Santam Women of The Future Awards Celebrate a Decade of Inspiration, Innovation and Empowerment

Santam, in association with FAIRLADY and TRUELOVE magazines, is thrilled to announce the launch of the 10th annual Santam Women of the Future Awards. Over the past decade, the awards have celebrated women entrepreneurs, and showcased the resilience, innovation and success of women who have dared to dream big.

For the second consecutive year, we are excited to welcome Lancôme as our official beauty partner. Lancôme shares our commitment to empowering women and recognises the importance of acknowledging their accomplishments.

We’re inviting all women entrepreneurs to enter or to nominate an outstanding businesswoman that they know.

There are three categories:

1. The Santam Woman of the Future titleis awarded to an entrepreneur whose business is older than 1 000 days and who is well on her way to establishing an extensive enterprise.

2. The Santam Rising Star titleis awarded to an entrepreneur between 16 and 35 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 titleis awarded to an NPO/social enterprise or entrepreneur who is making a real difference in her community. Her business/NPO/social enterprise has survived the first 1 000 days.

This year, entrants could win their share of more than R692 000 in prizes! Winners also stand a chance of unlocking the 105-year-old business expertise of Santam, and the networking reach of FAIRLADY and TRUELOVE, all of which will elevate a business to greater heights.

‘Santam is committed to becoming valued partners of women-owned businesses,’ says Gugu Mtetwa, Santam Group Chief Operating Officer. ‘We see the Women of the Future Awards as a means to recognise and showcase the incredible role played by women in helping to drive sustainable economic growth. It is also about empowering future generations of trailblazers. Women-owned businesses create a ripple effect, stimulating economic growth and enhancing the well-being of communities.’

Introducing the judging panel

Professor Thuli Madonsela

Professor Thuli Madonsela has been on the judging panel for the past 10 years. The former Public Protector of South Africa and full-time commissioner on the South African Law Reform Commission is currently the director of the Centre for Social Justice in the Faculty of Law at Stellenbosch University, and a professor of law occupying the Law Trust Research Chair in Social Justice at the university.

She founded the Thuma Foundation for Democracy Leadership and Literacy, and is a member of the African Academy of Sciences. She was recently appointed to the UN Scientific Advisory Board and as chairperson of Cities Alliance, a global partnership fighting urban poverty. Additionally, Prof Thuli enjoys international recognition, including having being named one of Timemagazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2014, and being the recipient of more than 70 awards.

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

What Prof Thuli will be looking for: ‘I’m looking for a woman who is building a just world that she’d 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.’

Nondumiso Mabece, Santam Head of Brand

First-time judge Nondumiso Mabece is a seasoned professional with a wealth of experience spanning business and marketing management, having worked for some of the best advertising agencies and corporate organisations in South Africa and Africa. Nondumiso holds a master’s in Business Administration and is pursuing a doctorate in the subject. 

Having successfully managed several diverse teams, she believes in the power of self-development and mentorship, especially for women entrepreneurs who might find the world of business challenging to navigate. Her commitment to fostering diversity and inclusion makes her a valuable judge and mentor, poised to recognise and support emerging businesswomen.

What Nondumiso will be looking for: ‘Entrants who have the potential to create scale and employment opportunities within their businesses, as small businesses offer an opportunity to help alleviate unemployment among South Africa’s youth.’

Dr Dulcy Rakumakoe, CEO of Quadcare

Joining the judging panel this year is Dr Dulcy Rakumakoe, CEO of Quadcare and 2020 winner of the Woman of the Future Award. She holds an MBBCh degree from the University of Witwatersrand, a Master of Science in Sports Medicine and an MBA from the Gordon Institute of Business Science, among other academic accolades.

Dulcy is a social entrepreneur who is passionate about providing affordable healthcare and wellness solutions. In 2019, she co-founded primary healthcare network Quadcare, which has 13 clinics across South Africa as well as a virtual clinic. She is the recipient of several accolades, including the 2023 Digital Healthcare Innovator Award.

