2015 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® competition launches
South African entrepreneurs rarely receive the acknowledgement they truly deserve, and should be praised for the role they play in the creation of jobs and economic development in the country. This is according to Nazeem Martin, managing director of Business Partners Limited, who was speaking in light of the 2015 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® competition launch which took place in Johannesburg today.
Now in its 27th year, the pre-eminent entrepreneurial platform continues to pay tribute to the fearless entrepreneurs who remain dedicated to not only fostering a culture of entrepreneurship in the country, but also to their business and staff.
Martin says that considering South Africa’s unemployment rate is at 25% and that it was recently announced that South Africa will have the 8th highest unemployment rate* globally in 2015, the role that entrepreneurs play in aiding job creation is evident. “The six 2014 Entrepreneur of the Year® competition winners collectively created over 400 jobs, while our overall 2013 Entrepreneur of the Year® winner generated over 800 jobs in the rural area of Qwaqwa. These figures confirm the pivotal role entrepreneurs play in job creation, as well as the more prominent role they could play in this space with additional support.
“By embracing local entrepreneurship, the competition provides entrepreneurs with an opportunity to showcase their achievements and elevate the business’s profile.”
The competition provides entrepreneurs with the chance to win prizes up to the value of R 2 million, which includes cash prizes to the value of R350 000. Competition winners will also receive valuable mentorship support, networking opportunities and national media exposure.
Martin says that apart from the prizes offered, a key takeaway for past finalists is the opportunity to take a step back and analyse their business, both by themselves, and along with an independent judging panel. “Often, entrepreneurs don’t fully comprehend how far their business has developed and grown over the years, and the networking opportunities with other entrepreneurs and judges allow these individuals to fully appreciate their achievements and the hard work and dedication that has gone into building their business.”
The competition also provides finalists and winners with the opportunity to obtain valuable regional and national publicity. “This exposure should not be underestimated as it has the potential to attract new customers, as well as increase a business’ reputation amongst existing clients.”
One such example is Dudu and Leema Mofokeng, joint owners of Legaci Dry Cleaners and Laundry Services, and winners of the Judges Prize in the 2014 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® competition. “The exposure gained from the competition has raised the profile of my company significantly. I have noted a marked increase in business enquiries received from customers, as well as prospective investors wanting to open a franchise,” says Dudu Mofokeng
Keynote speaker at the event, Farah Fortune, Director of African Star Communications & Event Management, who received the 2014 Women in Leadership award from the Women’s World Congress, says that awards, such as the Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® platform, are essential not just for the recognition of South Africa’s entrepreneurs, but also to the boost of morale within their industry. “As an entrepreneur who understands the struggles that come with running your own business, I feel it is important to show people that struggling doesn’t necessarily mean failure, instead it teaches entrepreneurs valuable lessons, and creates a platform to grow from,” say Fortune.
Entrepreneurs interested in entering the competition can download entry forms online at www.eoy.co.za as well as interact with fellow entrepreneurs and entrants on the Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® competition social media platforms www.twitter.com/@EOY_SA and www.facebook.com/EOY.SA. The closing date for the competition is 16 June 2015.