The 2012 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® competition acts as a catapult, driving growth, boosting self-confidence and improving internal efficiency for participating entrepreneurs and their businesses. However, the competition also aims to play a larger role in elevating the standard of entrepreneurial activity in South Africa, as well as fostering a national entrepreneurial spirit that directly translates into job creation.
The winner of the 2011 Overall Entrepreneur of the Year® award, Marc Sternberg, is the Managing Director of Spark ATM Systems, the leading independent Automated Teller Machine (ATM) deployer in South Africa. He says participating in the competition last year had myriad benefits for him personally, as well as for his company.
“To be recognised as a young and successful company has boosted the confidence of the staff tremendously and has also filtered into direct positive business results,” says Sternberg.
“Winning the competition has not only provided our company with a massive boost in confidence, but it has also greatly improved our brand’s credibility among existing and potential clients.” Sternberg also views the competition as an important networking opportunity to engage with like-minded entrepreneurs. “As a result of the award I was also able to network with other entrepreneurs and business innovators, sharing ideas and experiences that have allowed me to form new business and personal relationships”.
He highly recommends fellow entrepreneurs to enter the 2012 competition. “The process provides your company and its executive team an opportunity to use the competition as a benchmark to measure your business’s progress. It actually allowed us to conduct an internal audit of our business operations and sparked necessary improvements in our business processes”.
The competition also struck a personal chord with Sternberg. “Being a recipient of the 2011 award has ignited a personal interest in mentoring new and upcoming entrepreneurs. I’ve also learnt of the invaluable worth that entrepreneurship adds to the economy and of the huge dent it potentially can make in South Africa’s dire unemployment problem. Initiatives such as the 2012 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year ® competition are absolutely imperative to nurturing the social and economic well-being of South Africa.”