Meet the Entrepreneur Behind the Newest Black Woman-Owned Bank

Nthabeleng Likotsi, one of the first Black women to own a bank
Nthabeleng Likotsi, founder of YWBN Mutual Bank

Nthabeleng Likotsi, a 33-year old Black woman from South Africa who co-founded the Young Women in Business Network (YWBN), has always been determined to turn her cooperative financial institution to a mutual bank. It seems rather challenging, but she has already been set to do it and become the first black woman owner of a bank in South Africa.
Having seen the potential in Black women yet the lack of support for them, Likotsi, who was raised in a family of businesspeople, knew she had to do something.

"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.

Upon doing some research, she discovered that stokvels or community-based informal saving groups actually contributed billions to the economy yet it hasn't been given significance. She realized that if given enough opportunity and support, it could become an essential resource across the country.

Thus, she had an idea of creating "black wealth." To achieve that goal, she thought of putting up a bank that would really understand the needs of black entrepreneurs. It led to the formation of Young Women in Business Network (YWBN), a cooperative financial institution with over 420 shareholders ages 16 to 75 and has generated 4.2 million Rand in investment.

In the previous year, Likotsi, who served as the chairperson of YWBN (, has been working to meet with the South African Reserve Bank to turn the cooperative into a mutual bank. Last week, she and the 1956 Women's March veterans marched from the Union Buildings to SARB to submit their application.

Not the first, but one of the first

The first Black woman to start a bank was actually Maggie L. Walker in the 1920's. Her bank, St. Luke's Penny Savings, was based in Richmond, Virginia, and she was also known locally as the owner of a newspaper, a humanitarian, a teacher, and more.

Others include Kiko Davis, the trustee of the Donald Davis Living Trust, the majority stockholder of First Independence Bank based in the Detroit, Michigan area. She is currently the only African American, female bank owner in the United States.
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