For the first time since its inception, the Standard Bank Top Women Conference was held at the President Hotel, Bloemfontein, on Monday 20 May 2019. Women from all sectors gathered to share ideas and inspiration to keep growing as entrepreneurs.
Standard Bank Managing Director, Sandra Smith, said that for many years the conference was only held in Gauteng, which has always been regarded as the centre of commerce and industry in South Africa.
“Of course this belief is a fallacy, women are doing extraordinary things right across our beautiful country. Standard Bank believes that women, like anyone else in business, should have the right to succeed on their own merits. This is one of the primary reasons that we support every woman and have taken a practical approach to make this a reality. As bankers we realise that the most significant barrier to successful women is access to trades or markets,” said Smith.
The conference started off with a key-note session, which included a welcoming of all the women from the Head of the Department of Economics, Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (Destea), Dr Mbulelo Nokwequ.
Managing Director of Lenoma Legal, Leah Molatseli, shared her tips for success with a gripping presentation titled: ‘Adapt or Die’ how to remain a step ahead. She also reminded the women of the importance of self-care. “If you drain yourself you really can’t be amazing. And don’t fall into this rhetoric of you constantly have to be busy; take care of yourselves,” said Molatseli.
Managing Director of MSG IT Solutions, Masego Moncho, reminded attendees that as a country we need to be creative to not only grow our economy but also to create employment. She added that there are vast opportunities in the IT sector that have not yet been explored. “How many females in the Free State are eyeing such opportunities, or are we just fighting over small pies, such as your catering, no offense, or delivering cleaning materials. We can’t all provide the same service, we need to be creative and add more spice in the area of our work,” encouraged Moncho.
The conference also included a fast track networking session as well as the Standard Bank Top Women Pitching Den, which saw eight women pitch their entrepreneurship ideas to a panel of judges. – Seithati Semenokane