Competitions are not unique in business and the SACBW also introduced its own competition in the early years (see article 2 in this series). The format has changed but we still believe in honouring and acknowledging the growth of women in business.
We have made some changes to add more value for the winners. Where we originally measured success on the size and turnover of the business we changed the evaluation process in 2019. The competition was renamed to the Recognition Awards – because the Council wanted to acknowledge and give recognition to women who have excelled in business, who overcame specific challenges, or who showed innovation in business.
It became more than just a competition for the biggest turnover – we defined the role of the winner to be a brand ambassador. A woman who represents what we stand for and someone who can be an icon in the Council.
Most people shy away from entering competitions because of a fear of failure, lack of confidence or simply because we measure ourselves against what we perceive to be success. By entering the competition, however, women have often realized that their achievements in business are no small feat. By reflecting on what to share with the judges they have discovered pride in themselves and recording the video’s that they submit as part of their entries has become a real confidence booster!
Looking at yourself on a screen can be nerve-wracking but also liberating. Many of our entrants have become inspirations to other women who also want to start a business or have doubts about the future of their businesses.
Women working in their local communities furthermore often see the work they do as something small yet they change lives, influence decisions, and uplift women and communities by doing what they do. And these are the good news stories that will almost never be told if not for competitions like ours. The wonderful work that women do on a voluntary basis in their communities is what is needed to turn our country around!
The SACWB believes that every woman in business deserves applause – but the women who are brave enough to enter, put themselves on the stage for all to see and who willingly share their stories are true heroes. Trying to create jobs, change lives, or be economically empowered serves as a motivation for many women – young and old – who have always dreamt of being business owners.
In the end there can be one winner who perhaps ticked more boxes for the judges – but every woman who starts a business or runs a community project is a winner in her own space.
Many of our winners over the last 35 years have continued to do well, started other businesses, and have helped other women to achieve their goals. Many community projects have grown over the years after humble beginnings. And this is how we change South Africa – one business; one project at a time.