Santam Women of the Future Awards l Entries are now open!

Santam, FAIRLADY and TRUELOVE are looking for the most impactful, resilient and inspiring women entrepreneurs in the country. Whether you’ve just started a new business or have been running your own business for a while, we want to hear from you!


Now in its ninth year, the awards recognise and celebrate outstanding achievements by women entrepreneurs, because we believe women who run their own businesses have a huge role to play in our country’s economy. We are also proud to announce that internationally renowned beauty brand Lancôme has joined the awards as a partner.


Santam is once again offering its valuable support to the awards. The company’s many years of empowering women in business in South Africa have given it valuable insight into the potential pitfalls of the entrepreneurial journey. “Santam understands that the first 1 000 days of running a business are the hardest – if you’re still in business by day 1 001, we believe you’re in it for the long haul,” says Andrew Coutts, CEO: Santam Broker Solutions.




Nonkululeko Gobodo, CEO of Awakened Global

Our 2023 guest judge is entrepreneur, leader and trailblazer Nonkululeko Gobodo, CEO of professional coaching agency Awakened Global. In 1987, she became the first black African woman to qualify as a chartered accountant in South Africa. She is the former chairman and a founding member of SizweNtsalubaGobodo, now SNG Grant Thornton, the largest black-owned auditing and accounting firm (and the fifth-largest overall) in South Africa. Nonkululeko is the recipient of many business accolades, is the author of Awakened to my True Self, and sits on the boards of several companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and Nasdaq.


What Nonkululeko will be looking for: ‘I am looking for an entrepreneur who has clarity of vision for her business and who has shown resilience through challenging times.’


Professor Thuli Madonsela, Law Trust Chair in Social Justice at Stellenbosch University’s Faculty of Law

Professor Thuli Madonsela has been part of the judging panel for the past nine years. As Director of the Centre for Social Justice and Law professor at the University of Stellenbosch, she coordinates social justice research and teaches constitutional and administrative law.


Widely respected for her work as South Africa’s Public Protector, Thuli was named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in 2014. In 2018, she was awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany and was appointed as a Knight of the Legion of Honour, France’s highest decoration. She founded the Thuma Foundation, an independent democracy leadership and literacy social enterprise, and is convenor of the Social Justice M-Plan. Thuli has also co-authored a children’s book, Melo’s Kingdom.


She believes it is often entrepreneurs who think outside the box who contribute to solving problems in society.


What Thuli will be looking for: ‘I am looking for an entrepreneur who is building a just world that she would want to live in. She also needs to be an environmentally conscious problem-solver who is leveraging technology, digitalisation and artificial intelligence to improve current and future life.’


Dawn Nathan-Jones, entrepreneur and CEO at Over the Rainbow

This is Dawn Nathan-Jones’s sixth time as a judge. She is passionate about mentorship and entrepreneurship. At 21, Dawn joined the Imperial Group and spent 35 years growing the car-rental and affiliate businesses. In 2016, she stepped down as CEO to immerse herself in experiences that would allow her to give back; now, she spends her time empowering women entrepreneurs through multiple initiatives Most recently, Dawn joined forces with Lesley Waterkeyn of Over the Rainbow, a social enterprise that provides entrepreneurs with the tools to assist them in building thriving businesses.

What Dawn will be looking for: ‘I am looking for entrepreneurs who demonstrate leadership and resilience, and who are passionate about improving the quality of life in their communities. It is important to support and empower other women to succeed in their own right.’


Norah Sehunoe, Executive Head of Human Resources at Santam

Another fresh addition to the judging panel is Norah Sehunoe of Santam. Her 20-year career spans the entire human resources value-chain, and she has worked with several business executive teams to unlock their potential.

Norah believes that the future of South Africa depends on our youth and entrepreneurship. ‘We will never win the war against unemployment and poverty if we do not encourage and support entrepreneurship, both through teaching it to our youth and by having platforms that support it – platforms such as the Santam Women of the Future Awards.’

What Norah will be looking for: ‘I am looking for authentic entrepreneurs who can see past all the hardships and challenges and remain hopeful – women who understand their impact, but be future-oriented enough to inspire those around them.’


