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Standard Bank EmpowHER Conference Cape Town 2024 winner announced!

The Standard Bank Top Women EmpowHER Conference, hosted by Topco Media, took place at the elegant Rockefeller Hotel on 23 May, bringing together an inspiring array of female entrepreneurs and business leaders. This event, part of the larger EmpowHER Development Series, aimed to foster entrepreneurship and facilitate valuable networking opportunities for women in business.
Standard Bank EmpowHER Conference Cape Town 2024 winner announced!

Empowering women in leadership

Standard Bank EmpowHER Conference Cape Town 2024 winner announced!

Nqobile Nzuza, the provincial head of the enterprise banking team at Standard Bank in the Western Cape, opened the conference with a powerful keynote address. Emphasising the significance of empowering women in leadership roles, Nzuza highlighted the resilience and contributions of South African women entrepreneurs. She spoke candidly about the challenges women face, such as achieving work-life balance, and offered practical advice on setting boundaries, delegating, and prioritising self-care.

“By changing nothing, nothing ever changes. You are here because you're a top woman," Nzuza affirmed. "Balancing life doesn't mean changing your whole life. It means small things, and I think small things matter. Set and enforce boundaries, delegate, outsource when needed, prioritise self-care, and use technology. What's most important is that every single day, you wake up and show up."

Addressing unconscious bias and trust issues

Standard Bank EmpowHER Conference Cape Town 2024 winner announced!

Heléne Smuts, a board member of EO Accelerator and founder of Credo Growth, delivered the keynote address, highlighting the impact of unconscious biases in the workplace. She noted that one in three people do not trust their leaders or managers and discussed how biases from leaders, colleagues, and founders affect workplace dynamics.

“For the past 15 years, I have been in the people development and culture development industry,” Smuts stated. “29% of women prefer to work remotely, not because it’s easier, but because they don’t have to deal with the unpleasant interactions that they get in the office. I urge you to sit here and think, what do you tolerate in your business?”

Smuts introduced the concept of "Life Positions" by Eric Berne, explaining how individuals perceive themselves in relation to others in different scenarios. Humans explore unhealthy positions like feeling inferior or blaming oneself, as well as healthier positions that promote mutual respect and a constructive approach to conflict resolution. Smuts encouraged the audience to assess their attitudes, engage in open communication using the language of "Life Positions," and seek mentorship or support when needed.

Inspiring entrepreneurial journeys and the impact of winning this award

Standard Bank EmpowHER Conference Cape Town 2024 winner announced!

Denise Stubbs, managing director of Thokozani Wines and winner of the 2023 Cape Town EmpowHER Conference, shared her inspiring journey from a labourer's child to a successful business owner. She emphasised the importance of authenticity and staying true to one's roots, while also highlighting the impact of becoming a mentor and face for other entrepreneurs in the community.

“Voice your ideas, share your greatness, and empower others to build their empires alongside yours, creating a ripple effect of empowerment and success."

Standard Bank EmpowHER Conference Cape Town 2024 winner announced!

Nonkqubela Jordan-Dyani, director general of the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies, delivered a compelling address, drawing from her personal journey and insights as a leader in the public sector. Reflecting on her humble beginnings and the influence of her parents, Jordan-Dyani emphasised the importance of self-belief and determination in overcoming challenges. She underscored the critical role of women in driving economic growth and urged for deliberate efforts to overcome societal barriers hindering their progress. "Empowerment starts with owning your worth and believing in your potential, regardless of the challenges you may face,” Jordan-Dyani added.

Cape Town 2024 winner presents affordable and relevant healthcare services

Standard Bank EmpowHER Conference Cape Town 2024 winner announced!

Cleopatra Van Ster, founder of Nurseit Primary & Occupational Healthcare Services, was announced as the 2024 winner of the EmpowHER Cape Town regional pitching event. Van Ster’s business focuses on providing affordable and quality primary healthcare services to underserved communities.

“We provide access to private health care at affordable costs. Where you would pay R3,000 for sutures at a private hospital, we charge R500, but give you the same quality service while still making a profit,” Van Ster explained. “Your business can only be sustainable if you’re not working in it, but working on your business.”

2024 Runners-up for the Cape Town leg are:

  • 1st Runner-up: Ghia Nadel-Liebrecht, owner at Tra.Dish.Nal, is a manufacturer of a variety of materials and recycled bags, ranging from small makeup to large travelling bags or coolers, and offers a custom experience.

