As part of its Women’s Month campaign, the Western Cape Government will honour the province’s top female entrepreneurs this week.

Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, said the Western Cape Department of Agriculture would announce the winners of the Female Entrepreneur Awards at a ceremony in Stellenbosch on Wednesday.

The competition is a joint effort between the National Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) and the provincial department of agriculture. It seeks to reward the efforts and contribution of women in job creation, economic growth and poverty alleviation.  

Provincial winners are entered into the national competition.

Last year, the Western Cape winner, Ilse Ruthford, was named as one of South Africa’s best female entrepreneurs when she won the agri-processing category at the national event.

Ruthford is the financial manager of the wine storage facility at the Compagniesdrift farm. The farm is one of the Western Cape’s land reform success stories. It is an equity scheme project where 50% of the farm is owned by the Meerlest Powerment Trust, of which Ilse is a member. 

The facility offers storage, bottling and labelling services to the wine industry.  Currently 42 producers in the wine industry store a total of 2 million bottles in the warehouse. It offers a cost-effective alternative to local wine producers who do not have easy access to such facilities. 

Minister Winde said the entrants served as an inspiration to women in the sector..

“Celebrating the role of women in agriculture must be an ongoing process. Our female entrepreneurs are excellent ambassadors for the Western Cape’s agricultural sector. One of my key priorities is to see more women in agriculture become beneficiaries of land reform programmes,” said Minister Winde.



Date:              19 August 2015
Time:               7pm
Venue:           Nooitgedacht Estate, R304 Koelenhof Road, Stellenbosch


For media queries, kindly contact:

Bronwynne Jooste
Spokesperson: Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities
Western Cape Government
Tel: 021 483 3550
Cell: 060 970 4301
Twitter: bronwynnejooste