By Agness Chibeka
Many inspirational and outstanding African women entrepreneurs excelled this year in creating opportunities and positively impacting lives and communities, driving growth for Africa. And this is why The Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) (www.AWIEForum.org) decided to celebrate them by announcing the 2021 AWIEF Awards winners recently.
Out of the 24 women founders and entrepreneurs selected as top finalists by an independent Panel of Judges, 8 winners were announced at the awards ceremony that took place in Johannesburg, with some of the attendees in-person and the rest of the audience virtually watching the ceremony.
Each year the AWIEF Awards recognise, honour and celebrate women entrepreneurs and business owners in Africa and across industry sectors, for their economic performance and contribution to Africa’s growth and social development. These women are celebrated for their passion and determination in making a difference in their countries and on the continent.
An independent Panel of Judges last month selected 24 outstanding women entrepreneurs, as top finalists for the 2021 AWIEF Awards, from over 600 entries and nominations received. The 24 top finalists represented women-owned businesses operating in 11 African countries: Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
It was an absolute delight to judge the AWIEF Awards once again this year. The standard and quality of the nominations and businesses continue to be high,” said Judge Birgitta Cederstrom, Frost & Sullivan’s Business Development Director for Middle East and Africa.
The winners of the 2021 AWIEF Awards in the 8 different categories are:
YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR AWARD
Tao Boyle, Co-founder and COO, FoondaMate (South Africa)
CREATIVE INDUSTRY AWARD
Cynthia Asije, Creative Director, The Adirelounge (Nigeria)
TECH ENTREPRENEUR AWARD
Ivy Barley, Co-founder, Developers in Vogue Foundation (Ghana)
AGRI ENTREPRENEUR AWARD
Hadia M. Gondji, Founder and Managing Director, Hadiya Seed Production and Agro Industry Plc (Ethiopia)
ENERGY ENTREPRENEUR AWARD
Josephine Takundwa, CEO, Earthlink Technologies (Zimbabwe)
SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR AWARD
Gudula Naiga Basaza, Managing Director, Gudie Leisure Farm (Uganda)
Djénéba Gory, Co-founder and COO, Suadela (Mali)
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Margaret Hirsch, Co-founder and Executive Director, Hirsch’s Homestores (South Africa)
“Thank you so much for recognising my work, it means a lot to me. God bless you all’, said Gudula Naiga Basaza, winner of the Social Entrepreneur Award, in a virtual acceptance speech, participating online from her home in Uganda.
Margareth Hirsch felt honoured winning the Lifetime Achievement Award and had an encouraging message for all female entrepreneurs out there: “My mission was to become financially independent so I could make my own choices. We women must become our own financial persons. We are all winners, let us be strong and take over. Know that it is possible. I also started small as entrepreneur. Have faith and persevere, knowing it can be done.”
Renowned South African singer, Yvonne Chaka Chaka graced the event with her awesome performance and entertainment.