Competition to boost SA entrepreneurs

In an effort to boost the level of entrepreneurship in South Africa, Sanlam and Business Partners have announced the launch of the 2012 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® competition.

This initiative, widely considered to be the pre-eminent competition of its kind in South Africa, has served as a springboard for past finalists and winners. “Besides the chance to win prizes worth a total value of R1 345 000, which includes cash prizes of R 200 000, finalists and winners are able to expand their networks and receive invaluable exposure for their businesses,” says Nimo Naidoo, project manager, of Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® competition.

For example, one of our 2011 winners has won new business worth more than R1 million per annum as a direct result of having participated in last year’s competition.

She says one of the key aims of the competition is profiling the success and significant job creation achievements of entrepreneurs from across South Africa. “We believe this plays a crucial role in elevating the standard of entrepreneurial activity, as well as fostering a national entrepreneurial spirit that directly translates into job creation.”

She says recent studies show that South Africa is lagging behind many of its competitors when it comes to entrepreneurship.

According to the 2011 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, South Africa’s TEA (Total Entrepreneurial Activity) currently averages 9.1%, significantly less than the 14.1% average for other efficiency-driven economies. In addition, the report reveals that for established business-ownership rates, South Africa currently ranks 51 out of 53 countries, which is 4.9% lower than the average of all other efficiency-driven economies.

“Despite these worrying statistics, South Africa’s entrepreneurial status has in fact improved year-on-year and there are some truly innovative small to medium-sized business owners that are playing their part in stimulating our economy. However, both Government and the Private sector need to do more when it comes to funding and fostering an entrepreneurial culture in our country, in order to address our unemployment cycle,” says Naidoo.

According to Naidoo, the competition is open to entrepreneurs from all industries and for businesses of any size. The 2012 competition will also feature a series of fourteen national workshops in six of South Africa’s provinces, where crucial entrepreneurial skills will be provided to attending business owners.

Entrepreneurs interested in entering can download entry forms online at as well as interact with fellow entrepreneurs and entrants on the 2012 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® competition social media platforms Twitter: @EOY_SA and Facebook: . The closing date for the competition is 16 June 2012.