SA’s premier entrepreneurial competition marks 30 years of celebrating entrepreneurial excellence

Amid the current political optimism, entrepreneurs should be especially inspired by the continued commitment to SME support which emerged as a consistent theme in both the 2018 State of the Nation Address and the National Budget Speech. This is according to Christo Botes, spokesperson for the 2018 Entrepreneur of the Year® competition sponsored by Sanlam and BUSINESS/PARTNERS, who believes that this continued focus evidences Government’s recognition of the vital role played by entrepreneurs in enabling economic growth.

Speaking in light of the launch of the 2018 competition, Botes says that this long-deserved recognition of the SME sector only further validates the competition’s unwavering commitment to celebrating excellence in entrepreneurship and fostering future economic growth.

“Now in our 30th year, this renowned competition continues to pay homage to the fearless South African entrepreneurs who dedicate themselves to their enterprises and businesses: driving growth, combatting unemployment and contributing towards the country’s economic development. It is therefore wonderful to see the public sector taking the required steps to improving the environment in which these entrepreneurs operate in order to promote further growth in the sector.”

Botes, who is also executive director at Business Partners Limited (BUSINESS/PARTNERS) has been involved in the competition since its inception in 1988, “Looking back over the last 30 years, this competition has evolved from an internal competition that recognized BUSINESS/PARTNERS’ clients only, to a nation-wide search for outstanding South African-based entrepreneurs, with Sanlam as our valued partner.”

He says that the competition continues to reward successful local business owners for the valuable contributions they make to grow their local communities and economies, and aims to inspire others to do the same. “As our 30th- anniversary year, we’re hoping to see even more entrepreneurs enter. The competition is open to all South African-based businesses and prizes are awarded for the following categories: Overall Entrepreneur of the Year®, Emerging Business Entrepreneur of the Year®, Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year®, Medium Business Entrepreneur of the Year®, Job Creator of the Year and Innovator of the Year,” says Botes.

Botes adds that this year, the 2018 competition will also recognize a South African entrepreneur for a Lifetime Achievement award. “The purpose of this specially nominated award is to recognize an entrepreneur who has made a significant contribution to the South Africa economy and has grown their business from start-up to large-scale, perhaps even multi-national corporation. We want to reward the individuals who have dedicated their lives to building our economy and inspiring others to do the same.”

The 2018 Entrepreneur of the Year® competition, sponsored by Sanlam and BUSINESS/PARTNERS, offers prizes valued at over R 2 million, which includes cash prizes of R 70 000 for each main category winner, and R200 000 for the overall winner. Competition winners will also receive valuable mentorship support, networking opportunities and national media exposure.

Botes says that in celebrating 30 years of searching for entrepreneurial talent in all sectors of the economy, the competition remains fiercely committed to its cause in 2018. “The judges are looking for entrepreneurs that have succeeded against the odds, either by carving out a niche market for their product or service offering, or by succeeding in a very competitive environment. Perseverance and endurance, innovation and agility are some of the qualities we look for in the entrepreneur.”

He adds that there are also a number of quantitative competition measures, such as turnover growth, profitability, owners’ equity growth, positive cash flows and job creation that play a part in the competition’s judging process.

To enter, complete the entry form online at www.eoy.co.za and feel free to interact with fellow entrepreneurs, past winners and entrants on our social media platforms www.twitter.com/@EOY_SA and www.facebook.com/EOY.SA. The closing date for the competition is 31 May 2018.

SA’s premier entrepreneurial competition marks 30 years of celebrating entrepreneurial excellence in Johannesburg

Amid the current political optimism, entrepreneurs should be especially inspired by the continued commitment to SME support which emerged as a consistent theme in both the 2018 State of the Nation Address and the National Budget Speech. This is according to Christo Botes, spokesperson for the 2018 Entrepreneur of the Year® competition sponsored by Sanlam and BUSINESS/PARTNERS, who believes that this continued focus evidences Government’s recognition of the vital role played by entrepreneurs in enabling economic growth.

Speaking in light of the launch of the 2018 competition in Johannesburg today, Botes says that this long-deserved recognition of the SME sector only further validates the competition’s unwavering commitment to celebrating excellence in entrepreneurship and fostering future economic growth.

“Now in our 30th year, this renowned competition continues to pay homage to the fearless South African entrepreneurs who dedicate themselves to their enterprises and businesses: driving growth, combatting unemployment and contributing towards the country’s economic development. It is therefore wonderful to see the public sector taking the required steps to improving the environment in which these entrepreneurs operate in order to promote further growth in the sector.”

Botes, who is also executive director at Business Partners Limited (BUSINESS/PARTNERS) has been involved in the competition since its inception in 1988, “Looking back over the last 30 years, this competition has evolved from an internal competition that recognized BUSINESS/PARTNERS’ clients only, to a nation-wide search for outstanding South African-based entrepreneurs, with Sanlam as our valued partner.”

