The BUSINESS/PARTNERS Entrepreneur of the Year® competition is an annual competition that recognises and honours successful South African entrepreneurs in the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) sector. The competition celebrates excellence in entrepreneurship with the aim to inspire others to venture into and succeed in the world of business. The competition has built up a stellar reputation of unearthing and celebrating top South African entrepreneurs in the SMEs sector.

The BUSINESS/PARTNERS Entrepreneur of the Year® initiative is not just about the competition. It is about:
  • Promoting and celebrating entrepreneurial excellence;
  • Promoting entrepreneurship as an honourable and rewarding career path;
  • Sharing stories of entrepreneurial success;
  • Educating entrepreneurs so that they reach a standard of excellence;
  • Educating the youth about what entrepreneurship entails with the aim of encouraging them to select entrepreneurship as a viable career path;
  • Influencing Government legislation by being the voice of entrepreneurs in order to create a conducive entrepreneurial eco-system in which business owners can thrive.


Finalists stand the chance to win prizes worth a total value of R2 million, which includes cash prizes of over R500 000 coupled with mentorship support. Finalists and winners of the competition are able to expand their networks and receive invaluable exposure for their businesses – enhancing the value of their offering to their customer and the society.

The Judging process

The judging process is completely independent and is led by the judging panel comprising five judges. The judges represent different areas of the business community. The evaluation process runs through three different filtering processes ensuring that all entries are checked and rechecked to remove human error and subjectivity.

The data requested during this process also gives the judges very important and critical information which they need in order to make a complete and credible judgment on the candidate being reviewed. The judging process is completed by an interview with each finalist to ensure that any questions or issues needing clarity are addressed. An on-site visit at the businesses may also be conducted.