Santam Women of the Future Awards 2021 winners

Internationally acclaimed Cape Town-based designer Cara Saven (of Cara Saven Wall Design) walked with the 2021 Santam Woman of the Future main prize, awarded to a female entrepreneur who has survived the first 1000 days of business. Meet the rest of the (three) winners.

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Winners of the seventh annual Santam Women of the Future Awards were announced at an exclusive event held at Atlantic Studios – and like the 2020 virtual ceremony, the ceremony broadcast via livestream to the public. 

The three winners were selected from a shortlist of nine finalists by a distinguished panel of judges led, among others, by Thuli Madonsela and the legendary media personality, Doreen Morris, who also served as the MC.

“As a sponsor of this event, we are amazed by the excellent quality of participants that come through the Santam Women of the Future Awards every year,” said Mokaedi Dilotsotlhe, chief marketing officer at Santam, adding: “We hope that these awards will create further momentum for their future success and inspire other women entrepreneurs to greatness.”

Santam Woman of the Future winners

Below ow are the three main winners of Santam Woman of the Future Awards:

  • Santam Woman of the Future

Cara Saven of Cara Saven Wall Design, walked with the 2021 Santam Woman of the Future accolade. The award is is given to a female entrepreneur who has survived the first 1 000 days of business and is on her way to creating an empire.

Cara Saven.

Cara Saven Wall Design is a décor company that designs, curates and produces large-format wallpaper for residential, commercial and hospitality properties. The company has a foothold in the US, Netherlands, Dubai and Australia.

Saven has gone on to produce and install wall art in some of the finest hotels, homes and corporate spaces locally and abroad. “Winning the Woman of the Future title makes the years of hard work, and juggling being a mother and an entrepreneur all worth it,” she said.

  • Santam Social Entrepreneur

Zandile Mkwanazi of GirlCode is the 2021 Santam Social Entrepreneur, awarded to a female entrepreneur who is making a real difference in her community).

Zandile Mkwanazi.

GirlCode is a social enterprise that aims to get more women into the tech industry, and facilitates the advancement of their skills through various training and outreach programmes.

The company has taught and reached more than 62 000 young South African girls to date. ‘Winning the Santam Social Entrepreneur award affirms the hard work I have put into GirlCode, but I know there’s still a long way to go to close the gender digital divide in South Africa,’ said Zandile, who hopes to teach 10 million girls how to code in the space of 10 years.

  • Santam Rising Star

Dr Peta-Anne Browne of Wardworx is the 2021 Santam Rising Star, given to a young female entrepreneur whose business is still within its first 1 000 days, but which the judges believe will flourish way beyond then.

Dr Peta-Anne Browne.

Launched in January 2020, Wardworx is a task management app that securely stores patient information, including ward and bed locations, so that doctors can collaborate on patient care. 

Winning the Santam Rising Star Award is the encouragement and validation that she needed to keep pushing herself, says Peta-Anne. “Being an entrepreneur has its ups and downs. Quite often doubt can set in, but this award is a perfect reminder to female founders that we are on the right track and have something truly special to offer,” she said.

The prizes

The Woman of the Future receives R100 000 in cash, and the Social Entrepreneur and Rising Star receive R60 000 in cash each from Santam.

Each of the three winners walked away with:

  • A full-page advertisement in FairLady or TrueLove to promote the business, social enterprise or NPO
  • An hour’s invaluable mentorship with one of the judges
  • A one-year supply of African Extracts Rooibos skincare products (beauty sponsor), worth R3 500
  • A GetSmarter online short course, worth R11 900
  • Leather accessories, worth R5 000, from Zemp
  • Business printing, worth R5 000, from Lithotech
  • A women’s branded watch, worth R6 599, from American Swiss Fine Jewellers
  • A Samsonite Prodigy Spinner Expandable (55cm) carry-on, worth R5 000

The Santam Readers’ Choice Award, voted for by the public, goes to Vumile Msweli of Hesed Consulting, a career coaching firm for individuals and enterprises, with coaches in South Africa, Nigeria, Rwanda, Botswana and the US. Msweli wins a Golden Circle Mentorship programme from Over the Rainbow worth R5 000.


*For more courageous stories on what corporate South Africa is doing to empower communities, visit our EmpowerSA page regularly!