Claire Blanckenberg and Zama Ngcobo join global community of over 450 audacious businesswomen recognised for their entrepreneurial prowness
In a highly anticipated event held at The Forum, in Johannesburg on 19 July, Claire Blanckenberg and Zama Ngcobo were lauded as the winners of the 2023 Veuve Clicquot Bold Woman Award and Bold Future Award, respectively. Launched in 1972 to commemorate the Maison’s 200th anniversary, the Bold Woman Award is imbued with the enterprising spirit of the Grande Dame of Champagne, Madame Clicquot, and celebrates trailblazing businesswomen who share her values of innovation, fearlessness, and determination.
For 51 years, the award has been a tribute to the entrepreneurial role models of today and tomorrow, honouring more than 450 businesswomen in 27 countries. As the first and longest-running international award of its kind, its impact is invaluable. Applauding their leadership, innovation and tenacity, the coveted Bold Woman Award provides women entrepreneurs like Claire and Zama a voice, a platform, and access to an inspiring global community.
“We recognise that South Africa’s female entrepreneurs are a national asset. Leading their industries bravely and ethically, women like Claire and Zama dare to be bold, creating better business practices and contributing to flourishing communities,” said Jean-Marc Gallot, President of Veuve Clicquot. Attending the event for the first time in South Africa, Jean-Marc’s passion for empowering businesswomen through the Bold Programme is rooted in upholding the heritage and essence of the brand, and the legacy of Madame Clicquot.
The award ceremony brought together leading businesswomen to network, connect and engage in meaningful conversations around entrepreneurship. Inspiration permeated the evening with entertainment delivered by female pioneers including MC Jo-Ann Strauss, SA ballerina gone global Kitty Phetla who performed an afro-fusion style dance piece accompanied by pianist Kate Watson, and South Africa’s first female fighter jet pilot Major Mandisa Mfeka who shared a moving speech. Much like the distinguished guests in attendance, these trailblazers have succeeded against the odds and continue to inspire a nation of daring women.
This year’s Bold Woman Award winner, Reel Gardening founder Claire Blanckenberg, has innovated the home food cultivation sector. Comprising a simple colour-coded system of embedded seed tape, her patented Garden in a Box has revolutionised how family nutrition is approached while providing an estimated 48 100 households with food security. “When I embarked on this path there were very few female entrepreneurs to mentor me. Today, as one of those women, I hope to inspire others at the start of their journey,” she says. The Bold Woman Award winner, Claire will be hosted at Veuve Clicquot in Reims, France for an immersion in the history and tradition of the Maison.
Providing specialist advice in a male-dominated industry, Bold Future Award winner Zama Ngcobo founded a boutique black female-led commercial law firm called WMN Attorneys Inc. Prioritising the progression of women and the youth, her growing law practice promotes a grass-roots approach to the development of legal practitioners. “I originally set out to create a safe space for young, black, female lawyers to thrive and am immensely proud to represent all of those categories as the Bold Future Award winner,” she comments.
Promisingly, the 2023 Bold Barometer by Veuve Clicquot revealed that despite global economic challenges, the state of female entrepreneurship is improving in South Africa, with 61% of women surveyed being entrepreneurs – a figure on the rise since 2019. That said, most surveyed believe that they should emulate men to succeed in business. This last finding underscores the vital role of the Bold Programme by Veuve Clicquot, which not only recognises these industry pioneers, but also fortifies a sustainable future for businesswomen globally through impactful initiatives that inspire mentorship and collaboration.
Launching officially in South Africa at the award ceremony, Veuve Clicquot’s Bold Open Database of female entrepreneurs is free of cultural, geographical and technological barriers and aims to stimulate social and economic development. With the second largest number of registrations by country on the platform, South African women markedly seek to connect with fellow women role models. As such, female business leaders are invited to register at www.boldopendatabase.com and join an illustrious community of women who walk in the footsteps of Madame Clicquot.