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