EOY | About the Competition

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.

Promoting, Sharing, Educating and Influencing

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.

Prizes

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.

History

History of the competition

Promoting entrepreneurial excellence as the norm, not the exception

Business Partners Limited (BUSINESS/PARTNERS), one of Africa’s leading business loan and equity providers and 2019 Gold winner: SME bank of the year (Africa), initiated the Entrepreneur of the Year® competition in 1988 to celebrate the vision, passion, innovation and commitment of individuals running successful small and medium enterprises.

However, the candidacy was limited to the client pool of BUSINESS/PARTNERS. To this end, BUSINESS/PARTNERS decided to extend the programme to the rest of the South African business community. With this extension came much success and collaborations.

There are many entrepreneurial competitions in South Africa that acknowledge businesses on some level, but none that offer the same national credibility as the BUSINESS/PARTNERS Entrepreneur of the Year® competition in the formal small and medium enterprise fraternity.

The competition recognises and empowers South Africa’s successful entrepreneurs by enhancing their knowledge, networks and exposure. It is widely considered to be the pre-eminent competition of its kind in South Africa and has served as a business growth springboard for past finalists and winners.

Competition criteria The judging process

Competition Criteria

The BUSINESS/PARTNERS Entrepreneur of the Year® awards 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 BUSINESS/PARTNERS Entrepreneur of the Year® competition, 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:

The overall winner is the outstanding entrepreneur who outshines their competition and is selected from the group of finalists for the year.

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

An entrepreneur who has been in their present business for a minimum of one (1) year and a maximum of five (5) years on the date the entry form is received by the steering committee. There are no limitations in terms of turnover. The controlling owner must be stated.

An entrepreneur who runs a business, irrespective of length of time during which it has been active, with a turnover of up to R30 million in the tax year immediately preceding the date of entering the competition. The controlling owner must be stated.

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 owner must be stated.

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 owner must be stated.

An entrepreneur who has the ability to:

  • Reinvent the way business is done in his/her industry; and/or
  • Be innovative in the product or service being offered to the market; and/or
  • Find a way of drawing the best qualified and technical people in his/her industry and keeping them by creating a special environment where employees can flourish.
  • The controlling owner must be stated.

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

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.

Our in-depth judging process culminates in 7 winners being announced and honoured at our awards ceremony.

The evaluation process runs through three different filtering processes, or stages, which ensure that all are checked and rechecked to remove human error and subjectivity.

The judging stages include the following:

Preliminary screening of the entry forms to shortlist within the three main categories of emerging entrepreneur, small business entrepreneur and medium business entrepreneur.

Financial information and supporting documents are requested from this list. The data requested 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. From here finalists are chosen.

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.