PROWEB is a Zimbabwean women’s empowerment network – working to encourage and empower local entrepreneurial women to speak with one voice and harness their talents and skills for the good of Zimbabwe.

Bongani Makoni is one of the founding members of Lance Financial Services and today we’re sharing her story, some highlights from her business journey and the ways PROWEB have helped hone her business skills.

Bongani Makoni joined PROWEB’s training and mentoring programme a year ago to expand her skills and business opportunities. Since then she’s been working to uphold her company’s vision of: 'Providing affordable finance solutions to those that cannot readily access it – ensuring that marginalised people, especially women in rural communities, have access to essential financial services.'

Virgin Unite, PROWEB, Bongani Makoni

A predominantly female-run business, Lance funds community projects that provide education and training about agricultural value chain financing. This type of finance connects the smallholder to a buyer, a financier (Lance), technical assistance on best farming practices, as well as provisions on inputs for the project. 

Bongani joined PROWEB to help propel the business forward, improve work processes and focus more on work etiquette and ethics within Lance. “I instantly saw the benefits of the programme after taking part in training workshops and meeting other participants” she said.

The PROWEB team were equally as impressed with Bongani and have asked her to represent them and speak at Daring Damsels – an event for high school students from various schools in Harare.

Bongani joined PROWEB to help propel the business forward, improve work processes and focus more on work etiquette and ethics within Lance

PROWEB paired Bongani with a business trainer and a mentor - Linda Musesengwa – a consultant who has opened Bongani’s mind to a new way of looking at business. These mentoring sessions plus additional PROWEB training sessions have improved Bongani’s future planning and increased her management and accountability knowledge – she works now to not only contribute to the agriculture sector, but also to help empower women and contribute to the Reserve Bank’s Financial Inclusion Strategy.

Bongani has become an ambassador to the microfinance sector and a strong advocate of sustainable development solutions assisting women out of poverty.

Virgin Unite, PROWEB, Bongani Makoni

Bongani was recently first-placed runner up in this year’s Megafest Women’s Award for most “Outstanding Woman in Entrepreneurship 2016” – Megafest Holdings is one of the most recognised awards in Zimbabwe. In September she also won the first runner up award from the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) – the award was for the Women in Enterprise & Conference Awards (WECA) in the Banking and Finance Category.

Next steps and hopes include getting a scholarship in the finance sector to fortify the vision and mission set out by Lance Financial Services. With the support of her board and her employees, Bongani is aiming to work hard in order to change and mould the image of the microfinance sector in Zimbabwe and increase the agriculture and productive sector of the nation to rebuild the economy.

To learn more about inspirational entrepreneurship in the region visit PROWEB website and follow the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship South Africa on Facebook and Twitter.