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THE DIFFERENCE A YEAR CAN MAKE: 2023 VEUVE CLICQUOT BOLD WOMAN AWARD WINNER, CLAIRE BLANCKENBERG, REFLECTS ON THEN AND NOW

It has been almost a year since Claire Blanckenberg was honoured as the winner of the 2023 Veuve Clicquot Bold Woman Award. Launched in 1972, the Bold Woman Award is imbued with the enterprising spirit of the Maison’s leading lady, Madame Clicquot, and celebrates female entrepreneurs who share her values of determination and fearlessness. We sat down with last year’s laureate to hear what life, and business, have been like since joining the Bold community.

Claire says that being awarded the 2023 Bold Woman Award by Veuve Clicquot was something of a watershed moment. “It’s lovely to be recognised, not just for the work I’m doing, but also for being the woman that I am,” says Claire, whose company Reel Gardening has revolutionised home food cultivation and food security in South Africa, through an innovative embedded seed tape system. “I didn’t win the award because Reel Gardening was a great idea or I had a patent, I won the award because I’m a bold woman and I have built a mission-driven business that uplifts other women,” she explains.

Since July last year, Claire has been empowered to steer her businesses into new chapters through mentorship provided by the jury panel. She has been focused on growing her team and enabling them to make day-to-day decisions without her so that she can spend more time on bigger-picture plans and establishing longevity systems. “Since I’ve won the award, we’ve hired an additional 12 people,” says Claire. Along with a growing team, Reel Gardening has experienced global expansion, too. Following a successful launch into Singapore, the company has some very exciting new regions in the works. “Because of all these developments, I’m taking more time to focus on strategy,” Claire explains. “I’m working to understand the bigger picture and plot the map while not necessarily having to be the one behind the steering wheel all the time,” she laughs.

Reel Gardening has seen immense growth since its founder, Claire, joined the global Bold community. This shift doesn’t come down to the award, its exposure, and advice from the jury panel alone, but rather how the Bold platform has cemented her place in an empowering international community, allowing her to connect with other like-minded, inspiring entrepreneurial women from around the world. Blazing the trail for others to follow in their footsteps, Claire is committed to supporting women in business. Internally, she is committed to equipping her all-woman management team with the tools to run the business effectively. Meanwhile, externally, she’s exploring new avenues to share her insight with other aspiring female founders.

Before winning the award, Claire was successful in founding innovative businesses. Since becoming a Bold Woman, she has secured her role as fearless entrepreneur, encouraging future generations of women to do the same.

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