When Rose Sibisi started her own firm five years ago, she only had a vague idea of running a business.
“I had no entrepreneurial background and no business plan to talk about, which is why I sort of went into what I already knew to do,” she says.
Ms Sibisi, a customer communications specialist, gained extensive experience working with top brands in Zambia and South Africa, including DHL Zambia, Multichoice Zambia, MTN Zambia, Sony SA, Samsung SA, BMW SA, as well as Charities Aid Foundation. Over her 25-year corporate life, she gained wide experience in event management, branding, social and corporate communications.
So, she started her firm, Style With Roses, an events management and communications company, in 2012 even though she only had a vague idea of running a business. “It was a question of timing and how I was going to put the concept together, and having the strength and courage of putting something together,” she says.
Today, Style With Roses has morphed into a lifestyle brand that has launched a TV talkshow. The TV talkshow is geared towards teaching, inspiring and challenging viewers across the African continent to pursue their purpose and fulfil their destiny. This informative talk-show aims to motivate and sprout a blossoming pan-African social fabric, driving national and economic impact by showcasing self-made women entrepreneurs, women game changers, women trailblazers and women innovators.
The show features compelling interviews and profiles personal biographies of upcoming, successful and inspirational women personalities or collaborative initiatives across Africa. It is a visual mentoring and learning tool that inspires change, to add to social and economic development across the globe; starting with Africa.
In December 2016, a popular DSTV Channel, Zambezi Magic, which broadcasts in six African countries asked her to provide them with the episodes she had so far recorded. In March 2017, the talkshow premiered on the channel and has been fantastic since. But Ms Sibisi is not comfortable with where she is, and wants to move levels higher.
Recently, Ms Sibisi was part of a group of more than 20 women entrepreneurs who received top-class entrepreneurial training under the auspices of Stanbic Bank’s Anakazi Banking, a banking proposition that seeks to empower women entrepreneurs by giving them access to capital, education and business mentorship.
Anakazi Banking focuses on both increased access to finance and capacity building activities for women entrepreneurs. These platforms include training, mentorship and networking events to build knowledge in business management and access to markets, as well as assistance in business formalisation.
Top trainers from Babson College, a private business school in Massachusetts, United States - whose central focus on entrepreneurship education has made it the most prestigious entrepreneurship college in the US - were in the country to conduct the four-day training.
Professors Patricia Greene, a Professor of Entrepreneurship, and Richard Bliss, a Professor of Finance, were training the Zambian women entrepreneurs using modules of the globally acclaimed Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women initiative.
Launched in 2008, the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women is a global initiative that fosters economic growth by providing women entrepreneurs around the world with a business and management education, mentoring and networking, and access to capital.
To date, the initiative has reached over 18,000 women from around the world and has resulted in immediate and sustained business growth for graduates of the programme.
“When I was invited for the training, it was absolutely mind-blowing and phenomenal. The training was about equipping us with the leadership skills and the knowledge we need to make critical decisions for our businesses as well as to identify new opportunities. The information we were given is information you’d not ordinarily access. If you had to pay for this information, you’d pay a lot of money but here we are, we got it for free,” she says.
Ms Sibisi says the training has opened more avenues for her project.
“I’m now looking at Stanbic Bank from a different perspective. It’s not just a financial institution but someone who’s interested in what I’m doing, in my vision and in my life. When a financial institution treats you with that attention and respect, it gives you the added drive and confidence to know that if you have the support and somebody cheering you on, you can achieve great things that you didn’t think yourself capable of,” she says.
Ms Sibisi’s involvement with Anakazi banking was more coincidental than planned. Along the journey of her talk show she happened to engage with key members of Stanbic Bank hoping to secure sponsorship for the talk show. Coincidentally, she was given a role to be a co-host the catwalk fashion show at the launch of Anakazi Banking
“I learnt a lot about Anakazi banking and how it could help me, and I absolutely loved it. I had accounts with other banks, both private and business but because of the relationship with Stanbic I thought that sat well with all the partnering opportunities I’ve had with the bank. It made sense that I bring my accounts to Stanbic,” she says. Going forward, Ms Sibisi says there’s a lot of hard work that she need to put in to move her business forward, and that the training has given her the best platform to do so.
“One thing I took out of the training session was the ability to see the side opportunities from our core businesses that we can venture into,” she says.