Awards for top business ‘queens’

Guests show their support for the winners of this year’s Regional Businesswoman of The Year Awards at The Venue on Saturday evening. Image: Mark Andrews

Sixteen years of celebrating and honouring outstanding East London women in business for their contribution to the economy and society have just gone “royal”.

The Businesswomen’s Association (BWA) East London on Saturday evening hosted their annual Regional Businesswoman of the Year Awards (RBWOYA) event, where “queens” were crowned as the best in the business.

Morné Le Roux, Investec private bank’s head of Banking Eastern and Southern Cape, described the winners as women who were able to turn projects into something of extraordinary value.

“We are proud to partner with the Businesswomen’s Association, East London, to host the Regional Businesswoman of the Year Awards, which celebrates excellence in the business, corporate, professional and social arena.

“We are honoured to recognise these remarkable women,” said Le Roux. The 400 guests at The Venue@Hemingways were gathered under the theme “A Royal Event”.

The winners were judged under six categories: emerging entrepreneur, entrepreneur, corporate, professional, social entrepreneur and women in government.

Vuyo Sidelo, of Capsun Trade & Invest (trading as CSSA and Entecom), scooped the emerging entrepreneur category.

Sidelo ventured out solo to own and become a shareholder of CSSA consulting and Entecom food safety training and consulting franchise.

She specialises in business development and software, and the Entecom franchise specialises in food safety training and consulting.

Afika Mbandazayo, the much-loved stylist who has touched the heads and faces of the biggest names in South Africa including Bonang Matheba, was crowned regional entrepreneur of the year.

Mandisa Dukashe, of Zanoncedo Empowerment Centre, scooped the social entrepreneur category.

Dukashe, an Aids activist, has over the past 12 years established her organisation in Chalumna, where she champions health and community systems aimed at strengthening HIV programmes.

Wandisa Vazi, of Transnet Port Terminals, was named the winner in the women in government category.

In the corporate category, Sandra Lyn Pelser, of Nedbank, was named winner, with professor Lana Weldon, of the University of Fort Hare, claiming the professional category.

The event, long a fixture on the East London business calendar, has over the years attracted sponsors such as Investec, Mercedes-Benz SA and the IDC.

The Daily Dispatch is the media partner, Hemingways mall the venue partner, with Harry’s Printers providing partnership as well.

BWA East London chairwoman Ruth Troskie said the awards provided a platform to showcase women achievers with the hope of inspiring other women to reach for their dreams.

“Congratulations to these phenomenal women, who discernibly signify that ‘the economy is a woman’, through their noteworthy impact on our local economy and our community,” said Troskie.

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