Top South African entrepreneur named


2013 winner of premier entrepreneurial competition announced

After navigating a grueling judging process and competing with 13 other finalists, Tommy Makhatho, owner of BiBi Cash & Carry, a retail group situated in the rural area of Qwa Qwa in the Free State, has been named the 2013 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® at an awards ceremony which was held in Johannesburg on Wednesday, 4 September 2013.

Due to the significant contribution he has made in his local community by providing jobs to more than 680 employees, Makhatho has also been named the 2013 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year Job Creator of the Year®.

In addition to his job creation achievements, Makhatho also assists fellow entrepreneurs by allowing smaller retailers to make use of the BiBi Cash & Carry brand name, in exchange for support and access to company information. The retailer also offers an in-house learnership programme to its staff, which transfers critical tools and skills to employees of all levels.

Makhatho presently owns seven BiBi Cash & Carry stores, which is currently South Africa’s largest entirely black owned retail operation, and is involved with 32 express stores, which he actively assisted in starting. Since the first store was launched in 1984 this retail group has grown in profit and size significantly.

According to Kobus Engelbrecht, a member of the judging panel of the 2013 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year ® awards, the success and perseverance Makhatho has displayed in a very competitive market makes him a truly worthy winner and an inspirational role model to aspiring entrepreneurs both within his community and the country as a whole.

“It is clear that Tommy understands the needs of the market segments in which he does business very well. This, coupled with his meticulous attention to detail, and an unrelenting will to continuously seek ways to add to his bottom line, makes him a worthy winner,” says Engelbrecht.

Born and raised in Soweto, Makhatho is a true example of an entrepreneur, having only been an employee for two years of his life. After starting his career as a waiter in Johannesburg many years ago, he made the bold decision to start his first entrepreneurial venture, which was a hair salon, and has not looked back since.

He says that the business has a competitive advantage over the bigger retail chains in the area due to his team’s superior local knowledge, its flexibility as a smaller regional player, as well as its determination to operate close to the townships and communities where most of its consumers reside.

“Being recognised, especially in a sector as competitive and fast as ours, which happens to be dominated by giants such as Shoprite and Spar, brings us great joy and inspiration. Winning the Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® award gives us an opportunity to display how an organisation can grow from nothing into a flourishing business, and all it takes is love, hard-work and most important, passion, to achieve it,” concludes Makhatho.

Visit for more information on BiBi Cash & Carry.

Life Path Health awarded Medium Business Entrepreneur of the Year® award

Anton-RossouwAnton Rossouw, founder and owner of Life Path Health – a network of private hospitals providing mental health inpatient and addiction treatment – was awarded the Medium Business Entrepreneur of the Year® title in the annual 2013 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® Competition, which was held in Johannesburg on Wednesday, 4 September 2013.

After a long journey within the medical industry which equipped him with a wealth of medical institutional experience, Rossouw established Life Path Health in 2001. The network of treatment facilities offer mental health inpatient treatment, including specialised services in mental health-related illnesses, addiction rehabilitation, Post Traumatic Stress and Anxiety Disorders.

Apart from playing an active commercial role in the healthcare industry, Rossouw also actively participates in the development of awareness surrounding mental health. The business prides itself on regular engagement with industry bodies to negotiate medical aid funding available for the treatment of mental illnesses. “The destigmitisation of mental illness in South Africa is a focal point for our company and our efforts have been a key driver to address the issue,” says Rossouw.

According to Dr Kerrin Myres, a member of the Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® judging panel, Rossouw is a role model for aspiring South African entrepreneurs. “In a competitive industry, he has managed to identify an opportunity to establish a sustainable business which employs over 200 people while taking on some sizeable competitors.”

Rossouw says that entering the competition has provided Life Path Health with an effective platform to raise awareness of mental illness and the destigmitisation thereof. “For that we are extremely grateful.”

Successfully establishing six clinics throughout the Western Cape, with a seventh clinic opening in October 2013, Rossouw plans to expand nationally in the next five years. “Being granted the opportunity to have my business assessed by the successful and experienced panel of competition judges, as well as winning this division of the competition, has given my team and I the confidence in our business for both current and future ventures,” concludes Rossouw.

