2014 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® competition open for entries

Fostering the culture of entrepreneurship in SA since 1988

The 2014 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® competition was today launched on 4 February, and organisers are calling for entrepreneurs who are striving to contribute positively towards South Africa’s economy and increase job creation – the heroes of the country’s economy – to submit their entries.

Now in its 26th year, South Africa’s pre-eminent entrepreneurial platform, which embraces local entrepreneurship by offering an opportunity for entrepreneurs to showcase their achievements and elevate their profile, as well as their profits.

According to Nimo Naidoo, project manager at Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year®, the competition aims to recognise, profile and reward entrepreneurs, as well as foster a culture of entrepreneurship in the country. “The competition celebrates and acknowledges entrepreneurial accomplishments and talent, and in turn inspires fellow entrepreneurs to take their business to new heights, as well encourages others to consider their entrepreneurship as a viable career path.

“It is truly inspirational to listen to entrepreneurs share their journeys, and it is important for these stories to be shared – not only to provide acknowledgment to the entrepreneur for their constant hard work and dedication, but also to inspire others to follow in their footsteps.”

The overall 2013 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year®, Tommy Makhatho, owner of BiBi Cash & Carry, says that the most interesting stories in business involve entrepreneurs and that these need to be shared, especially with the youth. “In my opinion, the number of entrepreneurs in the country is slowly declining, and one of the reasons is because the youth are not exposed to inspirational success stories.

“Countries such as the United States tell their stories, and while South Africa has stories to be told, they are not told enough. These stories need to be exposed to the youth, and competitions such as the Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® does exactly that.”

The competition provides entrepreneurs with the chance to win prizes worth R1 340 000, which includes cash prizes to the value of R350 000, as well receive valuable mentorship support, networking opportunities and associated marketing and national media exposure.

Makhatho (55) says being recognised for his business’ achievements has motivated and given him the confidence to review his business’ goals. “Winning this award has made me aware of where the business has come from and what we have survived thus far. It has also provided me with the strength to pursue another 25 years. This recognition makes me realise that this is only the beginning of our journey and that people should never stop dreaming, no matter their age.”

Makhatho says that he has also noticed an increase in interest towards his business since receiving the award. “I have been approached by many companies wanting to take my business to the next level. Thanks to the awareness generated from the awards, opportunities are now presenting themselves.”

The competition is open to entrepreneurs from all industries and businesses of any size. A series of national workshops will also be hosted leading up to the competition, which enables business owners to gain valuable entrepreneurial knowledge and lessons from a variety of speakers.

“Entrepreneurs truly are the heroes of our economy. The individuals that are providing positive knock-on effects for those around them, whether it is through business growth and development or job creation, should be recognised and rewarded. It is therefore vital that we equip these individuals with the tools and information that they need in order to grow their businesses further,” says Naidoo.