24 June 2020: The BUSINESS/PARTNERS Entrepreneur of the Year® competition today announced that the 2020 iteration of the event has been cancelled due to circumstances resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

According to Gugu Mjadu – spokesperson for the BUSINESS/PARTNERS Entrepreneur of the Year® competition – the ability to fairly assess the current state and sustainability prospects of the entrants’ businesses has been impacted by COVID-19. 

“The effect that the pandemic and ensuing lockdown has had on the economy poses a challenge to our being able to effectively evaluate each entrant’s and finalist’s business. At this stage, we don’t believe we can effectively assess the long-term viability of a business in relation to the current competition criteria under these circumstances; it wouldn’t be a fair reflection,” says Mjadu.

She notes that the world of business has fundamentally changed and says that this requires a reconfiguration of the competition post-COVID-19. “We have gone back to the drawing board in terms of the competition structure, categories and prizes and we will return with a reengineered model for celebrating entrepreneurial excellence and the country’s business owners in our new normal.”

Scientists around the world are predicting that the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to last between 18 and 24 months meaning the awards event would not be in its preferred format. “Our awards event involves interaction between finalists and guests and serves as a networking platform for future business collaborations and with COVID-19 restrictions, this would not be possible,” Mjadu adds.  

She continues that, in the meanwhile, BUSINESS/PARTNERS will continue to support the small and medium business community in a number of ways: “We are offering various tailored relief packages to our clients and tenants that are financially impacted by COVID-19. We will also continue to combine our business finance with technical assistance, where required, to assist our clients mitigate the effects of COVID-19 and the lockdown.”

The Entrepreneur of the Year® competition team greatly appreciates the support, enthusiasm and interest that has been shown in the 2020 competition, and has communicated directly with all entrants thanking them for their contributions to entrepreneurship in South Africa and committing to keep them informed of any future developments with the competition.

Stay tuned to the Entrepreneur of the Year® competition website ( for updates on the competition and future events. “We look forward to a reimagined and exciting 2021 iteration of the competition, which will be communicated in due course – watch this space,” concludes Mjadu. 


About the BUSINESS/PARTNERS Entrepreneur of the Year® competition:

The BUSINESS/PARTNERS Entrepreneur of the Year® competition aims to honour, benefit and uplift South African SMEs. Now in its 32nd year, the competition celebrates excellence in entrepreneurship, serving as an inspiration to others to succeed in the world of business. Visit for more information.

About Business Partners Ltd.

Business Partners Limited (BUSINESS/PARTNERS) is a specialist risk finance company for formal small and medium owner-managed businesses in South Africa and selected African countries. The company actively supports entrepreneurial growth by providing financing from R500, 000 to R50 million, specialist sectoral knowledge, business premises and added-value services for viable small and medium businesses. Since establishment in 1981, BUSINESS/PARTNERS has provided business finance worth over R19.5 billion in over 71 600 transactions facilitating over 651 000 jobs. BUSINESS/PARTNERS was named the 2019 Gold winner in the SME Bank of the Year – Africa category at the recent Global SME Finance Awards. Visit for more information.

*BUSINESS/PARTNERS hashad remarkable results within the SME segment in Africa as a financier, even though it does not conduct the business of a bank.