Veuve Clicquot has selected 6 entrepreneurial women as finalists for the annual Veuve Clicquot Bold Woman Award in South Africa. For over 50 years, true to the heritage of its trailblazing leader, Madame Clicquot, the Bold programme has highlighted and empowered remarkable women in business.
In honour of her audacious spirit, the Veuve Clicquot Bold Woman Award was launched to celebrate daring businesswomen like Madame Clicquot, who, at just 27 years of age, took over the reins of the House. In the year 1805, women were not allowed to work, yet her widow status permitted her to do so. She seized the opportunity and dared to invent new processes such as the riddling table, the first vintage champagne, and the very first blend of rosé champagne. Within a few years Madame Clicquot made her name into a brand of excellence and irrevocably became the “Grande Dame of Champagne’’.
The 6 finalists for 2023 have proven to be innovative and transformational within their industries, despite the challenges they face. These are the female entrepreneurs who prove, like Madame Clicquot, that leading with a clear vision and success against the odds, are possible.
To gather insights and provide concrete data on the evolution of female entrepreneurship, the Bold Barometer by Veuve Clicquot provides a unique, multicultural, and intergenerational dataset. Now in its third year, over 49,000 women and men in 25 countries were surveyed. The 2023 South African edition reveals, promisingly, that of the women surveyed, 61% are entrepreneurs, a figure on the rise since 2019. Further, 88% of South African female entrepreneurs believe that role models are a must-have element of entrepreneurial success. This data provides a powerful litmus and is a compelling study that continually drives the Bold programme to support and champion the women who dare to become entrepreneurs.
To facilitate the essential connection highlighted by the Bold Barometer, the finalists took part in an immersive adjudication and mentorship process. The esteemed jury panel who had the challenge of engaging with each finalist included: former Bold Woman Award winners Amanda Dambuza (Founder & CEO of Uyandiswa) and Gugu Sithole (Founder of Glamping Adventures); industry leaders Erik Kruger (Founder of Modern Breed and co-host of The Expansive Podcast), Nomndeni Mdakhi (Founder of Agenda Women) and Happy Ralinala (Director of Palesa Mbali Group); as well as brand representatives Carole Bildé (Chief Marketing & Communications Officer, Veuve Clicquot) and Aimee Kellen (Head of Consumer Engagement, Moët Hennessy Africa and Middle East).
Through their Veuve Clicquot Bold Woman Award nomination, the 6 finalists will share their journeys with the world, inspiring others to follow suit. The winners will join an influential community of bold businesswomen walking in the footsteps of Madame Clicquot – whose tenacity and creativity continue to define entrepreneurial success today.
THE VEUVE CLICQUOT BOLD WOMAN AWARD
This award recognises the trailblazing businesswomen of today, celebrating those with a proven track record of success, who have demonstrated evolution and transformation in their field. The 3 finalists selected are:
ANDISWA XOZWA – FOUNDER & CEO OF OKUHLE PROJECT MANAGEMENT
Andiswa, the driving force behind Okuhle Project Management, has grown a powerful team comprising of 70% of black women. Okuhle delivers crucial infrastructure services to marginalised local communities and fosters a holistic cycle of upliftment by actively engaging black woman-owned subcontractors and suppliers.
Operating within the realm of infrastructure development in the construction industry, Andiswa’s most significant accomplishment lies in her role as a catalyst for transformative change. Her commitment to skills transfer within the surrounding communities has become the cornerstone of her company. By prioritising increased participation and the empowerment of women and youth, Andiswa has flipped the traditional narrative, paving the way for a brighter and more inclusive future in the industry.
“My goal is to show young women that even when coming from the dusty streets of Daveyton, it can be done. The role of the black woman is at the forefront of the economy, and we must be brave in assuming these positions.”
CLAIRE BLANCKENBERG – FOUNDER & CEO OF REEL GARDENING
At the age of 16, Claire attempted to grow vegetables to earn her pocket money and during this period of challenge and self-discovery she had an epiphany – she planned to answer the need for simple and cost-effective sustainable vegetable cultivation.
While studying architecture, Claire designed housing that required a simple food security solution. Enter Garden in a Box, a patented concept designed to feed a family of 4. By encasing seeds and essential nutrients within the colour-coded paper tape, positioned at the precise depth beneath the soil, the process of planting and nurturing food was simplified and made financially accessible to all.
“I want to empower every woman who works for me to also be a bold woman.” By supporting previously unemployed mothers, Reel Gardening has a profound social impact. Not only does the product itself enable individuals to nourish themselves, but its creation catalyses transformative change.
