2015 competition now open for entries

Now in its 27th year, the Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® competition – the premier entrepreneurial platform in South Africa – continues to pay tribute to the fearless entrepreneurs who remain dedicated to not only fostering a culture of entrepreneurship in the country, but also to their business and staff.

South African entrepreneurs rarely receive the acknowledgement they truly deserve, and should be praised for the role they play in the creation of jobs and economic development in the country. Our competition aims to do precisely this – recognise, profile, celebrate and reward entrepreneurs making a difference in the economy, as well as foster a culture of entrepreneurship by inspiring following entrepreneurs to take their business to new heights. By doing this we can encourage others to consider entrepreneurship as a viable career path.

The World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends 2015 report, recently released by the International Labour Organization, revealed that South Africa will have the 8th highest unemployment rate globally in 2015. The six 2014 Entrepreneur of the Year® winners collectively created over 400 jobs, while our overall 2013 Entrepreneur of the Year® winner – Tommy Makhatho, owner of BiBi Cash & Carry – generated over 800 jobs in a rural area of Qwaqwa. These figures confirm the pivotal role entrepreneurs play in job creation, as well as the more prominent role they could play in this space with additional support.

We therefore once again call on local entrepreneurs to submit their entries and reap the many benefits that the competition offers.

The competition will not only provide entrepreneurs with an opportunity to showcase their achievements and elevate the business’s profile, but also the chance to win prizes up to the value of R 2 million, which includes cash prizes to the value of R350 000. Competition winners will also receive valuable mentorship support which enables them to take their business to new levels, as well as networking opportunities with likeminded entrepreneurs.

Apart from the prizes offered, a key takeaway for past finalists is the opportunity to take a step back and analyse their business, both by themselves, and along with an independent judging panel. We often find that entrepreneurs don’t fully comprehend how far their business has developed and grown over the years, and the networking opportunities with other entrepreneurs and judges allow these individuals to fully appreciate their achievement and the hard work and dedication that has gone into building their business.

The competition also provides finalists and winners with the opportunity to obtain valuable regional and national publicity and exposure, which should not be underestimated as it has the potential to attract new customers, as well as increase a business’ reputation amongst existing clients.

One such example is Dudu and Leema Mofokeng, joint owners of Legaci Dry Cleaners and Laundry Services, and winners of the Judges Prize in the 2014 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® competition. “The exposure gained from the competition has raised the profile of my company significantly. I have noted a marked increase in business enquiries received from customers, as well as prospective investors wanting to open a franchise,” says Dudu Mofokeng

Entrepreneurs interested in entering the competition can enter online here. The closing date for the competition is 16 June 2015.

Good luck to all 2015 entrants – we look forward to hearing your entrepreneurial success stories!