Seven SA star entrepreneurs recognised at premier competition

Mining engineer, Samuel and Motlapele Molefi – founders and owners of Modi Mining CC – were named this morning as the overall winners of the 2018 Entrepreneur of the Year® competition sponsored by Sanlam and BUSINESS/PARTNERS. Modi Mining provides contract mining services to companies specialising in the South African mining sector.

Speaking at the event that celebrated three full decades of discovering and cultivating the best entrepreneurial talent that South Africa has to offer, spokesperson for the 2018 edition of the competition, Gugu Mjadu, said that the Molefi couple was selected as the overall 2018 Entrepreneur of the Year® winners because of the remarkable growth and expansion their business has exhibited, in spite of a harsh economic climate.

“Despite operating within an industry that continues to face significant challenges, Modi Mining has experienced average growth of over 30% per annum since starting operations in 2011, increasing net asset value from below R1 million in 2012 to over R80 million last year. This is truly impressive!” says Mjadu.

Other 2018 category winners are:

  • Beverley Gumbi, the founder and owner of Isivuno Container Business (“Isivuno”) was awarded a special Judges Prize in this year’s competition.  The judges prize was introduced in 2014 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 the business’ social impact and future potential and the business owner’s attitude and positive entrepreneurial outlook.

Mjadu says the judges believe that Gumbi has the entrepreneurial attitude and determination required to go far. “Beverley’s energy is just contagious and, while she is a female with no engineering experience or technical training, she is tackling a traditionally male-dominated industry and making a success of it!”

As part of this year’s 30-year celebration of the annual competition, the judges also recognised the illustrious South African entrepreneur and property developer, Dr. Richard Maponya, with a Lifetime Achiever award.  

“Dr Richard Maponya is an entrepreneur par excellence and his family name is synonymous with entrepreneurship in South Africa. He did not only make a success of business in an era when black entrepreneurs faced many obstacles that prevented them from being successful but has built a formidable business empire in the democratic South Africa which should remain for generations to come.

Dr Maponya is a legend and excellent role model for entrepreneurs in South Africa across all genders and races. It is a true honour that he has availed himself to accept our Lifetime Achiever Award.”

The competition provides prizes worth R 2 million, which include cash prizes of R70 000 per category and R200 000 for the overall winner, towards further growing their businesses. Beyond these monetary prizes, Mjadu adds that 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 as a result of their success in the competition and form valuable partnerships with fellow winners and finalists.”

Now in its 30th year, this competition and others like it serve a particularly important purpose in South Africa, concludes Mjadu. “Entrepreneurial competitions of this calibre serve a dual purpose – they are a celebration of the hard-working self-starters in the country, and also act to inspire budding entrepreneurs who have the potential to create employment and economic growth at a time where the country is facing numerous challenges in this regard.”

Local container conversion company recognised by special entrepreneurial prize

Beverley Gumbi, the founder and owner of Isivuno Container Business (“Isivuno”) – a container conversion, rental and supply company, based in Pinetown, KwaZulu-Natal – has been awarded the Judges’ Prize at the 2018 Entrepreneur of the Year® competition sponsored by Sanlam and BUSINESS/PARTNERS awards ceremony, held in Johannesburg this morning.

The Judges’ Prize is an additional award that was introduced to the 30-year-old competition in 2014 to recognise businesses that may not yet be at the same level – in terms of size and turnover – of the competition winners, but make a special impression on the judges due to their business’s social impact and future prospects and the entrepreneur’s attitude and positive entrepreneurial outlook.

“Beverley’s energy is just contagious and, while she is a female with no engineering experience or technical training, she is tackling a traditionally male-dominated industry and making a success of it!” said this year’s competition judges.

Established in 2005 to offer a creative solution to the dire shortage of infrastructure and service delivery in both urban and rural communities in South Africa, Isivuno’s refurbished containers can be erected within a short space of time, are mobile and very versatile.

With a mission to serve both the private and public sectors’ needs, Gumbi says she is driven by the prospect of bettering the community, country, and ultimately even the continent. “I want to contribute to local economic growth and socially sustainable development through the manufacture, design and supply of ‘fit for a purpose’ converted shipping containers and park homes for communities and SMMEs at extremely competitive rates.

“Having focussed mainly on the conversion of ordinary shipping containers into business and dwelling units, we are well on our way to becoming the local enterprise development partner of choice. However, our sights are set higher than this, and we hope to one day penetrate other African markets by forming strategic partnerships with formidable companies across the continent.”

The business has already shown tremendous growth from its early days where the majority of the equipment was rented, to now where it owns all of its equipment and tools. When asked what she is most proud of, Gumbi says that her greatest pride comes from seeing the innovative solutions that Isivuno has been responsible for creating over time.

“In addressing the various challenges that our clients present us with, we have created a number of truly innovative products. These include a waterless ablution facility to address ablution challenges in rural and underdeveloped areas, the popular waterborne or waterless shower/toilet combo, and doctor’s consulting rooms to encourage people to get tested and know their HIV status.

“We have even converted a shipping container into a cinema before – the possibilities are truly endless,” she adds.

It is this innovative nature and contagious sense of determination that has made Beverley a deserving winner at this year’s Entrepreneur of the Year® competition. For more information on her business, please visit the Isivuno Container Business website: