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.

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