Jeanne Groenewald of Elgin Free Range Chickens (EFRC), was honored as the Western Capes’ Top Commercial Female Entrepreneur during the 2014 Female Entrepreneur Awards held at Nelsons Creek by the Western Cape Department of Agriculture on Friday, 15th August.
This was the 14th edition of the DAFF Female Entrepreneur Awards – an initiative aimed at shining the spotlight on the roles played by women in food security, job creation, economic growth and poverty alleviation.
“Groenewald was awarded for the all round excellence in which she runs her business” – Elgin Free Range Chickens.
“I’m honoured to be receiving this award – although it definitely isn’t an individual accolade – the entire Elgin Free Range Chickens’ team have played an integral role in the success of the company.” Says Jeanne.
In a recent interview with Nancy Richards of SAFM, Jeanne elaborated on the fact that her business started with a passion to provide her family with chicken devoid of chemical enhancement.
What started as a few free ranging chickens in Jeanne’s’ back yard has grown rapidly over the years. With a strong entrepreneurial spirit and a BSc Agriculture in animal physiology and genetics, Jeanne was able to grow her small endeavour into one of South African poultry industry’s greatest success stories, whilst making a powerful contribution in the drive towards being truly free range.
In 2000 she established the state of the art Elgin Poultry Abattoir in Grabouw, and today she supplies almost 80,000 free range chickens per week to leading South African retailers, select deli’s and some of the Cape’s top restaurants.
Elgin Free Range Chickens currently provides jobs to 290 people, many of which are employed at the abattoir in Grabouw. With Grabouw having one of the highest unemployment rates in South Africa, job creation at this level is true testament to the positive effect that Elgin Free Range Chickens has and will continue to have on the local economy.
“Its important to us, to be active in our community and participate in making a better future for everyone, and not just through the excellence of our product”, says Jeanne, “we are very much part of a bigger family, being the Elgin farming community and actively involved in outreach and development projects”
The chicken produced by Elgin Free Range Chickens is Drug-free, stress-free, routine antibiotic-free, and animal by-product-free.
“I would like to thank the DAFF for recognizing women in agriculture as well as for offering assistance to female farmers, by supporting growth and expansion.” Says Jeanne.