Dulcy serves on the boards of various organisations, and is the founder and CEO of the DDR Foundation, which provides entrepreneurship education and incubation to young people. She is also a keynote speaker, features as a regular guest on radio stations and contributes to The Citizen newspaper.

What Dulcy will be looking for: ‘I am looking for entrepreneurs who are led by love and driven by their passion. They need to know the importance of profitability to ensure that their business remains sustainable and can scale up.’

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

Joining the panel for the seventh year is Dawn Nathan-Jones, an entrepreneur and CEO of Over the Rainbow, a social enterprise that provides entrepreneurs with training, mentorship and tools to assist them in building thriving businesses.

At the age of 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 multiple interventions to empower women entrepreneurs. Notably, she was the only female judge on the M-Net reality show Shark Tank South Africa.

In 2017, Dawn joined forces with Lesley Waterkeyn of Over the Rainbow. In 2021, they launched Smart Women, an online course developed in collaboration with FAIRLADY that guides women who want to start a business or side hustle.

Last year, Dawn, together with four strategic partners, launched the Entrepreneurs’ Network to develop sustainable businesses. ‘Entrepreneurs supporting and networking with one another is at the heart of everything we do.’

What Dawn will be looking for: ‘I am looking for women entrepreneurs who lead with a sense of purpose for themselves, their people, their communities and their companies. As women leaders, we have a moral obligation to uplift and encourage other women to overcome their fears and challenges, and leap into their own successful future.’

Suzy Brokensha, FAIRLADY Editor-in-Chief

A veteran of the magazine industry, Suzy Brokensha has always felt strongly about recognising and rewarding South African women who have started their own businesses. She has been at the helm of FAIRLADY through many transitions. FAIRLADY has always been written by, about and for South African women.

‘We understand their hopes, fears and dreams because we share them,’ Suzy says. ‘We know that every woman yearns to be in control of her time and her income because it gives her the economic freedom to make the independent choices she needs to make.’

She believes that female entrepreneurship can transform the South African landscape, both economically and in terms of gender equality.

‘The Santam Women of the Future Awards in association with FAIRLADY and TRUELOVE have gone from strength to strength over the past 10 years,’ she says. ‘The number – and quality – of entrants continues to be a huge source of pride to us. South African women are so resourceful and inspiring, I can’t wait to see what they’ll bring to the table in our special anniversary year. I’m sure it will be spectacular!’

What Suzy will be looking for: ‘I will be looking for a smart, tested idea that has the potential to grow exponentially with the financial input and wide-reaching publicity that winning a Santam, FAIRLADY and TRUELOVE Women of the Future Award provides. Bring it on!’

Mbali Soga, TRUELOVE/DRUM Editor-in-Chief

After a whirlwind year back at the helm of quarterly women’s glossy TRUELOVE, having enjoyed a stint as Head of Content at South Africa’s biggest fashion e-tailer, Mbali is now in charge of another heritage brand, DRUM.

When it comes to entrepreneurship, she has this to say: ‘I was raised by a single mother, a situation that’s very common in our country. One income stream was never enough; there was always something else my mother had to do for us to get by. She and many other women continue to fight for financial freedom for themselves and their communities. South African women have always been entrepreneurial.

‘It’s an honour to be part of the Santam Women of the Future Awards, which go beyond being an awards ceremony – this initiative is a movement for a call for change, a call for women to take their financial emancipation into their own hands. We look forward to many more years.’

What Mbali will be looking for: ‘I’ll be looking for an entrepreneur who has built a business out of a unique yet almost obvious idea, and which has not only afforded her financial success but has also solved a societal challenge.’

The prizes

  • R125 000 in cash to the Woman of the Future and R75 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
  • An online masterclass worth R4 100 from the Gordon Institute of Business Science
  • A hamper from the IV Bar, including a Jetfuel drip, worth R7 330
  • A ladies dress watch from Seiko worth R7 000
  • Business printing worth R5 000 from Lithotech
  • A STACKD spinner and Weekender cosmetic case worth R6 498 from Samsonite
  • A spa voucher worth R5 000 from Camelot Spa

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

Entries close on 3 June 2024.