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Meet Nthabeleng Likotsi, South Africa’s First Black Female Bank Owner

Nthabeleng Likotsi is on course to establish the first black women-owned bank in South Africa. Her aim is for the bank to empower black female entrepreneurs with the financial support they lack.

This idea stemed from her believe that not much is happening for black women in her country, South Africa. This is why she comes forward with an idea that will empower women.

33-year old Nthabeleng Likotsi is the executive chairperson of the Young Women in Business Network (YWBN), which she and nine other board members started in 2009. The company, managed by women from different professions and industries, is connected by one goal which is to provide economic empowerment for all female professionals and entrepreneurs.

On the formation of YWBN, Likotsi said, “I asked myself what it meant to be a black young woman in South Africa. And the truth of the matter was that not much is happening for black women,” she said.

She did research and found that stokvels (community-based informal saving groups) contributed billions to the economy yet had no way of harnessing this financial power. Likotsi saw that these groups could be elevated into the investment space, if they were given the opportunity and support, and so could become a much-needed resource for many households across the country.

According to her, “Our theme is built around the women of 1956, who fought for political freedom. We can’t expect them to still fight for us. They are handing over the baton to us, the younger generation.”

She also stated that she is confident that the YWBN Mutual Bank will be fully operational in 2019. “There is no space for negativity. We will not fail.”

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