Janine Basel, CEO of Akro Capital, shares how the phenomenon of very few female entrepreneurs approaching them for funding led to the formation of their Girl Boss Hustle events.
If you missed Akro Capital’s Johannesburg-based Girl Boss Hustle event in honour of Women’s Day, let that Fomo sink in. At the events, successful female speakers share their personal business journey and practical tips with other female entrepreneurs. Even better? The events appeal to everyone from young women who have started something on the side, to those who are thinking about leaving secure jobs, to those who are already deep in the entrepreneurial journey. Basel shares that the speakers at their events, usually held in Cape Town, are generous with their answers and there’s a genuine spirit of giving-back and helping lift up others.
There’s a focus on the tech space but speakers cross industries at the drop of a hat and have been making headlines on Bizcommunity for their impressive business acumen. These have included the likes of Lucy Beard, former lawyer and now cofounder of Hope on Hopkins, the Salt River-based artisanal distillery fast garnering a cult following.
Or what about Zanele Ntulini, COO and co-partner at the black female majority-owned MDOT Design Studio? She realised what was missing in the world of big agencies and big budgets was a compact, honest, affordable, fast and truly personal approach, and went with it.
International speakers include Robyn Streisand, serial entrepreneur behind the launch of Titanium Worldwide holding company for media, marketing, and communications agencies that can service clients under a single contract – each a certified-diverse business in its own right; and Caroline Ravenall – now an entrepreneurial coach and author, and previously the person behind the launch of Virgin Brand Africa and Virgin Airline SA on behalf of Richard Branson.
That’s an impressive lineup, as is Akro Capital itself. Basel explains that the Girl Boss Hustle is an arm of Akro Capital, an early-stage-seed-funding startup company itself that funds tech entrepreneurs, while also holding events for the entrepreneurial community at large while the Girl Boss Hustle or GBH events are aimed at females, as they find so few are loud and proud in the entrepreneurial space.
Here, Basel elaborates on the company’s formative spark and how events like Girl Boss Hustle further benefit the startup space.
Share why Akro Capital was formed and how it benefits the broader industry.
Akro is an early-stage seed-funding company. Our ‘golden circle’ came about as a result of our founding member coming across so many obstacles to seed funding when he began his original business, straight out of university. So truthfully, we aim to help the likes of him: inexperienced people who have great ideas and great work ethic.
How does that ethic tie into your co-working space?
This has naturally evolved into providing a co-working space for startups. We try to ensure there are like-minded people in the space who want to work hard, help each other and who are hungry to move forward with their ideas and passion. We currently have a space in Salt River that we are really proud of, and we are opening another space later this month in the Cape Town CBD.
Exciting! How do your events like Girl Boss Hustle further benefit the startup space?
Our events for the startup community have been a natural evolution. We aim to be as practical and relevant as possible with our speakers, and we have had really fabulous people impart their knowledge.
For example, Raymond van Niekerk spoke on branding for startups. He is the man behind the Investec brand, and was so generous in sharing information. Aisha Pandor of SweepSouth fame gave valuable advice on funding, and we are currently working with world-class coach, Caroline Ravenall who will soon host a coaching session for female entrepreneurs on resilience and performance.
Elaborate on Girl Boss Hustle in particular and its impact on the industry.
Girl Boss Hustle is an organic extension of everything we do, but we aim these talks at females, as we noticed that very few females approached us for funding. That’s why we decided to host an event purely aimed at women. We had an amazing response, and thus Girl Boss Hustle was born.
There are so many women in the world of entrepreneurship, but they seem to keep a lower profile.
That’s why we formed a closed Facebook group, Girl Boss Hustle, where innovative women can share ideas, market their businesses to each other, ask questions and connect in a safe space, on a level they choose.
If you’d like to join the open Facebook group for Girl Boss Hustlers, click here. You can also visit the Akro Capital website on http://akro.co.za/ or follow their Twitter profile for the latest updates. Let’s do that Girl Boss Hustle!
Leigh Andrews AKA the #MilkshakeQueen, is former Editor-in-Chief: Marketing & Media at Bizcommunity.com, with a passion for issues of diversity, inclusion and equality, and of course, gourmet food and drinks! She can be reached on Twitter at @Leigh_Andrews.
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