The Entrepreneur of the Year® competition sponsored by Sanlam and BUSINESS/PARTNERS aims to celebrate entrepreneurial excellence and honour those who are truly successful as heroes of our society. South Africa reportedly has low levels of total entrepreneurial activity and as such desperately needs more entrepreneurs. This competition helps to shine the spotlight on successful entrepreneurs with the aim to inspire others to venture into and succeed in the world of business.

We hope that when seeing the entrepreneurs that we are celebrating, those entrepreneurs that have been in business for some time might also say: “If they can do it, I too can do it”. Through this initiative, therefore, we can step up the overall quality of our South African entrepreneurs.

The Entrepreneur of the Year® award is the ultimate acknowledgement everyone should aspire to. It is not just about the competition, it is much more than that. The Entrepreneur of the Year® competition is about developing the standard of excellence in entrepreneurship all over South Africa. It is about promoting that excellence as the norm and not the exception. It is about promoting entrepreneurship as an honourable and rewarding, yet challenging career. It is about educating entrepreneurs so that they reach that standard of excellence.

It is about educating the youth about what it entails to be an entrepreneur so that they can make better choices about their career options. And at the end of the day we expect to influence government legislation in not only how the country facilitates the subject of entrepreneurship in our schools but also what legislation should be in place to ensure that we create a healthy legal environment in which our entrepreneurs can operate their businesses and thrive.

By showcasing our winners and running the competition, as well as all the workshops and launches we host, we hope to build the momentum of media activity that usually follows such events and through the media activity showcase the role models that Entrepreneur of the Year® competition has selected as pillars of our community. These roles will help influence the SME sector for good, and in time we will have contributed towards changing the face of entrepreneurship in South Africa.

Entrepreneurs should take their rightful place as pillars of strength in our communities and our economy, and they need to have a powerful force behind them ensuring that all involved in this sector are stepping up to their responsibilities.

The judging process

The judging process is completely independent. The judges represent different areas of the business community. The evaluation process runs through three different filtering processes, which ensure that everything is checked and rechecked to remove any human error or human preference which may creep in from time to time.

The data requested also gives the judges very important and critical information which they need in order to make a complete and holistic judgment on the candidate being reviewed. The judging process is then completed through an interview with each finalist to ensure that any questions or issues needing clarification are addressed. Furthermore, site visits are also conducted

Prizes

Finalists stand the chance to win prizes worth a total value of R2 million, which includes cash prizes of R500 000. Finalists and winners are able to expand their networks and receive invaluable media exposure for their businesses as a result of the competition.