Johannesburg, 18 August --- Margaret Hirsch wins the Top Business Women of 2016 Award at the Topco Media and Standard Bank Top Women Awards hosted on 18 August 2016 at Emperor’s Palace, Johannesburg. This event celebrates and recognises female leaders in business that form a part of the 13–year legacy that is the Top Women Awards.
Margaret Hirsch, recognised as one of Africa's leading women entrepreneurs, is one half of a dynamic husband and wife duo that founded Hirsch's Homestores. Back in 1979, as a secretary, together with her husband Allan, then an appliance repair man, they unwittingly became entrepreneurs who went on to build an appliance, electronics and furnishing retail empire. Today, Hirsch's Homestores is the largest independently owned appliance and electronics business in Southern Africa, with seventeen branches and concept stores spread throughout South Africa. The Hirsch family business story is the quintessential story of making good against all the odds. From starting out unemployed, in a tiny showroom in Durban back in 1979 with just R900 (US$ 90) in savings, Margaret and Allan have built a business that by the end of 2012 topped the R1 billion turnover milestone.
Read Margaret Hirsch's 100 Lionesses Profile here.
“We have built Hirsch’s from a tiny little 'mom and pop' store to a billion rand company and I hope that I will be an inspiration to others to know that they can live their dreams as well.”
- Margaret Hirsch
The Top Women Awards programme recognises that in South Africa there are still several challenges that obstruct women from fully partaking in the market. Janine Hicks, a commissioner at the Commission for Gender Equality stated that, “In South Africa women represent just 29% of executive managers, 22% of directors of companies, 9% of chairs of boards and a mere 2.4% of chief executives. Under the employment equity legislation, companies are required to conduct an audit to assess what internal policies can be put in place to lower barriers that women face.”
Diversity in the workplace has been proven to drive businesses forward, especially where gender empowerment is concerned. On a level of management for instance, Harvard Business Review reported that women are more effective in these roles, from top management, down to individual contributors in a company. Diversifying has a large impact on companies; in fact, companies who have empowered women have experienced a surge of clients and an increase in profitability.
Women have often faced unique sets of challenges when entering the market as entrepreneurs, including the lack of access to traditional networks such as education, financing and experience; it is thus important to award and celebrate women who have emerged as business leaders in South Africa.
The Top Woman Awards make awards to women in the following categories among others: Top Woman in Oil and Gas, Top Woman Award in Aviation, Diversity in the Workplace Award, Health & Pharmaceuticals Award, Top Woman in Agriculture as well as Top Business Woman of the Year Awards.
The selection process of this year’s awards was judged by the CEO of BUSA, Khanyisile Kweyama; the Franchise Director of Discovery, Kate Moodley; the Prestige Director at Pernod-Ricard SA, Vika Shipalana to name a few.
The complete list of 2016 Winners:
ESOURCES AWARD – SPONSORED BY MINING QUALIFICATIONS AUTHORITY
Anglo American Platinum
RETAIL AWARD – SPONSORED BY TUMI
HEALTH & PHARMACEUTICAL AWARD – CLINIX HEALTH GROUP
TRANSPORT & LOGISTICS – SPONSORED BY O.R TAMBO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
FAST GROWTH WOMAN-OWNED SMME AWARD – SPONSORED BY IDC
ENERGY & UTILITIES AWARD – SPONSORED BY SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC
DIVERSITY IN THE WORKPLACE AWARD – SPONSORED BY CONTINENTAL TYRES
SKILLS DEVELOPMENT AWARD – SPONSORED BY MANCOSA
INNOVATION THROUGH TECHNOLOGY AWARD – SPONSORED BY TIA
CORPORATE CITIZENSHIP AWARD – SPONSORED BY DISTELL
FEMALE PUBLIC SECTOR LEADER AWARD (PARASTATALS AND GOVERNMENT) – SPONSORED BY PUBLIC SECTOR MANAGER
Bella Mfenyana – Government Employee Medical Scheme
GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENT AWARD – SPONSORED BY DIMENSION DATA
Department of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries
PARASTATAL / AGENCY AWARD – SPONSORED BY ASTERIO
Ithala Development Finance Corporation
TOP YOUNG ACHIEVER OF THE YEAR AWARD – 40 YEARS AND YOUNGER – SPONSORED BY SUNDAY TIMES
Joléne Leeuwner- Maritz - Leeuwner Maritz Attorneys
TOP WOMAN IN AVIATION – SPONSORED BY DENEL
Sizakele Mzimela – Fly Blue Crane
TOP MALE DRIVING GENDER EMPOWERMENT – SPONSORED BY PERNOD RICARD
Rob Davies – the Dti
TOP WOMAN IN AGRICULTURE AWARD – ARC
Anna Phosa – Dreamland Piggery & Abattoir
TOP WOMAN IN PROPERTY – SPONSORED BY JOHANNESBURG PROPERTY COMPANY
Ipeleng Mkhari – Motseng Investment Holdings
TOP WOMAN IN SCIENCE AWARD – SPONSORED BY ARMSCOR
Quarraisha Abdool Karim – CAPRISA
FEMALE ENTREPRENEUR OF 2016 AWARD – SPONSORED BY KABU DESIGN
Sarisa Ferreira – Areli Veg
TOP FEMALE HUMANITIARIAN OF THE YEAR AWARD – SPONSORED BY SOUTH AFRICAN
TOP BUSINESSWOMAN OF THE YEAR AWARD -SPONSORED BY STANDARD BANK
Margaret Hirsch – Hirsch’s