“No better feeling than walking into a beautifully decorated room of lush petals and candles, filled with successful, hardworking and inspiring female entrepreneurs who are willing and ready to hold each-others hands while climbing the success ladder.”
This is a summary of exactly what I thought and how I felt at the #SheMeansBusiness dinner and networking session hosted by Facebook in partnership with She Leads Africa on Thursday 28 March 2018 at the Wings building, Ozumba Mbadiwe, Victoria Island Lagos.
#SheMeansBusiness is an initiative designed to inspire, empower and train female entrepreneurs across the country to build, grow and start their own businesses. A recent Future of Business Study, found that in Nigeria, over 8 in 10 female business owners on Facebook say that social media helps their business.
During a brief panel session moderated by Adaora Ikenze, head of public policy, West Africa, Facebook, female panel members who are all successful business women were able to share experiences and lessons from their entrepreneurship journey.
Tara Fela-Durotoye, founder/CEO of House of Tara makeup said; “As a business woman, what keeps you grounded are your values and your authenticity. I cannot run a business where people are not being empowered. I didn’t go into business because I wanted to make money, but because I wanted to impact and the only way to do that is to share. As women in business we need to make sure that we are holding other people and bringing them along on the journey.”
Tosin Oshinowo, founder/CEO of CMdesign Atelier was as real as real can get on a panel. Tosin who said she stumbled on business as a means of survival to take care of herself and her child, believes that everyone can be successful.
“Listen to your gut instincts and be wise to know that sometimes the journey might not be straight. But even when it’s a bit bent, keep your eyes on the ball,” she said.
Speaking on the impact of social media to businesses today, Kemi Lewis, CEO, KL’s natural, a pioneer all natural hair salon that now has three store locations in Lagos, said the online platform is very instrumental in her business.
“Starting a business with specific focus on natural hair, especially at a time when it wasn’t popular to leave out your natural hair without a perm was tasking but social media and my focus helped me a lot,” Lewis said.
In furtherance to the dinner and networking session, the Facebook and SheLeadsAfrica (SLA) #SheMeansBusiness will bring together thousands of female entrepreneurs with a personalised and community based series of day workshops and training sessions under the banner of ‘Building Your Dream Business’ for entrepreneurs – focused on using platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp to help achieve business goals.
The 2019 program will include; access to finance, a networking component that will highlight the importance of mentorship and female role models and a #She Means Business university tour that will take place across 10 university cities in Nigeria, bringing an interactive business and networking experience to campus, whilst focusing on learning digital marketing skills, creative content development on mobile, and using Instagram and WhatsApp to help drive and build their business in school.