Lucky chance leads to entrepreneurial success

South Africa’s top entrepreneur of 2012 revealed

In a field of 22 finalists, William Duk, owner of The Plantation Shutter Co., has been honoured with the title of the overall 2012 Entrepreneur of the Year® award in the annual Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® competition.

williamWilliam managed to successfully transformed The Plantation Shutter Co. – a previously bankrupt business – into a leading market player with a national footprint and healthy profits, in just over the space of five years.

According to Kobus Engelbrecht, a member of the judging panel of the 2012 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® awards, William illustrates the traits of a tremendously talented entrepreneur and is a worthy winner and representative of the competition. “We are very impressed with William’s achievement of transforming an insolvent business into a profitable and sustainable business. His strategy for the future, with specific reference to how he plans to harvest a different market segment, sets him apart from the rest.”

William’s entrepreneurial success began with a classic stroke of luck. He was contemplating purchasing an industrial building in Atlantis, 45km from Cape Town, and little did he know that he would come across a small bankrupt company, operating within the proposed premises. This business specialised in the design, manufacturing and installation of superior quality, custom-designed adjustable louvre window and door shutters.

In the spur of the moment, he decided to take over the debts and liabilities in exchange for a 50% share of the business. Within five years, he has managed to double The Plantation Shutter Co.’s work force and increased its turnover tenfold.

He says that effective leadership, combined with financial prowess, has helped him turn the company around and refocus the existing management to a new vision that has produced impressive achievements. He believes that it is the company’s focus on relentlessly serving their sophisticated market that is the critical factor underlying the business’s success.

For more information on The Plantation Shutter Co. visit