  • 2nd Runner-up: Tshireletso Yvonne Diogo, owner of Nubian Crown Hair Studio, aims to provide beauty services that will preserve and enhance the natural beauty of women while minimising environmental impact. All salon products are responsibly sourced and formulated to promote healthy hair growth, treating common concerns like dryness, breakage, thinning hairline, coarse hair, and slow hair growth.

(Left image: Ghia Nadel-Liebrecht, owner at Tra.Dish.Nal)<p>(Right image: Tshireletso Yvonne Diogo, owner of Nubian Crown Hair Studio)
(Left image: Ghia Nadel-Liebrecht, owner at Tra.Dish.Nal)

(Right image: Tshireletso Yvonne Diogo, owner of Nubian Crown Hair Studio)

Finalists included:

  • Soraya Abrahams - The Laundry Station
  • Chaz Kruger - CW Hair and Beauty International
  • Kiara Ramklass - Marimba Jam (Pty) Ltd
  • Hazel Matipa - Break Away Oasis
  • Gwen Zwane - Lafezeka Cosmetics
  • Marcia Monareng - Millennial Mindset Media
  • Mahlatse Mamaila - INO-Biodiesel

Standard Bank EmpowHER Conference Cape Town 2024 winner announced!

“A heartfelt thank you goes out to our esteemed panel of judges for their invaluable contributions and expertise throughout the event. We extend our gratitude to Nqobile Nzuza, head of Enterprise Banking, Western Cape, Business and Commercial Banking at Standard Bank; Heléne Smuts, board member of EO Accelerator (EOA) and founder of Credo Growth; Jade Snell-Engledoe, head of Sector Specialists, Western Cape, Business and Commercial Banking at Standard Bank; and Nthabeleng Leballo, head of Relationship Banking, Proposition Management, Business and Commercial Banking at Standard Bank. Their dedication and insight were instrumental in ensuring the success and integrity of the EmpowHER Conference. We deeply appreciate their commitment to supporting women entrepreneurs and fostering a culture of empowerment in the business community,” concludes Ralf Fletcher, CEO of Topco Media.

The EmpowHER Conference exemplified the power of women-led businesses and the critical role of support systems in fostering business growth. Standard Bank’s continued partnership with Topco Media for the EmpowHER Development Series highlights its commitment to driving meaningful change in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Missed the event? You can watch the live stream recording now available across these social channels:

Want to get involved in the upcoming Durban and Johannesburg events? Contact:

Alexandra Kotchoubei, marketing manager, via az.oc.ocpot@iebuohctok.ardnaxela.

All Finalists
All Finalists
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Chaz Kruger - CW Hair and Beauty International
Chaz Kruger - CW Hair and Beauty International
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Hazel Matipa - Break Away Oasis
Hazel Matipa - Break Away Oasis
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Mahlatse Mamaila - INO-Biodiesel
Mahlatse Mamaila - INO-Biodiesel
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Kiara Ramklass - Marimba Jam
Kiara Ramklass - Marimba Jam
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Fast-track Networking
Fast-track Networking
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Audience networking
Audience networking
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MC - Mokoena Moloto
MC - Mokoena Moloto
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SBTW Judges
SBTW Judges
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Marcia Monareng - Millennial Mindset Media
Marcia Monareng - Millennial Mindset Media
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Soraya Abrahams - The Laundry Station
Soraya Abrahams - The Laundry Station
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Representing Gwen Zwane - Lafezeka Cosmetics
Representing Gwen Zwane - Lafezeka Cosmetics
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Tshireletso Yvonne Diogo - Nubian Crown Hair Studio
Tshireletso Yvonne Diogo - Nubian Crown Hair Studio
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Winner - Cleopatra van Ster
Winner - Cleopatra van Ster
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Topco Media
DYNAMIC BUSINESS-TO-BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS MEDIA Topco Media is one of South Africa's leading business-to-business media houses, producing high profile, relevant conferences and awards. Our conferences include Africa Tech Week, Standard Bank Top Women, Top Empowerment, Future of HR, National Business Awards and Future of Sustainability. We also produce authoritative and informative business and investment publications such as Top 500, Top Empowerment, Nelson Mandela 100 years to name a few.
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