In its quest to further entrench and promote the participation of women in the mainstream business and entrepreneurship, Standard Lesotho Bank has appointed Inspire Innovation Business Consultants to manage its new look Women Empowerment program on its behalf.
Formerly known and adapted from the “Lioness of Africa Lean-In”, the program is Standard Lesotho Bank’s flagship Corporate Social Investment (CSI) initiative. The program seeks to empower women entrepreneurs by providing them with practical business education, business tools, and resources to help them run and grow their businesses. Additionally, the program will engage support and partner with other women-empowerment organisations with the same mission.
According to Standard Lesotho Bank’s Head of Relationship Banking, Ms. Mahlompho Mojakhomo, they have desired to localise the initiative by engaging a local implementation partner to ensure that the program caters to the needs of Basotho Women Entrepreneurs and yields the desired impact.
“We recognize and applaud the strides of stakeholders in supporting women entrepreneurs, and it is only fitting for us to partner and collaborate as much as possible with such; for maximized impact and sustainability of our endeavours”, Mojakhomo added.
The Programme also responds to the Bank’s strategy of developing Basotho businesses, where this Programme focuses on women to fulfil the Bank’s objectives on the pillar of diversity and inclusion. Founder of Inspire Innovation, Ms. Likeleli Monyamane, expressed her excitement at the company’s appointment as implementing partner of the program. “We are very passionate about women empowerment and have a track record of designing programs aimed at capacitating entrepreneurs in Lesotho. We look forward to delivering an impactful initiative through engaging with and co-designing the program with its beneficiaries”.
The localisation of the program could not have come at a better time as the Covid 19 pandemic has majorly disrupted women-dominated industries in Lesotho. Therefore, most businesses are going through a period of redefining their purpose and responding to the disruptions to position themselves for success. Through this program, Standard Lesotho Bank will accelerate its efforts to support women entrepreneurs through this transition.
Some of the first initiatives will be launching a naming competition for the program and hosting an Online women’s conference in August 2021 in celebration of women’s month.
In the last five years, the Bank has championed the development of Basotho-owned businesses. Other recent initiatives include the Bacha Entrepreneurship Project focusing on youth entrepreneurship development and the Local Supplier Development Programme, which supports Basotho farmers.
Inspire Innovation Business Consultants is a woman-owned company that has been involved in flagship entrepreneurship development programs in Lesotho in the past few years. The company provides training programs and business and management advisory services to companies in Lesotho with a keen interest in contributing to the development of the SMME-sector, especially to women business owners who reportedly make up three-quarters of SMME-owners in Lesotho.
Ms. Thato Tlhomola