Bigen recognised as Standard Bank’s Top Gender Icon

Sylvia Siphugu

Bigen Executive, Sylvia Siphugu, accepted the Standard Bank Top Gender Empowerment Icon Award on behalf of the Bigen Group.

Press Office: Bigen Group

Bigen, an innovative, solutions-focused infrastructure development Group and influential contributor to socio-economic development across Africa, received the Top Gender Icon Award for its firm commitment to women empowerment at Standard Bank’s 16th Top Women Awards ceremony held at Emperors Palace, Johannesburg, South Africa, 15 August.

Recognised as an iconic leader in gender transformation for empowering women in the workplace, Bigen was also named Top Gender Empowered Company in Infrastructure Development at last year’s Standard Bank awards.

The annual awards, purposely highlights Women’s Month and celebrates excellence in gender empowerment through recognising South Africa’s most accomplished women leaders, as well as top gender empowerment and transformation companies.

This year, the Top Gender Icon award was included as an extra-categorical honour, bestowed at the discretion of the Standard Bank Top Awards Editorial Board, to commemorate 25 years of democracy in South Africa. Bigen was selected as the winner based on its major and significant contribution to gender empowerment in the workplace.

Under the long-time guidance of Dr Snowy Khoza, Bigen’s Chief Executive Officer, the Group has firmly established itself as a proactive leader in gender transformation helping its women employees realise their potential through intensive leadership and other development programmes.

Externally, Bigen’s transformation policies are also highly effective in empowering women of disadvantaged communities in the African countries where the Group undertakes infrastructure development projects. Its formal policies on maximising socio-economic development on all infrastructure development projects are driven by a strong humanitarian spirit embodied in the Group’s purpose of ‘doing good while doing business’. By partnering with local entrepreneurs, with a particular focus on women, Bigen enables them to strengthen their businesses and so become competitive and sustainable.

Dr Khoza outlined the Group’s approach during an interview on the TV news channel eNCA on Women’s Day, 9 August 2019: “Our purpose of ‘doing good while doing business’ is driving development impact outcomes to ensure that young entrepreneurs and small businesses partner with us. We have a partnership approach in all the countries we operate in, to ensure that we practise localisation, also referred to as indigenisation. It means taking small businesses and working with them, ensuring that we empower them, so that when we complete the project and leave, those small businesses will be able to ensure that they are sustainable.”

Commenting on the Top Gender Icon award, Dr Khoza said: “We are honoured by the recognition Standard Bank has afforded us, and we remain committed to sustaining our positive impact on the women who are a part of our team as well as those whose lives we are able to transform through our projects.”

“Recognised as a market leader in infrastructure development, we appreciate our client’s needs to go beyond mere service delivery, and have fused our in-depth experience and knowledge of infrastructure development with a bespoke development impact and advisory service offering to maximise impacts such as gender empowerment, job creation, SMME empowerment and skills training,” Dr Khoza said.

Based on this approach and the Group’s insistence on top quality and extraordinary client service, Bigen has scooped up many industry awards over the years, a few of which are:

  • Top ranking in the Consulting Engineers sector of the 2019 Top 500: South Africa’s Best Managed Companies listings.
  • Engineering Company of the Year in the 2018 SA Professional Services Awards, sponsored by Sanlam Life Insurance Limited.
  • 2017 CESA Aon Engineering Excellence award.
  • 2017 African Business and Social Responsibility award for Corporate Innovative Societal Action.
  • 2016 Mentoring Company of the Year award from CESA.

Dr Khoza herself has received international recognition for her outstanding contributions to business, such as the Top Women Leaders in Africa Award by Women4Africa, a London-based organisation, one of three South African Women Ambassadors for Most Influential Women in Africa by CEO Global, Top Performing Business Leader Award in South Africa at the 13th South African Business Awards, the Africa Lifetime Achievers Award in Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government Awards, and Lifetime Achievement award in the 2018 SA Professional Services Awards, sponsored by Sanlam Life Insurance Limited.