Western Cape Agriculture hosts provincial Female Entrepreneur Awards in Stellenbosch, 7 Aug

The competition is a joint effort between the National Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) and the provincial Department of Agriculture. It seeks to reward the efforts and contribution of women in job creation, economic growth and poverty alleviation.

Provincial winners are entered into the national competition.

The Western Cape has historically performed very well in the national awards, with several local women going on to take top honours in 2017.

Previous winners of the competition have gone on to invest in and grow their businesses in the agricultural sector.

Berene Damon entered the competition because she believed winning would help her push forward her ten year plan by a year or two.

She won the national prize for top entrepreneur in processing and the young female entrepreneur (youth category) Using the prize money and the funding I was able to Ishortened the timeline I set myself to buy property, from ten years to seven.

She invested her prize money in new barrels for her business, and with additional funding on board, will be launching a new amphora fermented Chardonnay next year, which is made in imported terracotta barrels, rather than in wooden ones.

Another Western Cape winemaker, Carmen Stevens, won the national award in the exports category last year. She was also on the Adjudication Committee for this year's awards.

I was completely blown away by the humanity, passion and determination of the women who entered. I was so taken aback at how many of these women were doing it not just for themselves but to provide a better way of life for their communities and their staff, she said. She was also particularly inspired by the various food garden initiatives and will be looking to expand the feeding scheme in vulnerable communities on the Cape Flats which she is involved in, to include food gardens in schools in the future.

She has invested most of her prize money in her wine-making business and her focus is the export market, supplying her unique niche wine-brand to the UK and the USA, as well as local markets in Johannesburg. She said she had been able to use the prize money to buy equipment which meant that she would be able to continue making her niche batch wine to her own style and specifications .

Minister Alan Winde said these awards are a way to recognise and reward the phenomenal work we see women doing in Agriculture in the province. It is no surprise that our winners go on to do so well in the national competition, because the standard of entries we see each year is incredibly high, reflecting the calibre of our female entrepreneurs.

Members of the media wishing to attend the event, are kindly requested to RSVP to Bianca Capazorio

Source: Government of South Africa