Durban has two leading businesswomen – Pria Hassan and Margaret Hirsch – as finalists in the Businesswomen’s Association of SA’s influential 2012 Businesswoman of the Year Award.
Hassan is the CEO of Women Of Africa Investments, while Hirsch is chief operating officer of Hirsch’s Homestores.
They make up two of the three finalists in the entrepreneur category, alongside Johanna Mukoki, the managing director and joint founder of Travel With Flair.
The finalists in the corporate category include Aegis Media SSA CEO Dawn Rowlands, Aveng Manufacturing marketing director Mapule Mphaki, ABN Group managing director Roberta Naidoo and port manager of the Port of East London (Transnet National Ports Authority) Jacqueline Brown.
Now in its 33rd year, the Businesswoman of the Year Award is the longest-running award for women in business in the country and has become a high-profile event on the SA business calendar.
Independent judges have chosen the finalists from a diverse range of industries, four in the corporate category and three in the entrepreneurial category.
Apart from their leadership qualities and contributions to the well-being of the economy, other criteria include being a SA resident and/or citizen who conducts business in SA, working for their current organisation for a minimum of three years but not necessarily in the same position as well as managing a budget of R75 million or more in the corporate category and a budget of R35m or more in the entrepreneurial category.
Kunyalala Maphisa, the president of Business Women’s Association, said nominations received for this year’s awards had been of a high standard and showed that women were playing an increasingly important role in all sectors of the economy.
“It is good to see women advancing in various sectors of the economy, acting as inspiration for other women to reach their potential,” she said.
Last year’s recipients of the award was the National Empowerment Fund’s CEO Philisiwe Buthelezi in the corporate category and Nondumiso Mzizana, the CEO of Sikelela Medical, Dental and Pharmaceuticals, in the entrepreneurial category.
This year’s judging panel in the corporate category consists of Siza Mzimela, the CEO of SA, Kleininc Management Consultants CEO Venete Klein, president of the International Women’s Forum of SA Vuyo Mahlati and Buthelezi.
Judging in the entrepreneur category are Motseng Investment Holdings CEO Ipeleng Mkhari, executive chair at Sekoko Resources Tim Tibiela, corporate affairs director at PSL Connie Motshumi and Mzizana.
Nedbank has been a long-time main sponsor of the awards and BWASA.
Tabby Tsengiwe, the divisional executive for group communications, said Nedbank was privileged to contribute towards recognising and honouring the achievement of SA’s women business leaders.
“The awards recognise business women who have shown determination, hard work, commitment, entrepreneurship and strong leadership qualities that are necessary in the business arena,” said Tsengiwe.
The seven inspirational businesswomen achievers will now be in line for the Businesswoman of the Year Award to be presented at a gala function in Joburg on August 28.
The award makes a contribution to the next generation of women business leaders with all proceeds of the yearly gala awards ceremony going to the Business Women’s Association Bursary Fund.