Telecommunications game-changer recognised as Innovator of the Year and Medium Business category winner

Nadir Khamissa, owner and founder of Hello Group, a provider of game-changing integrated consumer and business services for migrant and marginalised communities, has been named Innovator of the Year® at the annual Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® award ceremony held in Johannesburg this morning. This title is awarded to an entrepreneur who has the ability to reinvent the way business is done in a specific market and provide an innovative service to customers.

The entrepreneur also clinched the title of Medium Business Entrepreneur of the Year® due to the impressive financial results the business has achieved, as well as its ability to constantly adapt to the changing market. The group consists of a number of subsidiaries, each of which offer an innovative product or solution to individuals from migrant and marginalised communities.

Hello Group’s three main products and services include HelloMobile – a prepaid SIM card which offers customers discounted international calls and competitive local tariffs; Hello Distribution – the distribution arm for telecom and financial services products to a base of 43,000 registered agents in the metro city centres and townships; and HelloPaisa – a low cost International Money Transfer company. Khamissa started the business after identifying a need for affordable international calls from South Africa.

Vincent Tshikhovhokhovho, a member of the 2015 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® judging panel, says that Hello Group’s product offering is extremely innovative and stands out in a very competitive and strictly regulated market. “The products help to empower South Africans in an affordable and accessible way. The judges also believe that Hello Group is a catalyst in bringing families and friends closer together no matter where they are, whether it is locally or internationally, especially among the working class and migrant communities.”

In addition to creating an innovative service, Hello Group has also started an entrepreneurship programme which trains individuals to understand basic concepts of business and then employs them as distributers, which has transformed the lives of thousands. After training these individuals the business supplies them with the required tools to ensure that they can manage their supply and support into target territories as well as support them with marketing and promotional activities to stimulate their business ventures.

Khamissa says that he feels truly privileged to be selected as a winner in the awards as it is recognition of the tremendous efforts by the people at Hello Group and their partners. “Celebrating and recognising great entrepreneurs gives young people role models and an example to follow. The hope is that these examples spark the imagination of the next generation of entrepreneurs to drive the world forward.”

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