Lionesses to roar in business – Sandton Chronicle


A social organisation working to advance Africa’s women entrepreneurs, Lionesses of Africa, aims to help women realise their potential in the business sector.

In its recent instalment of the Lioness Lean In virtual discussion on 5 March, founder and CEO Melanie Hawken encouraged women entrepreneurs to take their place in the economy and business sector. To help women do this, the organisation launched the South African Women’s Entrepreneurs Job Creators Survey.

The survey aims to provide insights into the potential of women-led businesses and their capacity to create employment in an economy and country which currently suffers from a significant unemployment crisis.

According to business portal SME South Africa, women are still a minority in the entrepreneurial landscape – more than half of South Africa’s population is female but only 31 per cent of entrepreneurs are female.

Lioness Lean In ambassador Hlubi Mboya Arnold encourages women to realise their power in the business market. Photo: Supplied

Hawken added that women were faced with greater challenges and barriers when entering the entrepreneurial space, which was why a survey such as this had tremendous potential to both uplift and motivate them to take their place in the economy.

“We want to make sure that all of your voices are heard. This is how we get big companies to invest in you, to get you the business, to hear you and to get all of those all-important meetings. We want those executives to actually sign those deals, sign those business contracts,” she told participants of the discussion.

Lionesses Lean In ambassador Hlubi Mboya Arnold and founder Melanie Hawken hope that women can realise their potential in the business network. Photo: Supplied

Lioness Lean In ambassador Hlubi Mboya Arnold noted that community platforms such as these were extremely important because they have the potential to show people that they were not alone. “You don’t have to do this alone, we are a community that aims to uplift and assist one another where necessary and this survey is an example of this,” she said.

Are you a female entrepreneur? Fill out the South African Women’s Entrepreneurs Job Creators Survey here


According to the Global Entrepreneur Monitor report of 2026/2017, the common barriers to entry for female entrepreneurs include:

  • Higher levels of domestic responsibility;
  • Lower levels of education (most notably in developing countries);
  • Lack of female role models in the business sector;
  • Fewer business-orientated networks in their communities;
  • Lack of capital and assets;
  • Lower status in society; and
  • Culturally-induced lack of assertiveness and confidence in their ability to succeed in business.

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