Finalists for leading entrepreneurial competition announced

Quality of 2013 entrants praised by judges

After a gruelling first round of judging the 2013 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® judges have announced that 14 finalists have been chosen to go through to the next round of the competition, with the ultimate winner to be announced in September.

According to Nimo Naidoo, project manager of the 2013 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® competition, the quality of entries received this year significantly impressed the judging panel and have set a precedent in terms of entrepreneurial talent and success in South Africa.

She says that they received a record number of entries from talented South African entrepreneurs this year – an increase of over 100% on the 2012 competition. “The calibre of entrants and quality submission content has improved tremendously in comparison to previous years, which bodes well for South Africa’s entrepreneurial future.

We would like to congratulate and commend all entrants, as these are the individuals addressing the unemployment crisis in South Africa and positively playing a role in the growth of our economy. They have all made a significant contribution towards society and all deserve to be celebrated.

This year entrepreneurs from numerous sectors entered the competition, which included the manufacturing, services, retail and construction industry.

She says that there was a slight increase in the number of entries received from female, as well as black entrepreneurs. They also noted that the entries were very varied in terms of location, and that the entrepreneurs seem to be spread throughout South Africa. It was also encouraging to see entries from under-developed areas as these entrepreneurs are making great strides in creating jobs for the community.

“We were very pleased with the number of entries received from entrepreneurs who make a distinct impact on the economy. The number of jobs created by these individuals, in addition to the businesses’ turnover and tax contributions they make, play an important role in the country.”

Naidoo says that the 14 finalists operate in various sectors, the most prominent being the manufacturing and engineering and services sectors.

“Entries from these industries highlight that businesses within the critical manufacturing sector are thriving. It is encouraging that South African entrepreneurs are not afraid to enter this vital job-creation sector, even in the tough current economic climate.”

Naidoo says that in the tough economic climate it is encouraging to receive such an overwhelming response from thriving entrepreneurs who are creating jobs and contributing towards the economy. “In the sometimes challenging business environment, successful entrepreneurial role models need to be celebrated and recognised, which is what the competition strives to do.”

She says that the 2013 finalists stand the chance to win prizes worth R 1 340 000, which includes cash prizes to the value of R300 000. “Beyond the chance to win prizes, previous entrants and finalists have benefitted from the competition’s various networking opportunities and associated marketing efforts.”

The 2013 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® winners will be announced on 4 September 2013 at the official awards breakfast in Johannesburg. “We are very excited to venture into the final stages of this year’s competition and wish all of the entrants the best of luck,” concludes Naidoo.

2013 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® finalists:

Jonathan David Pepler (Silverline Group), Wendy Kemp (Accountability Group), Tim Matthis (Thirty by Thirty Marketing), Andrew and Chris Brown (The Daily Buzz), Sue Hadcroft (Cubicle Manufacturing Solutions), Anton Rossouw (Life Path Health), Margaret Hirsch (Hirsch’s), Mariaan Du Plessis and Conrad Smith (The Medical Nutritional Institute), Nandha Moodley (Rubber Engineering), Lewis Thomas (Partners Hair Design), Ebrahim Patel (Malcom-Ezindaleni Hydraulics & Engineering (Pty) Ltd), Andre Visser (Fabrinox), Tommy Makhatho (Bibi Cash and Carry), Paul Kent (Sureswipe).