According to the group, Duchess is committed to connecting industry needs and ideas with a network of production specialists, with the aim of giving first option to female experts.

The business will be guided by a non-executive, independent Brains Trust of women who are passionate about empowering other women. The startup will additionally provide a mentorship and advisory role to the Duchess members.

In addition to Naidoo, Duchess enjoys the leadership of:
  • Suhana Gordhan
  • Aileen Sauerman
  • Tracy Jones, and
  • Meagan Fester.
"Our intention with Duchess is to legitimately empower women in our industry with no fronting or 'special structures'; [it's] just a production business owned by women, managed by women and employing women," says Naidoo.

"This is the first phase of a process of finding and growing female talent that can provide the industry with excellent service, while giving women the opportunities they deserve," adds Naidoo.

In addition to its BEE and female-empowerment credentials, a percentage of all Duchess profits will be invested in a unique Trust for the development of women, or individuals who identify as women, within the advertising and communications industry.

DUKE Group CEO Wayne Naidoo says, "An entity like Duchess is long overdue in South African business — a powerful, female-owned-and-managed business that exists to meet the production, media, social, economic and cultural landscape. We are extremely proud to have such a groundbreaking entity within the DUKE Group."

Nino concludes, "We're not here to take away from other black female-owned businesses or creatives but rather to channel business in their direction, to prioritise female creatives, as well as to grow and nurture a pool of young and emerging talent."

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