The panel of judges for the 2021 Santam Women of the Future Awards, in association with Fairlady and TrueLove has been announced.
Professor Thuli Madonsela, Dawn Nathan-Jones, Doreen Morris, Enid Lizamore, Suzy Brokenshac and Makhosazana Zwane-Siguqa.
Professor Thuli Madonsela
Chair of Social Justice at Stellenbosch University, and founder of the Social Justice M-Plan and the Thuma Foundation, Professor Madonsela has been part of the judging panel since the inception of the awards. She’s a recipient of several international accolades as well as the co-author of children’s book Melo’s Kingdom. Professor Madonsela knows that, win or lose, platforms such as Women of the Future are valuable to entrepreneurs.
She believes that to be an entrepreneur, you need an idea, passion and the ability to work hard. "I am looking for women who are building a world they want to live in," says Professor Madonsela. "They also need to be looking to the future, and the impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution."
Television producer, presenter, broadcasting veteran and entrepreneur, Doreen Morris brings a unique and experienced perspective to the panel. She understands the importance of a vote of confidence.
"It is very important for women to support other women in business and beyond – that has certainly been my experience in my own career," she says.
Morris believes that the representation of women in South African business spheres is imperative. "I began my career at a time when diversity was not a priority; now, it has become so important to pay attention to the advancement and support of female entrepreneurs. I will be taking note of women who have found innovative ways to respond to pressing needs in society, whose impact is far-reaching, and who find time to empower and mentor other women."
Social entrepreneur, professional speaker and fourth-time judge, Dawn Nathan-Jones believes this competition is the perfect platform to give the women of South Africa opportunities, recognition and encouragement.
"Many entrepreneurs used the pandemic as a catalyst and opportunity to transform their businesses from the present to the new future," she says.
"Entrepreneurs are optimistic by nature and build nimble businesses to adapt quickly to change; they are also constantly looking for new ideas. This innovation is what will help alleviate the unemployment crisis we face. I am looking for businesswomen who have demonstrated adaptability in the face of fragility, hope in times of fear and resilience over adversity. I will take note of women who are forward-thinking and who have been able to successfully lead people through times of uncertainty."
Enid Lizamore, executive head of Human Resources at Santam, offers insight into the world of transformation and what entrepreneurial support can look like across various industries. She believes female entrepreneurs will play a significant role in the future of South Africa’s economy, and encourages entrepreneurs to never lose sight of their business goals, more so during these trying economic times.
"I am passionate about seeing women lead and drive change and have thus made it my responsibility to try to pave a pathway of opportunities for them," she says. "I am looking for courageous women who display tenacity, a hunger to empower others, and a willingness to build a bigger, brighter South Africa."
Fairlady editor Suzy Brokensha is a veteran in the magazine publishing industry. She believes that women can make a crucial difference to South Africa’s fragile economy.
"South African women are real entrepreneurs in the sense that they are resilient free-thinkers," says Suzy. "When your electricity is being cut off regularly, or you can’t rely on public transport or other public services, you need to be able to think on your feet. That toughness and make-a-plan attitude stood us in good stead during the pandemic, and I think many of the businesses that survived the past two years are really going to fly now. I am looking for a business that has managed to thrive despite difficult circumstances, because I know the woman behind it will be a powerhouse."
Makhosazana ‘Khosi’ Zwane-Siguqa
TrueLove editor Makhosazana ‘Khosi’ Zwane-Siguqa is a multi-award-winning journalist and editor. She says that South African women have been carrying the country's formal and informal economies for a long time. "The past 18 months have once again proven how resilient women and women-led organisations are," says Khosi. "Internationally and locally, women have demonstrated exemplary leadership by making hard decisions with heart. I’m looking for an organisation with heart."
Santam, Fairlady and TrueLove are looking for the most impactful, resilient and inspiring female entrepreneurs in the country. If you’ve started a business recently, have been running your own enterprise for a while or know of an enterprising woman, they want to hear from you.
Entrepreneurs can win one of three titles:
The Santam Woman of the Future title is awarded to an entrepreneur aged 30 or older whose business is more than 1,000 days old and who is well on her way to establishing an extensive enterprise.
The Santam Rising Star title is awarded to an entrepreneur between 16 and 30 years old who is still within her first 1,000 days, but whose business, our judges believe, will flourish way beyond them.
The Santam Social Entrepreneur title is awarded to an entrepreneur aged 30 or older who is making a real difference in her community. Her business/social enterprise/NPO has survived the first 1,000 days.
The prizes awarded to the three winners:
R100,000 in cash to the Woman of the Future and R60,000 in cash each to the Rising Star and the Social Entrepreneur from Santam
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
With over R540,000 worth of prizes, winning a Santam Women of the Future Award is a true game-changer. With Santam’s business expertise, and the networking, contacts and inspiration of Fairlady and TrueLove, we’ll take you and your business to greater heights.