Eleven Inspiring Women On Success, Challenges And What It Takes To Make It

Now more than ever women entrepreneurs are being recognised for the role they play in business and in the SME sector.

According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), more than 126 million women entrepreneurs are starting or running new businesses in 67 economies globally, including South Africa.

A recently released Female Entrepreneurship Index  which looked at how 77 countries across the world are fostering women entrepreneurship, found that South Africa is ahead of other African countries when is came to giving support to women in business – countries were evaluated according to entrepreneurial environment, the ecosystem, and aspirations.

Although more women are taking the leap into going into business, there are still challenges.

GEM also highlighted that women entrepreneurs need more resources and better programmes in order to build new collaborations and leverage ideas; develop entrepreneurial abilities and attitudes; and access to the means necessary to expand their businesses and generate jobs.

As part of women’s month celebration we look at successful women in business within their respective sectors. Here are their thoughts on what it takes to make it, overcoming challenges and building the world’s next generation of women business leaders.

Phuthi Mahanyele.

“When going into business – you should view yourself as a business person – people treat you the way you treat yourself. If you come in feeling at a disadvantage – you are already at a disadvantage.”

Phuti Mahanyele, Chief Executive Officer of the Shanduka Group, one of South Africa’s largest investment holding companies.

Source: Forbes Africa

Rapelang Rabana.

“Our society teaches us to spend a lot of time looking out there for success, but the ability to drive yourself to your full potential starts internally with personal mastery.”

Rapelang Rabana is the founder and CEO of Rekindle Learning, an education technology company.

Source: Mediaclub SA

Dr. Victoria Kisyombe.

“This is the era for Africa to move forward, and if Africa is moving forward, the women can move forward with it.”

Dr. Victoria Kisyombe is the founder of SELFINA, a company in Tanzania that provides micro-leasing to mostly widows and young girls.

Source: African Voices

Uche Pedro.

“If you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for everything …. What I write is instinctively positive … It irritates me that people criticize but don’t do anything”

Uche Pedro is founder an managing director of BellaNaija, an online media company that develops and delivers online content aimed at Nigerian and Pan-African audiences.Source: Lioness of Africa

Andrea Jung.

“My parents ingrained in me early on that the perfect score is always something to strive for. I want to win and I want to succeed no matter what”

Andrea Jung, former CEO of AVON and president of Grameen America.

Source: Time.com

Sibongile Sambo.

“Go into business with an open mind. Know you can have a very good business idea, but be prepared that sometimes the environment will not allow you to achieve it. Be flexible. Think out of the box. Think about ways to diversify. Think of ways to be profitable at all times. Once you are in business it does come down to profitability. It doesn’t help to be so passionate about something that is not bringing in money for you. You should be able to realize profits. If you can’t make money from the initial idea, then alter it to help keep you afloat.”

Sibongile Sambo is a highly educated entrepreneur with several degrees under her belt. She is also the founder and Managing Director of SRS Aviation, the first 100 percent black female-owned aviation company.

Source : Lioness of Africa

Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu.

“soleRebels is living proof that creating innovative world class products and trading them with the world is the best road to greater shared prosperity for developing nations like ours!”

Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu is founder and managing director of soleRebels, the world’s fastest-growing African footwear brand.

Source: soleRebels website

Isabel Dos Santos.

“I think there are a lot of people with family connections but who are actually nowhere. If you are hardworking and determined, you will make it and that’s the bottom line. I don’t believe in an easy way through”

Isabel Dos Santos,an Angolan investor with relevant interests in telecommunications, media, retail, finance and the energy industry. She is the daughter of Angolan President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos and holds the title of being Africa’s first female billionaire.

Source: African Leaders

Melinda Gates.

“If you are successful, it is because somewhere, sometime, someone gave you a life or an idea that started you in the right direction. Remember also that you are indebted to life until you help some less fortunate person, just as you were helped”

Melinda Gates, co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Source: The Legacy Project

Divine Ndhlukula.

“Have a game plan and execute it with passion, determination and focus….Work with your passion, it will keep you going and once you have a footing in your business, make the most of it and create the momentum and that will get rid of all the little challenges that may bog you down. Lastly, choose your team carefully and get rid of non-performers soon enough”

Divine Ndhlukula founded SECURICO Security Services in Zimbabwe.

Source: Lioness of Africa

Swaady Martin-Leke.

“Before you start anything, my advice is to find your passion and pursue it passionately. In addition, as an entrepreneur, you need to be able to create a compelling vision, to passionately own the vision, to define the roadmap to execution, and to bring together and relentlessly drive the energies, the talents and the values necessary to ensure success.”

Swaady Martin-Leke, the French-Ivorian entrepreneur and founder of luxury tea brand YSWARA YSWARA.

Source: Agri4Africa

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