For more information on Life Path Health, please visit

Coffee gurus claim Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year® award


Andrew and Chris Brown, co-founders of The Daily Buzz, an upmarket and speciality chain of coffee bars which service the corporate workplace, was awarded the 2013 Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year® title in the annual Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® Competition, which was held in Johannesburg on Wednesday, 4 September 2013.

The Daily Buzz was established in 2006 by brothers, Andrew and Chris Brown, after Andrew spotted a gap in the market for a superior, and easily accessible, coffee spot while working as a risk professional in Johannesburg. The idea to provide quality coffee in such a way that allowed employees to return to their workstations quickly and efficiently was then born.

As part of the start-up plan, Chris trained at the London School of Coffee, as well as other institutes situated in Italy, the United States and Africa in order to perfect the art of delivering a premium coffee experience.

Over the years The Daily Buzz has successfully secured a niche in the market by providing a trendy and convenient spot for employees in corporate buildings to enjoy quality and competitively-priced speciality coffee and fresh food. Another aspect which sets the business apart from its competitors is its on-going skills development programmes and training which is provided to all staff on a frequent basis to ensure exceptional service and product expertise.

Since opening their first coffee bar in the Standard Bank headquarters in Johannesburg with just two employees in 2006, The Daily Buzz has grown to seven outlets and employs approximately 60 people.

Andrew Brown says that it is a great honour for him, and the business, to be recognised by Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year®. “As entrepreneurs we so often achieve a goal only to replace it with a new goal and neglect to take stock and recognise how far we have come, and how successful our business has become.

“This award is recognition for our business’s success, and provides us with an opportunity to sit back for a brief moment and acknowledge our achievements.”

With five fellow finalists recognised in the small business category, Andrew and Chris were awarded the title as they perfected a simple product, added to it a healthy dose of service, and created a brand which is highly sought after, says Stefan Beyers, a member of the 2013 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® judging panel. “Ultimately what made The Daily Buzz stand out was the combination of a high quality product and a determined focus on customer service and experience.”

Andrew Brown believes that entrepreneurs play a valuable role in the economy by creating sustainable businesses and much needed employment. “Entrepreneurs take risks by converting ideas into a tangible business and by doing so create great value for the economy by providing employment and up-skilling opportunities for employees. At the same time they also create value for customers by providing a new or better service than what existed before an entrepreneur’s business was born,” concludes Brown.

For more information on The Daily Buzz, please visit their website

Innovative construction company awarded Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year® Award

Jonathan-David-PeplerFounder of construction business Silverline Group, Jonathan Pepler, has been recognised for his remarkable accomplishments during the early stages of a business life cycle by being awarded the 2013 Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year® title in the annual Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year ® Competition, which was held in Johannesburg on Wednesday, 4 September 2013.

The Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year® category which celebrates entrepreneurs who have been in business for less than three years, acknowledges Pepler’s success of becoming one of the largest light frame steel construction companies in South Africa in just a few short years.

In addition to providing conventional construction services, Silverline Group specialises in constructing light frame steel structures, a high-performance environmentally-friendly alternative building solution not widely used in South Africa. Modelled on international best practice used in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Asia, light frame steel structures are fast gaining popularity in South Africa, due to the fact that it offers an effective method of construction that produces no waste and 80% less carbon footprint than conventional building methodology.

This innovative building method also reduces the time needed to construct a building considerably and as a result, more businesses are opting to make use of this method as it allows them to start operating and making a profit much earlier than expected. A recent example of this is the new McDonald’s in Goodwood, Cape Town, which was able to open the outlet four months earlier, compared to the time it would have taken with traditional brick and mortar building techniques.

Due to the growing demand for this product, Pepler made the decision to franchise the company, making it the only franchised construction business in South Africa, and one of very few in the world. The company also provides significant support, mentorship and skills training to its more than 30 franchisees, which Pepler believes is a major factor behind the business’ success.

Pepler says that winning the competition serves as encouragement to further push the envelope to be more efficient, more effective and to make a greater impact on the environment, as well as the people and businesses which benefit from their product.

As a result of Pepler’s achievements, not only has an alternative and sustainable construction practice been created within South Africa, but his company and franchises are a major contributor to job creation and economic growth.

According to Kobus Engelbrecht, a member of the 2013 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year ® judging panel, Pepler stood out in the Emerging category due to his exceptionally well executed business idea and the enormous growth potential of the business.

