the challenges their business may face – the business must be innovative and original and work in the South African landscape.”
Lady Lion ambassador, Victorious Masoha, Mrs SA semi-finalist 2018, author, speaker, philanthropist and MBA graduate, says she is excited by the opportunities this platform presents. “As an aspiring business woman, I truly understand the challenges that come with penetrating the business environment, the lack of support, funding and mentorship, so I am very supportive of this initiative and the help it will provide for aspiring women entrepreneurs.”