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Winners announced for 2021 Santam Women of the Future Awards

The winners of the seventh annual Santam Women of the Future Awards in association with FAIRLADY and TRUELOVE were announced on 15 October 2021 at an exclusive event held at Atlantic Studios and broadcast via livestream to the public. The awards were emceed by Doreen Morris.

The three winners were selected from a shortlist of nine finalists by a distinguished panel of judges: Professor Thuli Madonsela, Chair in Social Justice at Stellenbosch University and founder of the Social Justice M-Plan and Thuma Foundation; Executive Head of Human Resources at Santam Enid Lizamore; veteran broadcaster, producer and entrepreneur Doreen Morris; social entrepreneur Dawn Nathan-Jones; FAIRLADY editor Suzy Brokensha; and TRUELOVE editor Makhosazana ‘Khosi’ Zwane-Siguqa.

Santam’s many years of supporting women in business in South Africa have given the company valuable insight into the potential pitfalls of the entrepreneurial journey. Santam understands that the first 1 000 days of running a business are the hardest – if you’re still in business by day 1 001, they believe you’re in it for the long haul! These incredibly dynamic women have either surpassed that critical point or are well on their way to doing so.

‘As a sponsor of this event, we are amazed by the excellent quality of participants that come through the Santam Women of the Future Awards every year,’ says Mokaedi Dilotsotlhe, Chief Marketing Officer at Santam. ‘We would like to thank FAIRLADY and TRUELOVE for helping to unearth such great talent, and extend our appreciation to the esteemed panel of judges for the sterling work they do in adjudicating the process. – we hope that these awards will create further momentum for their future success and inspire other women entrepreneurs to greatness.’

We are proud to announce the winners:

Cara Saven of Cara Saven Wall Design is the 2021 Santam Woman of the Future (awarded to a female entrepreneur who has survived the first 1 000 days of business and is on her way to creating an empire). Cara Saven Wall Design is a décor company that designs, curates and produces large-format wallpaper for residential, commercial and hospitality properties. The company has a foothold in the US, Netherlands, Dubai and Australia. Cara has gone on to produce and install wall art in some of the finest hotels, homes and corporate spaces locally and abroad. ‘Winning the Woman of the Future title makes the years of hard work, and juggling being a mother and an entrepreneur all worth it,’ she says. Cara hopes that in three years’ time, Cara Saven Wall Design will have made its mark in 20 regions around the world.

Zandile Mkwanazi of GirlCode is the 2021 Santam Social Entrepreneur (awarded to a female entrepreneur who is making a real difference in her community). GirlCode is a social enterprise that aims to get more women into the tech industry, and facilitates the advancement of their skills through various training and outreach programmes. The company has taught and reached more than 62 000 young South African girls to date. ‘Winning the Santam Social Entrepreneur award affirms the hard work I have put into GirlCode, but I know there’s still a long way to go to close the gender digital divide in South Africa,’ says Zandile, who hopes to teach 10 million girls how to code in the space of 10 years.

Dr Peta-Anne Browne of Wardworx is the 2021 Santam Rising Star (awarded to a young female entrepreneur whose business is still within its first 1 000 days, but which the judges believe will flourish way beyond then). Launched in January 2020, Wardworx is a task management app that securely stores patient information, including ward and bed locations, so that doctors can collaborate on patient care. Winning the Santam Rising Star Award is the encouragement and validation that she needed to keep pushing herself, says Peta-Anne. ‘Being an entrepreneur has its ups and downs. Quite often doubt can set in, but this award is a perfect reminder to female founders that we are on the right track and have something truly special to offer.’ Her dream is for Wardworx to become the first of many youth-led solutions.

The prizes

The Woman of the Future receives R100 000 in cash, and the Social Entrepreneur and Rising Star receive R60 000 in cash each from Santam.

Each of the three winners walked away with:

A full-page advertisement in FAIRLADY or TRUELOVE to promote the business, social enterprise or NPO
An hour’s invaluable mentorship with one of the judges
A one-year supply of African Extracts Rooibos skincare products (beauty sponsor), worth R3 500
A GetSmarter online short course, worth R11 900
Leather accessories, worth R5 000, from Zemp
Business printing, worth R5 000, from Lithotech
A women’s branded watch, worth R6 599, from American Swiss Fine Jewellers
A Samsonite Prodigy Spinner Expandable (55cm) carry-on, worth R5 000
The Santam Readers’ Choice Award, voted for by the public, goes to Vumile Msweli of Hesed Consulting, a career coaching firm for individuals and enterprises, with coaches in South Africa, Nigeria, Rwanda, Botswana and the US. Vumile wins a Golden Circle Mentorship programme from Over the Rainbow worth R5 000.

During the event, the judges participated in a live panel discussion about the tricky issue of building and maintaining a brand or team identity when staff are working from home. Moderated by Doreen Morris, the discussion was followed by a live Q&A session with the online audience. The panel discussion`s take-home message was that as a business owner, you need to be agile, recognise and reward your staff, respect their personal space, and have regular check-in meetings.

‘We believe that the only way for our economy to recover as quickly and inclusively as it needs to is through our entrepreneurs, and FAIRLADY has always believed that South African women lead the pack in that regard,’ says Suzy Brokensha, FAIRLADY editor. ‘There’s an untapped well of talent and originality in this country, and it’s an absolute privilege, every year, to see the very best rise to the top in the Women of the Future Awards. This year’s winners are outstanding, and so are the runners-up. It’s exciting to see so much potential being realised – and what women can achieve when they put their minds to something!’

‘Being part of this journey has been very exciting, and I’m inspired by all the women who participated,’ says TRUELOVE editor Makhosazana ‘Khosi’ Zwane-Siguqa. ‘Over the years, TRUELOVE has been a trusted guide for black women in all areas of their extraordinary and multifaceted lives. We have seen more and more South African women take the plunge and start their own business or organisation. There are proven links between the development of women and the sustainable development of countries. We are therefore thankful and proud to have partnered with Santam in this quest.’

Read more about the winners and their businesses in the November/December issue of FAIRLADY magazine, on sale from 22 October 2021.

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