It’s not often that one comes across a large, international corporation that makes all the right noises when it comes to the empowerment of women and then follows it up with action. It was therefore a pleasant surprise when we came across the Ernst & Young Entrepreneurial Winning Women (EWW) Programme.

Launched with an aim to empower female entrepreneurs, Ernst & Young is using this programme as a vehicle to channel its resources and convening power to help women entrepreneurs achieve the full potential they envision for their companies. While other foundations tend to look for those with ideas and assist them to start their businesses, Ernst & Young is focusing on women who have businesses that are already operational and providing employment, and up-scaling them to become solid market leaders.

Karen Doyer, EWW Programme Manager, says: “The programme identifies and celebrates high-potential female entrepreneurs and provides them with personalised one-on-one business insights and advice as well as insider access to strategic networks of established entrepreneurs, executives, advisors and investors.”

It’s not often that one comes across a large, international corporation that makes all the right noises when it comes to the empowerment of women and then follows it up with

The EWW Programme was launched in April 2013 with an Exceptional Enterprise workshop presented by Cheryl-Jane Kujenga, Africa Partner head of Strategic Growth Markets. The follow-up to that was in June where the class of women shared an audience with entrepreneur guru Pavlo Phatides from Aurik who spoke on the “purpose of an entrepreneur to build and the asset of value” and Sylvester Taku from Ernst & Young, who presented the E&Y Africa Business Centre.

In the month of August a networking event will be held, and this has been coordinated to create an opportunity for the class of 2013 to network with the EY World Entrepreneur Award (WEA) Female Alumni. At this event one of Africa’s wealthiest women and philanthropists, Wendy Appelbaum, will be the guest speaker and will share about her entrepreneurial life and philanthropic work. The final leg of the programme offers the women the privilege to attend the WEA 2013 finalist retreat and participate in the workshops and debates at the retreat.

With all this support being given to these female entrepreneurs there is no doubt that they will emerge from this programme more confident and fully equipped with the necessary skills and contacts to become market leaders, playing a significant part in building the economy and providing employment. They will be added to the ever-growing collection of women that those who follow can aspire to emulate. And for that we salute Ernst & Young.

Meet the Entrepreneurial Winning Women (EWW) Class of 2013

Suzanne Stevens


Brightrock (Pty) Ltd is a licensed financial services provider underwritten by Lombard Life Ltd. Brightrock works hard to shift the industry for the better with its product that meets both consumers’ and financial advisers’ needs.

Kurisani Maswanganyi

Kulani Engineering Consultancy

Kulani Engineering Consultancy (Kulani EC) is an emerging young black company with 100% HDI ownership. It is headed by Kurisani Maswanganyi (Pr Techni. Eng, Member of the South African Institute of Engineering) who has worked on several engineering projects in South Africa. Prior to opening Kulani EC in 2007, Maswanganyi also spent time in the UK working on the Extension of Heathrow Terminal 5 project.

Mellanie van der Byl  

Let’s Share Trading

Let’s Share Trading creates a one-stop solution for all types of personal protective wear and equipment. It provides clients with a superior level of service focused on delivering to exact specifications, at a competitive price, while adhering to the Occupational Health and Safety Act, Act no. 85 of 1993 (OHS Act).

Cynthia Mkhombo

Masana Hygiene

Masana Hygiene Services was started in 2004 with seven cleaners. The company has since grown to 720 cleaners in Gauteng and Mpumalanga. Masana has, over the past five years, acquired contracts from both the private and government sectors, and has just been recently awarded the contract to clean the new Gautrain stations 

Johanna McDowell

HMC Seswa/Mazole Holdings

Mazole Holdings is a black-empowered marketing services group and HMC Seswa Corporate Communications (Pty) Ltd has a 30-year track record of consistency and excellence in the public relations and marketing communications industry. HMC Seswa is known for delivering high quality media relations/communications results in the business-to-business, professional services, technology, and mining, manufacturing and engineering spaces.

Nthabiseng and Bhekiwe

PUO Educational Products

PUO creates content that educates, entertains and empowers children through Africa’s heritage. Its aim is to inspire children while developing a culture of reading. PUO’s flagship Lula & Lebo series includes storybooks, first words flashcards, ‘learn to count’ puzzles, ‘my body’ posters and “I love Africa” T-shirts in African languages with English translations.  Targeted at children from four- to six-year-olds, kids learn in a fun way through everyday stories featuring Lula, her brother Lebo and his pet chameleon Lem. The Lula and Lebo series has also gone digital with the Apple iPad Schools Project.   

Divine Ndhlukula


DDNS Security Operations (Pty) Ltd is the holding company for Securico Security Services, Canine Dog Services and Multi-Link. Starting off with four employees this company now employs over 3700 people. Through sheer grit and hard work, Divine has built the company to become the most respected and sought after player not only in her industry, but globally.  Her company has won many business accolades and is the first Zimbabwean-manned security company to be certified in the internationally acclaimed ISO9001:2008 Quality Management System.

Nkhensani Nkosi

Stoned Cherrie

Launched in 2000, Stoned Cherrie (Pty) Ltd manages and promotes the Stoned Cherrie trademarked brand in the form of a variety of premium lifestyle products distributed across multiple channels. The design studio and business operations are headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Pria Hassan

Woman of Africa/WOA Fuels and Oils

The South African government has asked the women of South Africa to “step up to the plate”, to take their rightful place in the South African economy and has assured government support. Women of Africa Investments (Pty) Ltd (WOA) are a women-owned, women-managed Black Economic Empowerment investment holding company focused on meeting this challenge.

Hlamalani Ndlovu

Fikile Construction