TEBOGO MOSITO – FOUNDER AND CEO OF DITSOGO GROUP
Growing up in a rural village in Rustenburg near the platinum mines, Tebogo’s interest in the mining industry was nurtured from a young age. Entering an almost exclusively male-dominated sector did not deter Tebogo, but rather ignited a tenacity to create viable and safe opportunities for women to add value in this thriving industry.
For over a decade, Tebogo has managed a steel engineering and mining services company, steering it toward success. She takes great pride in the business which boasts a 100% black, female-led foundation. Fostering a network of women, united in support and mentorship, Ditsogo enables an environment of collective growth and empowerment.
“As a woman you need to prove yourself twice over, to show that you are capable.” Tebogo’s indomitable spirit transcends barriers as she paves the way for a new era of inclusivity and gender equality within the mining industry.
THE VEUVE CLICQUOT BOLD FUTURE AWARD
This award celebrates the female leaders of tomorrow, honouring those with a growing track record of success who have demonstrated transformation and evolution in their field. The 3 finalists selected are:
BATHABILE MOREKI – FOUNDER OF THE PERFUME CO. AFRICA
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the sale of essential oils as remedies catalysed the inception of a locally manufactured fragrance business. Driven by a commitment to empower individuals through meaningful employment, Bathabile established a wholesale business specialising in oil-based perfumes. This venture provides distribution opportunities and allows aspiring entrepreneurs to embrace ownership through a franchise model.
In a display of entrepreneurial prowess, Bathabile sold over 20,000 bottles within 12 months of business, mentoring more than 2,000 individuals, predominantly women, and youth from townships and rural regions. Transcending geographical boundaries, the business has also expanded into neighbouring countries including Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, and Mozambique.
“Yes, I thought what if I fail, but I was like, what if I make it?” With a commitment to building thriving businesses that foster genuine community participation, The Perfume Co. Africa’s success is a testament to the far-reaching impact of empowerment and ownership.
MAHLATSE MAMAILA – FOUNDER, INO BIODIESEL
During the hard lockdown, Mahlatse realised that one-third of farmers in Gauteng struggled to source clean fuel to harvest and deliver their crops. Identifying an opportunity to use waste cooking oil to produce biodiesel, she pivoted into the renewable energy sector. “I believe that where there is a challenge, there is always a solution.”
Via a sustainable supply chain that supports local communities, Mahlatse produces a substitute for petroleum diesel by processing waste cooking oil into biodiesel, a clean fuel. The use of biodiesel increases energy security, improves air quality, and protects the environment by reducing greenhouse gases.
From producing only 5,000 litres of fuel in the first month, Mahlatse is audaciously pursuing opportunities to grow the business and assist local communities despite challenges and learning curves. “When I get rejected, I no longer feel it, because I know that it is all part of the journey.”
ZAMA NGCOBO – FOUNDER, WMN ATTORNEYS INC.
With a desire to create a safe space for young black female lawyers to flourish, Zama founded WMN Attorneys Inc. (an acronym for women), a uniquely positioned, boutique commercial law firm.
What started as a courageous solo endeavour in Johannesburg grew to a team of 10 legal professionals with a second office in Durban in two and a half years. Providing specialist advice in a male-dominated industry – across the mining, energy, oil, and gas sectors
– Zama has created a thriving firm that prioritises the progress of women at its core.
Promoting a grass-roots approach to the development of legal practitioners, Zama’s vision extends beyond the confines of her firm. By engaging with the youth to provide access to meaningful opportunities and education, she is empowering the next generation to reach their full potential. “I was determined not to just start a law
firm, but also make a lot of noise about it. We’re here, we’re young, we’re black, we’re female and we’re really, really good.”
The Veuve Clicquot Bold Woman Award ceremony takes place on 19 July in Johannesburg and will reveal one winner in each of the two categories. The Veuve Clicquot Bold Woman Award winner will have the opportunity to travel to Reims, France for an immersion in the history, tradition, and luxury of Maison Veuve Clicquot. The laureates will join the ranks of an illustrious list of over 450 winners in 27 countries who have been elevated by this coveted global award.
About the Bold Woman Award
In 1805, Madame Clicquot took the reins of the House after the death of her husband, at a time when women did not have the right to work or even hold a bank account. Over the years, she revolutionized the sector. To mark its 200th anniversary, Veuve Clicquot decided to pay tribute to this great, daring woman, and in 1972 created the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award (Bold Woman Award), followed by the Clémentine Award (Bold Future Award) in 2014. For nearly 50 years, the House has honored and featured women who have built, taken on, or developed a business – to date, over 450 women across 27 countries. In response to society’s evolution since 1972, starting in 2019 the award has been part of an international program: Bold by Veuve Clicquot, a series of initiatives to generate conversations around the world, designed for more impact and inclusiveness.
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