“Every year, before I look at the hundreds of entrants, I think I must surely have seen every single entrepreneurial idea out there. And every year I’m forced to admit I was completely wrong,’’ says FAIRLADY editor Suzy Brokensha.

“I am constantly amazed by the creativity, courage and sheer ingenuity of South African women — and that’s before we even talk about their grit and their staying power in the face of unique challenges like load-shedding and logistics. These women are in a league of their own,” adds Brokensha.

Through an independent survey, Santam found that the first 1 000 days of a business are the hardest. If you’re still in business by day 1001, they’ve found, you’re likely to succeed long-term.

Entrepreneurs can enter in the following three categories:

The FAIRLADY Santam Woman of the Future 2019 — this title goes to an entrepreneur aged 30 years or older whose business is older than 1 000 days (three years)  
The FAIRLADY Santam Rising Star 2019 — this  title is awarded to an entrepreneur between 16 and 30 years old who is still within her first 1 000 days but whose business has the potential to flourish
The FAIRLADY Santam Social Entrepreneur 2019 — this title is awarded to an entrepreneur making a difference in her community. Aged 30 or older, her business has survived the first 1 000 days
“As a centenarian, we’ve seen the importance of entrepreneurship over the last 100 years. It’s been a consistent focus for us, and we have a particular interest in fostering the potential of female entrepreneurs in South Africa,” says Mokaedi Dilotsotlhe, chief marketing officer at Santam.

“Women make up more than half of our country’s economy, so it’s imperative we give them the support and platforms they need to succeed for this country’s economy to thrive. That is why we value our partnership with FAIRLADY in the Women of the Future initiative — now in its fifth year — as it gives us a platform to honour entrepreneurs who are positively impacting our nation,” concludes Dilotsotlhe.

The prizes awarded to the three winners are R80 000 in cash to the Woman of the Future, R50 000 each in cash to the Rising Star and Social Entrepreneur and, to all the winners, a mentorship session with one of the judges, a short course from the IMM Graduate School worth R15 000, a Karissa Business spinner and business bag from Samsonite worth R7 000, a ladies watch from Obaku worth R2 000, a luxury beauty hamper and a media training session.

You can find the entry forms and terms and conditions here. Entries close on Friday, 7 June.

The public can nominate a female entrepreneur for entry into any or all of the three categories: Woman of the Future, Rising Star or Social Entrepreneur. Nomination forms can be found here.

 For more information, visit www.fairlady.com. You can follow FAIRLADY on Facebook or on Twitter.