Empowering Women Entrepreneurs And Promoting Inclusive Growth

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Highlights From The Absa InspireMe Conference 2024

The Absa InspireMe Conference 2024, held in collaboration with UK International Development and SheTrades, was an inspiring event that brought together women entrepreneurs from diverse industries to share insights, network, and foster growth. Over two dynamic days, the conference featured an array of sessions designed to empower women in business, offering a blend of mentorship, strategic planning, and personal development.

Day 1: Networking and Mentorship

The conference began with registration and a welcome session at 7:30 AM, setting a positive tone for the day. Elizabeth Wasunna, Business Banking Director at Absa Bank, delivered the opening remarks, emphasizing the importance of supporting women entrepreneurs. Carolyne Mutoko then led a lively speed networking session, encouraging attendees to connect and exchange ideas.

The morning’s highlight was the “Your Story Matters: Business Mentorship” session, moderated by Dr. Patricia Murugami. This session focused on identifying the right partners to make business journeys successful, with insights from prominent speakers including Mkambo Mwakale, of Saru Organics, Chris Njoki, Founder Ikonj, and Abigail Amma Abora, CEO of Aide Chemist (Ghana).

Following a brief tea break, attendees gathered for the official opening ceremony of the conference. This segment featured an opening remark from Elizabeth Wasunna, and key speeches from; Ms. Phyllis Mwangi, SheTrades Hub Regional Coordinator for East and South Africa, ITC, Mr. Jules Ngankam, Group CEO African Guarantee fund, H.E Mr. Damptey Bediako Asare, High Commissioner of the Republic of ghana to Kenya, Adolph Kpegah, Interim Managing Director at Absa Bank Ghana, and Abdi Mohamed, MD & CEO Absa Bank Kenya PLC.

Later, there was a panel discussion with Julius Kamau, Chief Operating and Digital Officer at Absa Bank Kenya; Eva Ngigi, Senior Director at County Manager Visa Kenya; Catherine Muraga, MD Microsoft Africa Development; and Ms. Tumi Frazier, co-founder & CEO of Fourth Wave Technology SA. The session was moderated by Carolyne Mutoko and highlighted the integration of digital strategies in business.

The afternoon sessions included “Your Story Matters Spotlight” with Kedibone Imathiu, Absa Kenya Board Member, sharing entrepreneurial journey. This was followed by a session on Strategically positioning your company for success in UK markets and African SheTrades Hub countries and by finding niche markets and emerging sectors.

Strategic Growth and Personal Resilience

Day two started with welcoming tea and facilitated exhibitions, offering a relaxed environment for networking. Lydia Karanja, Transactional Banking Director at Absa Bank, opened the proceedings with remarks on export readiness for women entrepreneurs under the AfCFTA framework.

A panel discussion on export readiness featured influential speakers such as Antony Mwangi, CEO of Kenya Association of Manufacturers; Floice Mukabana, CEO of KEPROBA; and Lucy Muchoki, National Director and Chairperson Programs and Partnerships KNCCI. The session, moderated by Salome Kavindu, provided strategic insights into positioning businesses for global markets.

In the spotlight session, Maureen Bandari, Founder Bandari Beauty, shared her journey and strategic perspectives. This was followed by an important presentation on the UK’s preferential trading arrangements, focusing on opportunities for African businesses. Speakers from Malawi, Ghana, and The Gambia shared their experiences and success stories.

The afternoon’s wellness session, “Celebrating Resilience,” was a major highlight. Moderated by Mary Achola, the panel featured Dr. Brigid Monda, a distinguished obstetrician-gynecologist, and other experts who discussed the importance of health and well-being for entrepreneurial success.

The conference concluded with a powerful “Daughters of Africa Close Out Fireside Chat,” featuring Elizabeth Wasunna-Ochwa and other notable speakers. The session emphasized rewriting growth narratives for women entrepreneurs in Africa. Nancy Muthoni, President of Asia-Africa Chamber of Commerce and Industry, shared her inspiring journey in the “Your Story Matters Spotlight” session.

Photo Credits: Odol Odhiambo

The event wrapped up with closing remarks and a networking session, leaving participants inspired and equipped with actionable insights to drive their businesses forward. The Absa InspireMe Conference 2024 not only celebrated the achievements of women entrepreneurs but also provided a robust platform for future growth and collaboration.

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