To be a bold woman is to innovate, transform and to be a trailblazer for others to follow and to do so despite the entrenched challenges that women face. In a memorable event held at The Forum in Johannesburg on Thursday 21 July, Gugu Sithole and Captain Londy Ngcobo were named the winners of the esteemed Veuve Clicquot Bold Woman Award and Bold Future Award respectively.
The ceremony, in its unique format, provided an opportunity for finalists and leading bold businesswomen from across the country to network, connect and engage in authentic conversations around entrepreneurship.
Launched in 1972, the Bold Woman Award is the first and longest-running international award of its kind, and this year is the 50th year of paying tribute to audacious businesswomen. It’s an award that not only commends the work of fearless female business leaders, but also seeks to change the way that business is done – calling for higher ethical standards, transformational practices, and wider inclusion through the overarching Bold by Veuve Clicquot programme. By emboldening generations of audacious female leaders, the 250-year-old champagne house is securing an impactful future for female entrepreneurs globally.
“The Bold Woman Award continues to pay tribute to a woman whose tenacity and creativity led to entrepreneurial success – Veuve Clicquot’s very own bold woman, Madame Clicquot. Her story is one of audacity, and entrepreneurial spirit – in 1805, widowed at the age of 27 years old, she went on to revolutionise an entire industry. An exceptional achievement in a time when women couldn’t open their own bank account, let alone independently own or run businesses,” says Jean-Marc Gallot, CEO of Veuve Clicquot. “It’s in her spirit that we work to identify and elevate these women’s journeys, emboldening successive generations of females to lead with audacity. As such, this is so much more than an accolade for their contribution, it’s an engine for revolution.”
Veuve Clicquot has a concrete role to play and a societal contribution to make by recognising women entrepreneurs, and supporting these exceptional women is more imperative than ever before. The House’s very own global barometer study on women entrepreneurship provided vital indicators, including the fact that 90 percent of South African women entrepreneurs believe that in order to succeed, they need the support of a network of other women entrepreneurs. Findings such as this are the foundation of the Bold by Veuve Clicquot programme.
Selected from a pool of 250 visionary South African businesswomen, Glamping Adventures’ Gugu Sithole and Womaritime Experts’ Captain Londy Ngcobo now join the ranks of an illustrious list of 410 winners in 27 countries worldwide. The 2022 winners and finalists collectively represented in South Africa are nothing short of remarkable. Their conviction in the businesses they are building and their audacity to plough ahead is a testament to their resilience and fearless leadership. For that reason, Veuve Clicquot pays tribute to them as they pave the way for future bold entrepreneurial women.
To qualify for the Bold Woman Award, entrants had to be the founder or CEO of a business which has been in operation for more than three years and in that time have shown an aptitude for transformation, evolution in their field and an ethical approach to business, having also supported growth for at least two years.
Gugu Sithole has proved herself to be all of the above, both elevating the traditional camping experience and empowering local community members. Having weathered the storm as a pandemic-era travel start-up, Gugu’s luxury mobile campsites make some of the country’s most breath-taking natural wonderlands accessible to many who haven’t had the opportunity to explore South Africa. As this year’s Bold Woman Award winner, Gugu will travel to Reims, France – the home of Veuve Clicquot for an immersion in the history, tradition, and luxury of the Maison.
To qualify for the Bold Future Award, entrants were required to be the founder or CEO of a business that has been in operation for less than three years. In that time the business leader must have excelled in areas of transformation and ethical business practice and must have made a significant contribution to the success of their company by instilling a sense of entrepreneurship.
As this year’s Bold Future Award winner, Captain Londy Ncobo stood out to the jury for her drive to challenge gender and racial stereotypes. The Founder of Global Maritime Youth and Director of Womaritime Experts is Africa’s first female dredge master. Through her all-female maritime consulting firm, Londy uses her position to educate and empower the youth in this industry and unlock Africa’s Ocean economy, creating a viable future for other young Africans.
This year’s judges comprised some of the finest leaders of the South African business landscape, two of whom are previous Veuve Clicquot award winners:
- Aimee Kellen – Head of Consumer Engagement, Moët Hennessy Africa & Middle East
- Amanda Dambuza – Founder & Group CEO of Uyandiswa
- Carole Bildé – Chief Marketing & Communications Officer Veuve Clicquot
- Dr Judey Pretorius – Founder & CEO Biomedical Emporium
- Happy Ralinala – Director of Palesa Mbali Group
- Lukhanyo Mdingi – Fashion Designer
- Matsi Modise – CEO of Furaha Afrika Holdings
- Dr Mzamo Masito – Chief Marketing Officer Google Africa
These powerhouse jury members were behind the selection of the Veuve Clicquot Bold Woman Award winners – female entrepreneurs whose names will now become synonymous with boldness.
About the Veuve Clicquot Bold Woman Award
In 1805, Madame Clicquot took the reins of the House after the death of her husband, at a time when women did not have the right to work or even hold a bank account. Over the years, she revolutionised the sector. To mark its 200th anniversary, Veuve Clicquot decided to pay tribute to this great, daring woman, and in 1972 created the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award (Bold Woman Award), followed by the Clémentine Award (Bold Future Award) in 2014. For nearly 50 years, the House has honoured and featured women who have built, taken on or developed a business – to date, 410 women across 27 countries. In response to society’s evolution since 1972, starting in 2019 the award has been part of an international program: Bold by Veuve Clicquot, a series of initiatives to generate conversations around the world, designed for more impact and inclusiveness.