Fairlady announced the winners of its annual Fairlady Women of the Future Awards, in partnership with Santam, at an exclusive VIP luncheon at Summer Place in Hyde Park, Johannesburg on Friday 19 August. Sarah Collins, founder of Wonderbag, was named the Fairlady Woman of the Future for 2016.
Sarah receives R50,000 in cash, a mentoring session with one of the judges, a R3,000 shopping voucher from Queenspark, a Sony Xperia Z5 and Sony tablet, an online course from GetSmarter worth R12,500, a Bamboo Revolution watch and an Issey Miyake (L’Eau d’Issey) hamper worth R7,880.
Sarah's company manufactures, sells and distributes a revolutionary cooking product known as the Wonderbag. A Wonderbag is based on the oldest technology in the world – heat retention cooking. These non-electric bags are made up of chipped foam that is housed in colourful, African-inspired printed fabrics with a drawstring at the top to retain the heat. This simple but ingenious product allows for food to be brought to the boil by conventional cooking methods and once put into the Wonderbag will continue to cook the food for up to 12 hours. As of November 2015, they reached the 1 million milestone of Wonderbags sold across the world. Needless to say the business has grown significantly after Sarah's “light bulb moment” in 2008. It is now an internationally recognised product, but for Sarah it has always been more about creating something that would impact the world we live in and the people around us. Her factory is based in Tongaat, South Africa where the Wonderbags are manufactured and distributed to the various warehouse and retail outlets which makes them available to the public to be purchased. The bags are also sold online and in select retail stores, as well as through Wonderpreneurs in their communities. A Wonderpreneur is someone who earns a living by selling the products and in doing so is bettering their own lives and those of the community they serve.
Upon winning her award, Sarah had this to say: “My heroines are African women. I am exceptionally proud to be African. Our resilience and capacity for innovation is so inspiring!” Sarah plans to spend her prize money where it counts, by putting it back into the community where she started the extraordinarily successful Wonderbag – an informal settlement outside Soweto.
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