Business lionesses set to roar with R175 000 cash injection

15 July 2020 | Web Article Number: ME202019759

SMME Development & Support

AS part of its partnership with Lionesses of Africa, the one million-plus all-female business network in Africa, Volkswagen has introduced ‘The Lionesses Den’ and is calling on women-owned businesses in South Africa to share a two-minute pitch.

The top three pitches will win capital to invest in their businesses and in turn help drive the South African economy forward.

This offers an opportunity for women entrepreneurs to access capital amid the COVID-19 challenges on the South African economy and small businesses in particular.

According to a 2018 survey conducted by Facebook, in partnership with the World Bank and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), female entrepreneurs are in a minority within the entrepreneurial landscape and, even though half of South Africa’s population is female, only 34% of small, medium and micro enterprises are led by females. (source: SME Africa)

In addition to this, regardless of the financial impact of COVID-19, many women-led businesses have already been struggling to stay afloat because of the lack of cash to invest back into operations, skills, marketing, and infrastructure.

Martina Biene, Head of the Volkswagen Brand in South Africa said a lot needs to be done to support women entrepreneurs to continue their role in helping to alleviate unemployment, poverty and drive the economy forward.

“Volkswagen’s Lionesses Den is a chance for female entrepreneurs to use the capital to pay salaries, upskill, purchase stock, invest in marketing or proper infrastructure,” said Biene.

Who is eligible to enter?

Female entrepreneurs who are part of the Lionesses of Africa network, across all sectors and industries can enter the competition by submitting their two-minute recorded video business pitch at

Melanie Hawken, Founder and CEO of Lionesses of Africa said two of the biggest challenges facing women entrepreneurs is access to markets and funding.

“In light of the current pandemic which is severely impacting the ability to do business as usual, both of these challenges have become even greater. So, at this critical time, the difference this cash injection will make to the winners, especially in light of this time of ‘business unusual’, will be substantial,” Hawken said.

Volkswagen’s Lionesses Den competition runs from 1 July to
2 August 2020. The selected winners will be announced on 21 August during the Lionesses Lean-In event.

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