EOY prides itself on the credibility of its assessment process hence the need to supply the judges with the detail needed to make an informed and thorough decision on finalists and winners of this competition.

To enter the Entrepreneur of the Year® competition sponsored by Sanlam and BUSINESS/PARTNERS, you need to be based in South Africa and comply with the minimum criteria of the categories outlined below.

Entrepreneurs who enter may be considered for the following categories in the Entrepreneur of the Year® competition:

Emerging Entrepreneur

An entrepreneur who has been in their present business for a maximum of 3 years and with a turnover not exceeding R5 million on the date the entry form is received by the steering committee. The entrepreneur must not be involved in any other business. The controlling shareholder(s) will be regarded as the entrant(s).

Small Business Entrepreneur

An entrepreneur who runs a business, irrespective of length of time during which it has been active, with a turnover of between R5 million and R30 million in the tax year immediately preceding the date of entering the competition. The controlling shareholder(s) will be regarded as the entrant(s).

Medium Business Entrepreneur

An entrepreneur who runs a business, irrespective of the length of time during which it has been active, with a turnover of more than R30 million in the tax year immediately preceding the date of entering the competition.  The controlling shareholder(s) will be regarded as the entrant(s).

Job Creator of the Year

An entrepreneur who not only employs a significant number of employees, but also plays a key role in uplifting, up-skilling and training them. They help towards making a dent in the unemployment rate of the community, area, province and country where the business is situated. The controlling shareholder(s) will be regarded as the entrant(s).

Innovator of the Year

An entrepreneur who has:

  • Reinvented the way business is done in his/her industry; and/or
  • Been innovative in the product or service being offered to the market; and/or
  • Found a way of drawing the best qualified and technical people in his/her industry and kept them by creating a special environment where employees can flourish. The controlling shareholder(s) will be regarded as the entrant(s).

Two additional Entrepreneur of the Year® award categories can be awarded at the discretion of the judging panel, namely:

Lifetime Achiever

An established entrepreneur who has made great strides in his/her business over many years. The steering committee proactively sources finalists for the Lifetime Achiever award category with the judges selecting the final winner.

Judges Prize

A category to acknowledge a business that may not yet be at the same level of the other entrepreneurs (in terms of size and turnover), but makes an impression on the judges due to aspects such as the business’s social impact, the entrepreneur’s attitude and positive entrepreneurial outlook.

Entrepreneur of the Year®

The overall winner is selected out of the emerging, small, or medium categories.