“The building method Jonathan uses is not unique internationally, but within South Africa it is not widely used and has he set out to successfully convince the major role players in the local market to accept this building method. Banks, for instance, chose not to finance buildings constructed in this way, but Jonathan managed to convince them otherwise.

“Jonathan also successfully franchised his business, which enabled him to grow it into a business with a national footprint in a short space of time and without the need for a large amount of capital,” concludes Engelbrecht.

For more information on Silverline Group, please visit their website

Pharmaceutical company named Innovator of the Year in national entrepreneurial competition


Due to their passion to focus on disease prevention rather than cure, Dr. Conrad Smith and pharmacist, Mariaan du Plessis, founders and owners of Medical Nutritional Institute (Pty) Ltd, have been recognised for their ground-breaking research and development within the pharmaceutical industry. The medical professional duo have been awarded the Innovator of the Year award in the 2013 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® Competition, which was held in Johannesburg on Wednesday, 4 September 2013.

Established in 2002, the company specialises in the development of non-prescription medication made from organic molecules. All products are manufactured to the specifications of local and international medicine regulatory boards, including the Medical Control Council (MCC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

According to Ferose Oaten, a judge of the 2013 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® awards, Medical Nutritional Institute’s wide product range and consistent product development contributed towards the company being recognised as Innovator of the Year.

“The company has successfully developed new products in an environment the pharmaceutical industry has become sceptical about, and are persistent in their research and development of new and innovative products. The business has been successful in making their products credible in this sometimes cynical environment,” says Oaten.

Du Plessis, who is currently the chief executive officer at Medical Nutritional Institute, says that although the reputation of complementary medicine has been under continued scrutiny due to a lack of regulated quality products, Medical Nutritional Institute has continued to prosper. “For the past decade our company has developed top-quality products that are scientifically sound and able to withstand the scrutiny and scepticism of the mainstream pharmaceutical and medical world.”

She adds that the success of the business was as a result of a very compatible partnership, and the company has now set its sights on specific international markets. “When entering into a business partnership, budding entrepreneurs need to properly scrutinise their partner and be certain of their competencies. In addition to a strong entrepreneurial flair, the success of our business in the medical industry was complemented by a good mindset for business strategy and system development.”

Du Plessis firmly believes that this award will play a key role in the expansion of the company. “An award such as this has the ability to add tremendous value to any business. There is no doubt that this accolade will open the doors to many new business ventures.” concludes du Plessis.

Visit for more information on Medical Nutritional Institute (Pty) Ltd.

Margaret Hirsch scoops Lifetime Achiever Award

Margaret-HirschMargaret Hirsch, Chief Operations Officer of national appliance store, Hirsch’s, was awarded the Lifetime Achiever Award at the annual Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year ® Competition, which was held in Johannesburg on Wednesday, 4 September 2013.

Serving as a remarkable inspiration and role model to aspiring entrepreneurs, Hirsch, the first recipient of this award in the history of the competition, was celebrated for her significant contribution towards South African entrepreneurship.

Introduced in 2013, the Lifetime Achiever Award aims to commemorate seasoned entrepreneurs who have continually contributed towards the development and growth of South African entrepreneurship. This award will not only be obtainable by future competition finalists, but also among relevant industry veterans.

According to Hirsch, this award pays tribute to entrepreneurs who have remained focused on achieving their goals, and should serve to inspire the next generation of South African entrepreneurs. “Awards such as these convey the message that there are opportunities available for those with the correct mindset to create wealth and do extremely well in our country.”

Established in 1979, Margaret and her husband Allan started Hirsch’s from a tiny showroom in Durban. Specialising in air conditioning and fridge repairs, the company then expanded and began selling new products to their loyal client base. 34 years later, Hirsch’s has grown significantly and now boasts 12 stores as well as five concept stores across the country. In addition, the company currently provides employment to approximately 785 people.

According to Ferose Oaten, a member of the 2013 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year ® judging panel, Hirsch’s entrepreneurial success is a powerful reminder of the fact that there are always opportunities available to entrepreneurs – even when others might only see challenges.

“Her life is testimony to the resilience, patience and focus that makes a good entrepreneur. Hirsch is an inspiring role model to many entrepreneurs in South Africa and is a brilliant example of the type of leaders that we need to build wealth and prosperity in the country,” concludes Oaten.

For more information on Hirsch’s, please visit their website