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Meet the winners of the 2021 African Women Innovation & Entrepreneurship Forum Awards

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Each year the AWIEF Awards recognise, honour and celebrate amazing women entrepreneurs and business owners in Africa and across industry sectors, for their economic performance and contribution to Africa’s growth and social development.

24 powerful women founders and entrepreneurs were selected, from over 600 entries and nominations, as top finalists by an independent panel of Judges.The 24 top finalists represented women-owned businesses operating in 11 African countries: Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

On Friday night, December 3rd, the Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) declared 8 winners at the 2021 AWIEF Awards ceremony that took place at the Marriott Hotel Melrose Arch in Johannesburg. Some of the attendees were in-person and the rest of the audience was virtually watching the ceremony from across African countries and beyond.

Renowned South African singer, Yvonne Chaka Chaka aka The Princess of Africa, wowed the audience with her awesome performance and entertainment. 

Judge Birgitta Cederstrom, Frost & Sullivan’s Business Development Director for the Middle East and Africa, had this to say about the judging process,

“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”

The winners of the 2021 AWIEF Awards in the 8 different categories are:

  1. YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR AWARD:
    Tao Boyle, Co-founder and COO, FoondaMate (South Africa)
  2. CREATIVE INDUSTRY AWARD:
    Cynthia Asije, Creative Director, The Adirelounge (Nigeria)
  3. TECH ENTREPRENEUR AWARD:
    Ivy Barley, Co-founder, Developers in Vogue Foundation (Ghana)
  4. AGRI ENTREPRENEUR AWARD:
    Hadia M. Gondji, Founder and Managing Director, Hadiya Seed Production and Agro Industry Plc (Ethiopia)
  5. ENERGY ENTREPRENEUR AWARD:
    Josephine Takundwa, CEO, Earthlink Technologies (Zimbabwe)
  6. SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR AWARD:
    Gudula Naiga Basaza, Managing Director, Gudie Leisure Farm (Uganda)
  7. EMPOWERMENT AWARD:
    Djénéba Gory, Co-founder and COO, Suadela (Mali)
  8. LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD:
    Margaret Hirsch, Co-founder and Executive Director, Hirsch’s Homestores (South Africa)

The winner of the Social Entrepreneur Award, Gudula Naiga Basaza, said in a virtual acceptance speech from her home in Uganda,

“Thank you so much for recognising my work, it means a lot to me. God bless you all”

Margareth Hirsch felt honoured to win 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 financial persons. We are all winners, let us be strong and take over. Know that it is possible. I also started small as an entrepreneur. Have faith and persevere, knowing it can be done”

The 2021 AWIEF Awards event was sponsored by Amazon Web Services (AWS), Nedbank and City of Johannesburg

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