Just 33, Nthabeleng Likotsi is currently the executive chairperson of the Young Women in Business Network (YWBN), which was founded by her and nine other board members.  Formed in 2009, the goal of (YWBN) is to provide economic empowerment for all female professionals and entrepreneurs.

As the chairperson of the YWBN Co-operative Bank, Likotsi has continued to push through the aim of YWBN by working to meet South African Reserve Bank requirements in order to move YWBN from being a cooperative to a mutual bank. For Likotsi who is on a course to establish the first black women-owned bank in South Africa. Her aim for the bank is to empower black female entrepreneurs with the financial support they lack.

On Friday, 15 June 2018, she and veterans of the 1956 Women’s March trooped from the Union Buildings to the South African Reserve Bank to submit their application.

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.

Giving an insight into the bank’s goal, Likotsi did a research focusing on community based informal saving groups where she discovered that these groups contributed billions to the economy but yet had no way of harnessing 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.

This gives an insight into her goal which is to create black wealth. She realised that this could only be achieved through a bank that understood and was dedicated to a black entrepreneurial space and that was what led to the formation of YWBN cooperative financial institution; a company managed by women from different professions and industries and currently has 420 shareholders from age 16 to 75 which has collectively generated R4,2 million in investment.

Kudos to Nthabeleng Likotsi!

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