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Meet the finalists of the Santam Women of the Future Awards

The finalists of the Santam Women of the Future Awards, in association with Fairlady and Truelove, have been announced.
The Santam Women of the Future Awards finalists
The Santam Women of the Future Awards finalists

The panel of judges presiding over the awards this year are:

  • Phuthi Mahanyele-Dabengwa, CEO of Naspers South Africa
  • Thuli Madonsela, chair of Social Justice at Stellenbosch University
  • Dawn Nathan-Jones, entrepreneur and CEO at Over the Rainbow
  • Enid Lizamore, group executive head of Human Resources at Santam
  • Suzy Brokensha, Fairlady editor-in-chief
  • Makhosazana Zwane-Siguqa, Truelove editor-in-chief

“These finalists make me excited about the future, which is what these awards are all about: showcasing the talented, determined women who are helping to transform the South African landscape for all of us, in terms of both our economy and our society,” says Brokensha.

“We went into this year’s project cautiously optimistic of the number of entries we would receive, and once again, our expectations were exceeded,” says Zwane-Siguqa. “We’re thrilled about the number of quality entries we’ve received this year as we slowly rebuild after the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Each of these finalists held it together over the past two years, and deserves recognition for keeping their businesses alive through an unprecedented period of our generation.”

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!

The Santam Women of the Future 2022 finalists are:

Woman of the Future 2022

The 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.

Matsidiso Kolobe of Leseli Creative, a digital agency that brings an African narrative to local brands through indigenous languages by creating innovative strategies, animations and web developments. “If you think you’re too small to make an impact, try sleeping with a mosquito in the room,” Kolobe says.

Monalisa Sibongile Zwambila of the Riverbed, a woman-owned advertising and marketing agency that provides integrated communications services to blue-chip and global clients. “As women, we have to renegotiate our roles in life to ensure that we have the support we need to succeed,” Zwambila says.

Cheryl Ingram of The Media Digital Collective, a specialist e-commerce team that partners with brands to help them build a successful e-commerce presence. “I’ve invested every ounce of energy and spare moment to build something that is not just another agency,” Ingram says.

Social Entrepreneur 2022

The title is awarded to an entrepreneur aged 30 or older who is making a difference in her community. Her business/social enterprise/NPO has survived the first 1,000 days.

Kate Brim-Senekal of the Sparrow Society, an empowerment brand that focuses on creating economic opportunities for women in order to subvert gender-based violence and other social inequalities. “Providing viable economic opportunities for women is crucial – it directly affects the power differentials in the home and the community that create a breeding ground for abuse and exploitation,” she says.

Janna Kretzmar of the Earthchild Project, which offers complementary education to under-resourced schools in Khayelitsha and Lavender Hill in Cape Town, with a focus on the environment, health and life skills. “Children growing up in these communities are faced with a deluge of daily challenges,” says Kretzmar. “For them to reach their full potential, a balanced education that encompasses social, physical and emotional needs, in addition to academic welfare, is required.”

Cherry Armstrong of Celebrate Life SA. Through the Ubuntu Bread­making Oven Project, this organisation has dedicated the past five years to implementing micro bakeries in rural areas. Today, women run 180 micro bakeries in communities countrywide. “We’re creating opportunities, feeding communities, and uplifting and empowering women,” says Armstrong.

Rising Star 2022

The title is awarded to an entrepreneur between 16 and 30 years old who is still within her first 1,000 days, but whose business, the judges believe, will flourish way beyond them.

Amahle Ntshinga of Luntu, a conscious online store that sources products from suppliers who come from marginalised groups. Today, Luntu is doing business in 24 countries across six continents. “I wanted people like me – who care about shopping for local, black-owned, women-owned and/or environmentally friendly products – to buy these items easily,” says Ntshinga.

Amanda Sibiya of Branding Africa, which helps African entrepreneurs develop strategy-led brands through brand-building programmes, strategy workshops and other services, catering specifically for African entrepreneurs in their local markets and communities. “The Africa of my dreams is a prosperous Africa where we represent innovation in the global landscape, take advantage of our heritage and where our youth occupy high seats at the tables of people who make policies to benefit African people,” Sibiya says.

Zanele Ngcobo of BNK Solar, which provides turnkey solar solutions and assists clients with energy management systems and energy efficiency solutions. “I started BNK Solar from my bedroom,” says Ngcobo. “Our first project was installing one solar panel. Today, we have a dedicated office for our team and a single project sees us installing 200 panels.”

Women of the Future are opening up voting for the Readers’ Choice Award. To cast your vote, go here or SMS the name of the finalist you want to vote for to 37174. SMS’s cost R1,50.

The winners will be announced at an exclusive VIP luncheon in Johannesburg on 14 October 2022.

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