VWSA in partnership with Lionesses of Africa have named their winners of the Volkswagen’s Lionesses Den competition.
The judges chose their top three pitches in the competition after encouraging women-owned businesses around the country to share a two-minute pitch for a shot at a total of R175,000 in cash for their businesses.
The winners will use the cash injection to invest in their businesses which, in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, will in turn help to drive the SA economy forward.
The winners were announced at a virtual VWSA Lioness Lean-in event on August 28.
Ntokozo Mbuli, who won the first prize of R100,000, aims to use the medium of television to help change people’s perspective of Africa.
Her business, Sugar Bean Pictures, is a television production company “determined to change the world by creating purposeful content that builds, grows, teaches and heals”.
“I’d like to invest the money towards acquiring resources needed to develop ideas to take advantage of funding and commissioning opportunities,” Mbuli said.
The second prize of R50,000 went to Sarah Morrow, of Little Leaders Pre-School, which creates a home-like environment in which children can grow and learn with confidence.
Sarah is passionate about building an inclusive, holistic environment catering for children from all walks of life, which she achieves by partnering with different NGOs and communities.
Morrow is keen to expand her outreach programme by incorporating accessible autistic classes since there are not many affordable and inclusive preschools catering for these children.
Bathabile Mpofu, the driving force behind Nkazimulo Applied Sciences, received the third prize of R25,000. Nkazimulo brings science to life by producing portable science kits for use by pupils at home and school so they can perform science experiments wherever they are.
Mpofu’s own past experience as a pupil at a disadvantaged school with no access to science kits inspired the initiative.
She plans to develop more kits in other subjects by hiring teachers to offer online courses and acquiring basic tools for online teaching.
Besides cool cash, the winners also have access to entrepreneur development and mentoring programmes, business and networking resources to continue their business journey.
“We wanted to grant an opportunity to female entrepreneurs to access capital amid the current challenges on the SA economy and small businesses, in particular, to assist them to stay afloat,” VWSA marketing head Meredith Kelly said.
The judging panel was made up of Kelly along with Lioness Lean-In Ambassador Southern Africa Hlubi Mboya-Arnold; Hirsch’s co-founder and executive director Margaret Hirsch; Innate Investment Solutions CEO Lynette Ntuli; and VWSA PR manager Siyanga Madikizela.
“We are delighted with the entries we received, which reflected the talent in this country and the impact female entrepreneurs have in their respective communities,” Lionesses of Africa founder and CEO Melanie Hawken said.
The Lionesses Den forms part of VW’s Drive Local campaign, which supports locally manufactured goods and businesses.
For more information about the Lionesses Den and other Drive Local initiatives, visit: www.vw.co.za/en/drive-local.