SA’s top entrepreneurs recognised across sectors

South Africa’s premier annual entrepreneurial competition, Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year®, this morning named Gil Oved and Ran Neu-Ner, founders and owners of The Creative Counsel (TCC), as the overall winners of the 2015 competition in Johannesburg this morning.

Speaking at the event, spokesperson for the 2015 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® competition, Christo Botes, said that the judging process was extremely challenging this year, with judges having to select winners for the seven categories from 15 deserving finalists who were selected to advance to the final round of judging.

Botes says that Gil Oved and Ran Neu-Ner of TCC were selected as the overall 2015 Entrepreneur of the Year® winners due to the phenomenal success which the business has achieved in its 14 years of operation. “Founded in 2001 as a two-man agency, TCC is today the largest advertising group in South Africa by staff and turnover, with a targeted presence in Africa and plans to expand further into emerging markets.”

He says that TCC has also perfected the process of job creation – a trait inherent in entrepreneurs and a key reason why the competition seeks to discover and unmask South Africa’s economic heroes and celebrate the role they play in society. “The agency is one of South Africa’s largest private first-time employers in that the business employs untrained candidates and then focuses on up-skilling these individuals and equip them with experience for their future careers.”

Other 2015 category winners include:

2015 Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year®: Bryan Anderson, co-owner and co-founder of Delta Steam Systems

Anderson is the creator of a revolutionary Delta Venturi steam trap system, which removes water from steam systems to keep manufacturing systems efficient. The innovative product range is disrupting the global steam trap industry due to its simplicity and longevity.

2015 Medium Business Entrepreneur of the Year® and Innovator of the Year®: Nadir Khamissa, founder and owner of The Hello Group

The Hello Group exists to create game-changing integrated consumer and business services for migrant and marginalised communities, and consists of a number of subsidiaries, each of which offers an innovative product or solution for individuals from these communities.

2015 Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year®: Kim Whitaker, co-founder and co-owner of Once in Cape Town

Once in Cape Town is a hospitality establishment which is a combined product of two different accommodation types – a backpackers’ lodge and a luxury hotel – globally dubbed as a ‘poshtel’. The business offers a concise brand promise – the fun and adventurous qualities synonymous with a backpackers’ lodge, together with the cleanliness, safety, centrality and efficiency of a hotel.

2015 Job Creator of the Year®: Lewis Thomas, owner and founder of Partners Hair Design

Thomas started the successful group of Western Cape based hair salons 31 years ago and currently owns 14 are unisex salons and eight male salons. In 2012, he launched his second line of hair salons called Hair Freedom. Providing full-time employment to over 250 employees, Lewis has also established a successful SETA accredited hair training academy which educates and equips students with tools to success in the competitive industry.

KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) entrepreneur, Ncamisile Maphumulo, of Coastal Nephrology Centre – a kidney dialysis treatment centre in deep-rural KZN – was awarded the 2015 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® Judges Prize. The judges prize was introduced last year and seeks to acknowledge a business that may not yet be at the same level of the other entrepreneurs (in terms of size and turnover), but makes an impression on the judges due to their attitude and positive entrepreneurial outlook.

Botes says that the judges believe that Maphumulo’s business needed special recognition for the social impact it is making. Maphumulo decided to start her business to provide much needed healthcare solutions to the patients that were left stranded by the closure of the health company she worked for in the community. “Maphumulo recognised the need in the community and used her competence to render a much needed service,” says Botes.

The competition provides prizes worth R 2 million, and will see the overall winner receive a cash prize of R 100 000.00 and the other category winners receiving R50 000 each. Each winner will also receive valuable mentorship support, networking opportunities and associated marketing and national media exposure to further drive their business’ success. Past winners have also gone on to win other prominent national and international awards and form valuable partnerships as a result of their success in the competition.

Now in its 27th year, the 2015 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® competition aims to honour, recognise and uplift South African SMEs and entrepreneurs, as well as celebrate excellence in entrepreneurship and inspire others to succeed in the world of business.