Since winning the BWASA Business Woman of the Year Award in 2012 and going on to win over 20 business and life time achievement awards (Including the SANLAM Lifetime Achievement Award in Entrepreneurship) Margaret Hirsch, Chief Operations Officer of the Hirsch Group’s feet have barely touched the ground.
As well as managing the eighteen Hirsch branches and concept stores in three different provinces, she has made it her goal to motivate and inspire young girls throughout the country, to work hard at achieving their own goals and to make sure that those in the poorer urban areas are able to attend school on a regular basis.
Margaret took under her wing the Girls With Dignity project when she heard that millions of young South African girls were unable to attend school for one week every month when they had their periods. It drove her to personally buy thousands of rands worth of “Girls With Dignity” reusable sanitary packs and pads made by KZN Entrepreneur, Sue Barnes and distribute them to girls schools around the country. As well as distributing the packs, she used the opportunity to set the girls a task. To write an essay about what they would like to achieve in their lifetime. Margaret gave a cash prize to the best essayists at the schools. Some heart-wrenching stories came back from the girls.
Said one: “It was hard when my mother died. Growing up without a mothers love and care is bad enough, but being abused and then falling pregnant was like a bad dream. I knew I had to rise up against this and look to a bright and better future. Fall today. Rise tomorrow. My future is going to be wonderful. I have mapped it out and I know that I will be successful and I want to thank Mrs. Hirsch for helping me to see myself as the person I really want to be in the future!” said Margaret “I have been touched and overwhelmed by the tenacity and the strength of these young South African girls. They are our future and we need to nurture and inspire them to reach their own personal goals and ambitions.”
Four years ago Margaret started her own Business Woman of the Year competition in all the area in which Hirsch’s operates. Awards have gone to woman who just needed that extra dose of confidence to get their businesses to soar and Margaret has been delighted with the feedback that she gets from her awardees on a regular basis.