• The top three female entrepreneurs were selected from over 400 entries received for the Volkswagen Lionesses Den competition.
  • The capital is aimed to assist the top three female entrepreneurs by providing relief for existing business challenges.
  • The initiative forms part of Volkswagen’s ‘Drive Local’ campaign to support and champion South African products and services.
Johannesburg – Volkswagen South Africa in partnership with Lionesses of Africa, is pleased to announce the winners of the Volkswagen’s Lionesses Den competition. The panel of judges have selected the top three pitches after calling on female-owned businesses all over South Africa to share a two-minute pitch to win a total of R175 000 cash injection for their businesses. The winners will use the capital to invest in their businesses and in turn, help drive the South African economy forward.

The winners were announced at a virtual VW Lioness Lean-In event as part of the Women’s Month celebration on 28 August 2020.

The following cash prizes were awarded:

First prize – R100 000 – Ntokozo Mbuli
Sugar Bean Pictures is a television production company determined to change the world by creating purposeful content that builds, grows, teaches, and heals. Ntokozo aims to use the medium to contribute towards changing the world’s perspective of Africa.

Second prize – R50 000 – Sarah Morrow
Little Leaders Pre-School is an owner-managed school which creates a home-like environment for all children to grow and learn with confidence.Sarah is passionate about building an inclusive holistic environment that caters for all children from all walks of life by partnering with various NGO’s and communities.

Third prize – R25 000 - Bathabile Mpofu
Nkazimulo Applied Sciences brings science to life by producing portable science kits for use by learners at home and school so that learners can perform science experiments themselves wherever they are. The inspiration to start Nkazimulo is based on Bathabile’s own overwhelming experience as a young learner at a disadvantaged school with no access to science kits.

“I’d like to invest the money towards acquiring resources needed to develop ideas to take advantage of funding and commissioning opportunities,” said grand prize winner Ntokozo Mbuli of Sugar Bean Pictures.

Sarah Morrow of Little Leaders Pre-School stated that she would like to expand her outreach programme by incorporating accessible autistic classes since there are not many affordable and inclusive preschools that cater for autistic children.

Owner of Nkazimulo Applied Sciences, Bathabile Mpofu plans to develop more kits in other subjects by hiring teachers to offer online courses and acquiring basic equipment for online teaching

In addition to this, the winners will also have access to entrepreneur development programmes, mentoring programmes, business tools 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 South African economy and small businesses, in particular, to assist them to stay afloat,” said Meredith Kelly, Head of Marketing at Volkswagen South Africa.

Submissions included local businesses operating in various industries, including education, IT, security, food, hygiene, beauty, marketing, events and other sectors. A panel of five judges individually assessed each entry. The panel consisted of Lioness Lean-In Ambassador Southern Africa, Hlubi Mboya-Arnold; Hirsch’s Co-Founder and Executive Director, Margaret Hirsch; CEO of Innate Investment Solutions, Lynette Ntuli; Head of Marketing for Volkswagen South Africa, Meredith Kelly; as well as Volkswagen South Africa Public Relations Manager, Siyanga Madikizela.

“We are delighted with the entries we received which reflected the talent in this country and the impact that female entrepreneurs have in their respective communities. This initiative has also made available to us critical insights that will help us assist female entrepreneurs in their business journeys as the next level of this initiative,” says Melanie Hawken, Founder and CEO of Lionesses of Africa.

“I am so thankful to Volkswagen South Africa and Lionesses of Africa; it shows that they believe in us and trust what we do. As a young female owned business, we face many challenges in a male-dominated industry that also prefers extensive experience and tabloid style content. It is our responsibility to shape the view that the world has of South Africa and to address social justice issues, fill in the gaps in our history and complete our stories,” said grand prize winner Ntokozo Mbuli of Sugar Bean Pictures.

“It was an inspiring process to be exposed to the amazing work being done by female entrepreneurs in this country. This initiative has strengthened our commitment to support local businesses and make an impact on the communities, in which we operate,” said Kelly.

The Lionesses Den forms part of Volkswagen’s ‘Drivel Local’ campaign, which was launched in June 2020, with the purpose to support local manufactured goods and local businesses. For more information about the Lionesses Den and other Drive Local initiatives visit: www.vw.co.za/en/drive-local.