Local entrepreneur lands ‘prestigious’ international award

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Cape Town businesswomen and entrepreneur – Lesley Waterkeyn is one of five South African entrepreneurs who received an award from the International Women’s Entrepreneurial Challenge (IWEC) Foundation in the United States of America last night.

Waterkeyn, Founder and CEO of Colourworks – a Strategic Brand experience agency – specialising in Marketing and Events says the award is both an “honour and a privilege”. The IWEC is a New York-based non-profit organisation whose mission is to connect and develop a global network of successful women entrepreneurs. Waterkeyn along with fellow South African recipients: Vino Govender, of LA Consulting Engineers; Tara and Tiffany Turkington, of Flow Communications; Savanah Maziya Danson, of the Bunengi Group and to Jill Bysshe, of Natural Ethical Trading t/a Neo Trading were nominated by the Cape Chamber of Commerce for this award, each candidate run multi-million-rand businesses and produce an annual turnover of nearly half a billion rand.

“I feel incredibly honoured and humbled to be recognised by the prestigious IWEC. This award speaks to years of hard work and is testament that as a nation, we have a long line of diligent and committed women doing great things for our country. I congratulate the other recipients. I know for a fact they are as thrilled as I am,” she says.

In 1998, Waterkeyn transformed Colourworks from a small print agency into a full-scale, integrated marketing business. Today, the business produces an annual turnover of R50 million, which she describes as “wonderful milestone”.  

“At Colourworks we believe in working hard and playing hard. We have a great team and our at-work culture is of such a high standard. Our willingness to help each other, even with something as simple as a photocopy is what sets us apart from other agencies, what makes our office a home away from home and what contributes to our success,” she says.

Waterkeyn, an avid runner who completed the New York Marathon this month [November] says she also believes in the importance of giving back. In 2015 she started a social enterprise organisation – Over the Rainbow, which offers up-and-coming entrepreneurs the guidance, support and connections they need to build successful businesses and create wealth in the global economy. To-date Waterkeyn has conducted four training courses with 40 entrepreneurs.

“Building a culture of successful entrepreneurs is crucial for the economic development of our rainbow nation and exactly what we need to encourage skills development,

boost employment and achieve the new dawn we’re all waiting for,” she says.

The awards were presented at a special ceremony in Seattle.

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