Two Western Cape women in agriculture have been named among the world’s top women entrepreneurs in the 2019 Enterprising Women Awards.
The awards, which are run annually by the US based Enterprising Women magazine, honour entrepreneurs in seven categories based on the size of their business.
Denise Stubbs of Thokozani wines, and Jeanne Groenewald of Elgin Chickens, both from the Western Cape, have been named as winners in their respective categories.
Denise was one of 20 female winners in the category ‘winners in the up to US$1 million in annual sales’ category. These female entrepreneurs will attend a conference in Florida at the end of March 2019.
Winners must demonstrate that they run fast growth businesses, that they mentor or actively support women and girls in entrepreneurship, and they must stand out as leaders in their communities.
Thokozani, the Diemersfontein wines empowerment initiative in which farm workers were given a share of the business, has seen excellent success over the years, with their Ovation wine label being stocked in Woolworths stores.
“Thokozani is not just a shining example of transformation in the agricultural sector in the Western Cape, it’s grown into an internationally recognised, sustainable business venture under the leadership of Denise Stubbs,” Minister Schäfer said.
This morning, Thokozani hosted a South Africa- European Union roundtable discussion on trends, sustainability and empowerment in the wine industry, attended by Minister Schafer, the EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström, and head of department for the Western Cape’s Department of Agriculture, Joyene Isaacs.
Elgin chickens has won several local awards, and Jeanne Groenewald was named as one of the winners in the Department of Agriculture’s Female Entrepreneur of the Year awards in 2018.
“Jeanne Groenewald has taken Elgin from a few backyard chickens to a major business which now employs over 600 people, over the two decades she has been in business,” Minister Schäfer said.
“These two women are the only South Africans to have been recognised among some of the world’s top entrepreneurs and are in illustrious company on the list. We congratulate them on winning this award, which not only recognises their business leadership, but also the role they play in building up their communities and in developing other women entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship is often tough, and requires tenacity and heart and through their hard work, Denise and Jeanne have built businesses which create jobs and allow people to meaningfully participate in the economy,” she said.