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Nthabeleng Likotsi: The Woman Behind SA's First Female Owned Bank

Apr 29, 2021 09:00AM ● By Boitumelo Masihleho

Nthabeleng Likotsi, the founder of Young Women in Business Network (YWBN), is the brains behind South Africa’s very first female-owned bank. The South African Reserve Bank announced it had approved her license to own a mutual bank in late March. Likotsi is a South African accountant, entrepreneur, businesswoman, and community leader. 


Born in Botshabelo, Free State, in 1984, Likotsi holds a master's degree in entrepreneurship from the University of the Witwatersrand, and a certificate in entrepreneurship from the Wits Business School. In 2013, Likotsi received the 2013/2014 Women Leadership Award at the third Africa-India Partnership Summit. She also serves as an independent non-executive director of various companies, including Apex Valves Private Limited, and Ubuntu Plastics Private Limited


She and nine other board members started YWBN in 2009. “I asked myself what it meant to be a young Black woman in South Africa. And the truth of the matter was that not much is happening for Black women,” said Likotsi on the formation of YWBN. YWBN is a broad-based women’s empowerment company, owned, controlled, and managed by women from various professions, businesses, and industries who are dedicated to the economic empowerment of young women and women in general. Since 2016, Likotsi has been working to transform YWBN Cooperative Bank into YWBN Mutual Bank.

When Likotsi and her team submitted their application to the South African Reserve Bank in 2018, they marched from the union buildings to the South African Reserve Bank, reminiscent of The 1956 Women's March. "In history, we have the women who have fought for our political freedom – not just women, but older people. And the question that has always been asked, is what is the younger generation doing? So the young woman is simply responding to that," she said.


Likotsi’s mutual bank is digital. It will be available as an app on cell phones, but she won’t have branches, as it is not a commercial bank. She said the bank offered two products: savings and business loans. “We save R1100 ($77,14) for five years. For loans, if you have a tender, then we will fund you for up to R360 000 ($25 244,38).” She plans to offer shares to the public starting June 1. “We will have different types of shares to offer to different people depending on affordability. The first preference will be given to Black women, as the idea is to have a bank that is majority Black-owned and managed,” she explained.



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This is Africa





 Boitumelo Masihleho is a South African digital content creator. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Rhodes University in Journalism and Media Studies and Politics and International Studies.  

She's an experienced multimedia journalist who is committed to writing balanced, informative and interesting stories on a number of topics. Boitumelo has her own YouTube channel where she shares her love for affordable beauty and lifestyle content.




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