SA’s best entrepreneurs recognised at 2014 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year®

The winners of the 2014 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® competition were announced at an awards ceremony held on 3 September in Johannesburg.

Following a stringent judging process, the 14 finalists were narrowed down to five winners. The overall 2014 Entrepreneur of the Year® winner was Adri Kruger, owner of Tzaneen Country Lodge, a country style hotel situated on a 170 hectare working mango farm just outside Tzaneen in the Limpopo Province. Starting with an old and dilapidated farmstead in 2000, Kruger managed to successfully develop what was intended to be a four-bedroomed guest house into a full service 60 bedroom hotel.

According to Christo Botes, spokesperson of the Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® competition, Kruger was awarded the overall title due to the resilience she showed in the current economic climate and her ability to adapt her business model to attract a different market from the ones she typically served – both traits inherent in a true entrepreneur.

The 26 year old competition, widely considered to be the pre-eminent of its kind in South Africa, celebrates excellence in entrepreneurship and aims to honour, benefit and uplift South African small and medium enterprises (SMEs) by providing a platform for entrepreneurs to showcase their achievements and elevate their profile, as well as their profits.

Other 2014 category winners include:

  1. 2014 Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year®: Johan Eksteen, owner of Agricon (Pty) Ltd, a worldwide supplier of pelletizing machinery and equipment as well as agri–processing factories.
  2. 2014 Medium Business Entrepreneur of the Year®: Marthie Jansen Van Rensburg, founder of Ekurhuleni Artisans and Skills Training Centre (Pty) Ltd. Based in Kempton Park, Johannesburg. The centre focuses on training unemployed individuals as artisans.
  3. 2014 Job Creator of the Year®: Theresa J Cupido, CEO and owner of ATN Group (Pty) Ltd, which has over a 100 years of combined expertise and skills in the Roadmarking and Civil engineering field. The group employs between 250 and 300 individuals, and has grown its employment rate by 100% in the last year.
  4. 2014 Innovator of the Year®: Lorimer Gowar, founder of Larrem (Pty) Ltd, is a leading player in South Africa’s Animal Health industry and specialises in the manufacturing of veterinary nutriceuticals, pharmaceuticals, feed additives and supplements, as well as raw material commodity sourcing.

The competition provides prizes worth R1 340 000, which includes a cash prize of R100 000 for the overall winner and R50 000 for each of the other category winners. Each winner will also receive valuable mentorship support, networking opportunities and associated marketing and national media exposure to further drive their business’ success.

An additional award that was handed out this year was the 2014 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® Judges Prize, which was awarded to joint owners of Legaci Dry Cleaners and Laundry Services, Dudu and Leema Mofokeng. With branches based in Pretoria and a head office in Silver Lakes, the company currently has three retail outlets and an industrial plant specialising in high-end dry cleaning services for the hospitality and commercial industries, as well as individual clients.

Botes says that this prize was awarded to Legaci Dry Cleaners and Laundry Services as the business made the biggest impression on the judges. “While the business is not yet at the level of the other entrepreneurs awarded this year, in terms of size and turnover, Dudu and Leema Mofokeng have managed to grow the business organically from nothing when they first established the business in 2008. We have no doubt that this business will continue to grow and succeed.

“The competition is committed to playing a crucial role of creating awareness for local entrepreneurs, the heroes of South Africa’s economy, and in so doing contributing towards elevating the level of entrepreneurial activity in the country. We have seen first-hand how the competition has assisted past winners to grow their businesses and inspire fellow entrepreneurs in the process. We wish all of our 2014 winners continued success and will monitor the evolution of their businesses with keen interest,” concludes Botes.