Have you come up with the best innovation to accelerate your business and deserve to be recognised as a successful young entrepreneur?

Who: Young women entrepreneur startups, Age: 20 – 34.
From: South Africa, Lesotho, Namibia, Eswatini, Botswana.

Award Ceremony will be held in Global Entrepreneurship Week.

Should your entry be successful and you are scored in the top 7 entries, you will be invited for a virtual interview between 6-10 November 2023

Closing date for entries 31 October 2023


In South Africa, Finfind engaged a sample of 15,000 SMMEs from its database of 400,000 businesses with almost 10% completing the survey. The Impact Report analyses data from these 1,489 SMMEs which includes representation across all sectors in all provinces.

While the outlook for the future is largely uncertain for SMMEs in South Africa, 76.7% of the business owners who were able to remain open, are optimistic about being able to survive in 2021. Only 32%, however, believe that they will be able to create new jobs – a significant alarm bell during an unprecedented unemployment crisis.
The report reveals several key challenges commonly faced by the SMME sector in South Africa during lockdown: Existing debt; lack of cash reserves; no access to relief funding; an inability to operate during the lockdown; and outdated financial information, being some of the key factors causing the closure of 42.7% of small businesses. Surprisingly, only 43% of businesses that closed had applied for COVID-19 relief funding, with 99.9% of these funding applications being rejected.

There was a 60% loss of full-time employees, and a 76.8% reduction of part-time employment in the first five months of the pandemic. Of all the SMMEs surveyed, 59.7% were unable to trade during lockdown level 5. More than 75% of all business experienced a significant decrease in revenue from the end of March to August. Only 35% of the SMMEs had cash reserves at the start of lockdown, with more than half of these being able to sustain themselves for between one and three months at most.

Prior debt was a major contributor to closures, with 66% of businesses that closed having debt before Covid-19, and half of these having outdated management accounts. These factors pose problems for businesses even in the best of times, but during the pandemic, they became critical causes of business failure.

Our Judges

Precious Gondwe

Precious Gondwe

Precious Masuku-Gondwe is a Pan-African corporate lawyer & Founding Partner of Precious & Partners based in Botswana.

Monalisa Sibongile Zwambila

Monalisa Zwambila

Monalisa Sibongile Zwambila is the CEO and founder of Riverbed, South Africa’s leading black female-owned agency, which she founded in 2007.

Nicole Sykes

Nicole Sykes

Nicole is managing the FNB Women in Business Niche with the aim to assist female clients with their growth, recognise their successes, and partner with them to increase their ability to influence.
Lara Rosmarin

Lara Rosmarin

Lara is the head of Entrepreneur Development and Incubation for CiTi – The Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative Africa’s most experienced incubator with a history of 23 years of impact.

Enter now

Should your entry be successful, you will be invited for a virtual interview between 6-10 November 2023.

Who: Young women entrepreneur startups
Age: 20 – 34
From: South Africa, Lesotho, Namibia, Eswatini, Botswana

If other, please specify
You may upload pdf, doc, png, jpg, xls and zip. (Size limit 10MB)


We would like to hear from you.