Suzy Brokensha, FAIRLADY Editor-in-Chief

A veteran of the magazine publishing industry, Suzy Brokensha has been at the helm of iconic South African magazine FAIRLADY through many transitions. She believes that female entrepreneurship can transform the local landscape, not only economically but also in terms of gender equality.

‘It’s hard to overstate the importance of the Santam Women of the Future Awards right now: our economy needs small business more than ever before, and there are incredible South African women who are stepping up to the challenge,’ Suzy says. ‘Recognising and rewarding them for their foresight and determination is an annual highlight for me, but beyond that, I think it’s essential for all of us to acknowledge what their achievements mean for our country as a whole.’

What Suzy will be looking for: ‘This time, I am looking for a smart idea that has been expertly navigated through the widespread problems caused by lack of electricity and public sector inefficiencies – one that’s strong enough to thrive in this current climate.’


Mbali Soga, TRUELOVE Editor

Mbali Soga is back at the helm of TRUELOVE magazine, having previously been with the brand for more than 10 years before venturing into the world of e-commerce. She believes that for women to thrive and gain independence, entrepreneurship must be championed.

‘As a brand, TRUELOVE will always be about and stand for women empowerment,’ Mbali says. ‘I admire and honour everything that the annual Santam Women of the Future Awards stand for. Recognising women who take the challenging route of dominating the world of small businesses, and encouraging them to do even better, is a cause that I will always support. Their achievements deserve to be recognised because they are courageously helping to grow our economy while also creating employment for others.’

What Mbali will be looking for: ‘I am looking for a candidate whose venture has heart, and whose accomplishment goes beyond financial reward by changing lives. I am also looking out for a business that is almost self-sustaining, can grow legs and have a far-reaching effect.’



Entrepreneurs can enter one of three categories:

  1. The Santam Woman of the Future title is awarded to an entrepreneur aged 30 or older whose business is more than 1 000 days old and who is well on her way to establishing an extensive enterprise.
  2. The Santam Rising Star title is awarded to an entrepreneur between 16 and 30 years old who is still within her first 1 000 days, but whose business, our judges believe, will flourish way beyond them.
  3. The Santam Social Entrepreneur title is awarded to an entrepreneur aged 30 or older who is making a real difference in her community. Her business/social enterprise/NPO has survived the first 1 000 days.

The prizes

  • R100 000 in cash to the Woman of the Future and R60 000 in cash each to the Rising Star and the Social Entrepreneur from Santam
  • A luxury beauty hamper worth R10 000 from our beauty partner, Lancôme
  • A full-page advertisement in FAIRLADY or TRUELOVE to promote the business, social enterprise or NPO
  • Invaluable mentorship with one of the judges
  • A ‘Strategies for Making and Taking New Markets’ course (worth R11 000) or a ‘Strategic Marketing’ course (worth R18 000), both from the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS)
  • A Frederique Constant Vitality women’s watch worth R15 495
  • Business printing worth R5 000 from Lithotech
  • A Stackd cabin case worth R4 899 from Samsonite
  • Three pairs of Baker sunglasses worth R5 397 in total from Execuspecs
  • A fashion and lifestyle voucher worth R3 000 from Superbalist


With your share of over R600 000 worth of prizes, winning one of the three Santam Women of the Future Awards is a true game-changer! With the expertise of Santam and the networking reach of FAIRLADY and TRUELOVE, we’ll take you and your business to greater heights!


To showcase your business or to nominate an entrepreneur you know and admire, head to

Entries close on 5 June 2023.

Call to enter video:


For award updates, follow #SantamWOTF on social media:
Santam: on Facebook; @SantamForBiz on LinkedIn; and @SantamInsurance on Instagram

FAIRLADY: on Facebook; @FairladyMag on Twitter; and @Fairlady_Magazine on Instagram

TRUELOVE: on Facebook; @TrueLoveMag on Twitter; and @truelovemagazine on Instagram

Lancôme: on Facebook; @lancomeofficial on Instagram or follow #LancomeAfrica