Amanda Dambuza, founder and director of consulting company Uyandiswa, was named the overall winner of this year’s coveted Veuve Clicquot ELLE Boss Award, in association with Old Mutual Corporate, at a bespoke event held in Johannesburg.

The Veuve Clicquot ELLE Boss Award, in association with Old Mutual Corporate, celebrates entrepreneurial women who have made a significant contribution to business life in South Africa.

The awards ceremony was held on Thursday, 9 November at the Ferrari Showroom in Bryanston, with guests of honour Christophe Farnaud, French ambassador to South Africa, and Veuve Clicquot International marketing director Chloe Stefani in attendance. The event saw guests enjoying an elegant celebration that honoured the finalists and their exceptional achievements.

Veuve Clicquot Champagne was served as some of South Africa’s top businesswomen used the evening as an opportunity to engage, reconnect or meet one another in an atmosphere of celebration.

The evening also offered finalists a chance to meet and network with some of their business heroes such as Nunu Nthsingila, head of Facebook Africa, CEO of Lereko Investments Dr Lulu Gwagwa and Khanyi Dhlomo, founder and CEO of Ndalo Media and publisher of ELLE magazine.

Following a day of intense debate, the panel of high-profile judges selected two winners – one from the Corporate category and one from the Entrepreneurial category, of which one overall winner was crowned Veuve Clicquot ELLE Boss, in association with Old Mutual Corporate, for 2017.

All the finalists showcased entrepreneurial spirit, leadership, creativity and determination, and all are women redefining the world of business one decision at a time, embodying Madame Clicquot’s audacious spirit and innovative approach to business.

Judges included businesswomen such as Yolanda Miya, managing director of the financing and solutions group for Deutsche Bank SA (and the only female on the Deutsche Bank AG Johannesburg branch’s executive committee) and, of course, powerhouse Khanyi Dhlomo.

This year’s honour of overall winner was awarded to exceptional entrepreneur Amanda Dambuza, who is not only the founder and director of consulting company Uyandiswa but also a respected businesswoman involved in a host of information technology businesses and management consultancies.

Dambuza is a member of various boards and is an independent director of Donate-A-Piece, an NPO that aims to take chess to disadvantaged schools and help build children’s analytical and strategic capabilities.

Founded just four years ago, Uyandiswa now employs more than 70 people. Dambuza is passionate about creating opportunities for other women in business, spending much of her time mentoring and helping women to navigate difficult corporate environments. She uses the resources at her disposal to create business opportunities and incubate women-owned companies. It was this combination of business savvy and compassion that impressed the judging panel.

Dynamic 5FM station manager Justine Cullinan was selected as the winner of the Corporate award. Cullinan began her tenure at 5FM in 2008 as marketing manager, and under her wing, the station saw listenership increase from 1.65 million to 2.3 million in four years.

In the past three years as station manager, she’s overseen the digital community increase beyond traditional listenership by pioneering platforms such as 5FM TV on YouTube and the 5FM mentorship programme.

In addition to the public recognition received at the awards evening and the exceptional networking opportunities provided, overall winner Dambuza will be flown to the prestigious Veuve Clicquot Maison, and be hosted by Veuve Clicquot in Reims, France, the home of champagne in 2018.

“Veuve Clicquot is a proud supporter of women in business internationally with the Veuve Clicquot Businesswoman Award, honouring our founder, Madame Clicquot, who established herself as one of the first leading female figures in the world of business,” says Chloe Stefani. “We are therefore extremely proud to partner with ELLE magazine in South Africa. This award champions the success of South African businesswomen who share the same inspirational qualities as Madame Clicquot: an enterprising spirit, creativity, courage, determination and, of course, success.”

Veuve Clicquot ELLE Boss in association with Old Mutual Corporate judge Khanyi Dhlomo, who is recognised and honoured as one of SA’s most influential and inspiring businesswomen, summed up the 2017 awards.

“All of our finalists this year were natural leaders, and confident, strong, committed risk-takers who are driven to succeed,” said Dhlomo.

“Our overall winner, Amanda Dambuza, exemplifies what a true Veuve Clicquot ELLE Boss stands for: the kind of businesswoman making a real difference to everyday lives and moving South Africa forward.”

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