It’s written in the stars for these women of the future

3 min read 15 October 2021

With the world celebrating Entrepreneurship Month in November, it is the perfect opportunity to highlight the achievements of local businesspeople. This is why Santam is proud to announce the winners of the seventh annual Santam Women of the Future Awards, in association with FAIRLADY and TRUELOVE.

The winners in each of this year’s three categories were: Zanele Mkwanazi, who took home the award for Social Entrepreneur, Cara Saven who won the award for Woman of the Future and Dr Peta-Anne Browne who got the nod for Rising Star.

“SMEs are the backbone of this nation, and we must create an enabling environment for them to thrive. We have been blown away by the vision and determination of this year’s winners; it gives us the utmost hope for the future of this country,” says, Enid Lizamore, HR Executive at Santam and part of the panel of judges.

Keen to ensure that women are empowered to take every opportunity in the fourth industrial revolution, Mkwanazi won her award for founding GirlCode, an NPO aimed at empowering young women in the tech space by teaching them how to code. Getting young girls to participate in this industry is crucial and that is why, before the pandemic, GirlCode hosted the largest annual all-women hackathon in the country, with more than 300 participants. It now aims to teach 10 million girls to code within 10 years.

“There’s never been a better time for women to take ownership of whatever it is they want to achieve in life. Because nobody is coming to save us. We must save ourselves. We have to be advocates for ourselves and we have to stand up for each other,” said Mkwanazi.

Dr Peta-Anne Browne is the creator of Wardworx, an app for doctors by doctors. Wardworx simplifies the work of doctors in public hospitals by streamlining patient task lists and allowing doctors to share their workload with other doctors on the team in real-time.

“By winning, I hope to inspire other young doctors, especially women, to innovate to solve the problems they face on a daily basis,” said Browne.

Winner of the Woman of the Future award Cara Saven launched Saven Wall Design back in 2016. Since then, her business has gone on to produce wall art for some of South Africa’s finest hotels, homes, and corporate spaces. It has become a leading name in bespoke wall designs, canvases, framed prints, and vinyl wall art with branches in the US, Dubai, The Netherlands, and Australia.

“I always felt conflicted about having to put my business goals on ice for the years when my kids were small. But now, winning this award, I know it was all worth the sacrifice, the hard work, the gut feeling that I had something big that I was sitting on. I just needed the time to grow it,” said Saven.

Each winner received a cash prize, a free full-page advertisement in FAIRLADY or TRUELOVE, mentorship from one of the judges, and an R11 900 voucher to study online short courses with GetSmarter, among a host of prizes.

“The entrepreneurs who entered this year’s awards have been a shining light in trying times, inspiring us with their entrepreneurial spirit, commitment to seeing their business ideas through, and resilience. Their determination and the impact they are making in their communities is a testament to the positive impact women have on the South African economy,” adds Enid Lizamore.

This year’s awards were presided over by a stellar judging panel that included: Professor Thuli Madonsela (Chair of Social Justice at Stellenbosch University and founder of the Social Justice M-Plan and the Thuma Foundation), Dawn Nathan-Jones (social entrepreneur and professional speaker), Doreen Morris (television producer and presenter, broadcasting veteran and entrepreneur), Enid Lizamore (Group Executive Head of Human Resources at Santam), Suzy Brokensha (FAIRLADY editor) and Makhosazana Zwane-Siguqa (TRUELOVE editor).

Enid Lizamore concludes, “Having spent many years supporting women in business in South Africa, Santam has gained valuable insight into the potential pitfalls of the entrepreneurial journey. We are committed to helping business owners thrive by helping them to protect the legacy that they’re building.”