He says that the competition continues to reward successful local business owners for the valuable contributions they make to grow their local communities and economies, and aims to inspire others to do the same. “As our 30th- anniversary year, we’re hoping to see even more entrepreneurs enter. The competition is open to all South African-based businesses and prizes are awarded for the following categories: Overall Entrepreneur of the Year®, Emerging Business Entrepreneur of the Year®, Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year®, Medium Business Entrepreneur of the Year®, Job Creator of the Year and Innovator of the Year,” says Botes.

Botes adds that this year, the 2018 competition will also recognize a South African entrepreneur for a Lifetime Achievement award. “The purpose of this specially nominated award is to recognize an entrepreneur who has made a significant contribution to the South Africa economy and has grown their business from start-up to large-scale, perhaps even multi-national corporation. We want to reward the individuals who have dedicated their lives to building our economy and inspiring others to do the same.”

The 2018 Entrepreneur of the Year® competition, sponsored by Sanlam and BUSINESS/PARTNERS, offers prizes valued at over R 2 million, which includes cash prizes of R 70 000 for each main category winner, and R200 000 for the overall winner. Competition winners will also receive valuable mentorship support, networking opportunities and national media exposure.

Botes says that in celebrating 30 years of searching for entrepreneurial talent in all sectors of the economy, the competition remains fiercely committed to its cause in 2018. “The judges are looking for entrepreneurs that have succeeded against the odds, either by carving out a niche market for their product or service offering, or by succeeding in a very competitive environment. Perseverance and endurance, innovation and agility are some of the qualities we look for in the entrepreneur.”

Botes adds that there are also a number of quantitative competition measures, such as turnover growth, profitability, owners’ equity growth, positive cash flows and job creation that play a part in the competition’s judging process.

Entrepreneurs are encouraged to enter the competition and can do so by downloading the entry form online at www.eoy.co.za. They can also interact with fellow entrepreneurs, past winners and entrants on the competition’s social media platforms www.twitter.com/@EOY_SA and www.facebook.com/EOY.SA. The closing date for the competition is 31 May 2018. 

Holistic funeral service provider named Medium Business Entrepreneur of the Year®

Nomfundo Mcoyi, ex-educator and now managing director of KwaZulu-Natal-based business – Icebolethu Group – was named the Medium Business Entrepreneur of the Year® at the annual entrepreneur of the Year® competition sponsored by Sanlam and BUSINESS/PARTNERS awards ceremony, held on 6 September 2017 in Johannesburg.

Established as a funeral parlour named Icebolethu Funerals in 2009, with a complement of just five staff members, the business has evolved into a prominent funeral services conglomerate with around 300 employees. 

Today, the company consists of seven divisions offering an all-encompassing funeral service operating under the umbrella of Icebolethu Group and boasting 43 branches in and around KwaZulu-Natal, as well as a branch in the United Kingdom and Zimbabwe.

Considering that the funeral business is a highly competitive industry, especially in the South African small and medium enterprise (SME) sector, Mcoyi stood out to the competition’s judging panel by managing to yield tremendous growth for her business by capitalising on the already ripe market and providing a customer-centric service, while still demonstrating dignity and care to her community. “Mcoyi truly understands the market and their needs, and this has provided her with a competitive advantage over many other small firms in the industry,” the judges add.

Discussing why she believes her business is worthy of this prestigious award, Mcoyi recalls her humble beginnings after taking the decision to quit her job as an educator and start her catering business, only to be left with nothing following her divorce in 2009. In order to provide for her children, she then started a small funeral parlour based in the township of Hammersdale, KwaZulu-Natal.

In less than a decade, she has grown this one small parlour into the network it is today. “This was done by offering more than just a funeral policy to our clients,” explains Mcoyi. “Unlike most other providers in the country, we grew Icebolethu Funerals into a one-stop-shop offering clients everything from funeral services, to catering and tombstones.”

Mcoyi also attributes her business’ success to its rigorous marketing and advertising strategy that is designed to tap in to the needs of the community. “Our unique branding, combined with consistently providing an excellent service offering, has resulted in us capturing a large portion of a highly competitive South African market,” Mcoyi added.

When asked about her future plans following winning the 2017 Medium Business Entrepreneur of the Year® title, Mcoyi says that she plans to expand her business further throughout South Africa, starting with Cape Town.

For more information on Icebolethu Group, please visit the website: icebolethugroup.co.za

Looking at business success amid a drought

The Western Cape has over the recent past been hard hit by the severe drought in the region which has had direct, severe consequences on local businesses. Strict level 4B water restrictions have been implemented area-wide, and residents and businesses alike have been forced to curb water usage to 87 litres per person, per day. For many local businesses, this has demanded an immediate adaptation to regular operations.

Kobus Engelbrecht, spokesperson for the 2017 Entrepreneur of the Year® competition, says that although the situation in the Cape is concerning for both consumers and businesses, entrepreneurs are renowned to use their resilient nature and adapt in order to survive setbacks such as these. 

To illustrate this, some of 2016’s competition finalists and winners shared their advice for fellow entrepreneurs on how to survive and grow a business during drought-stricken times:

“Although the drought certainly had a big effect on our local sales in the Western Cape, we were able to counter this through our export and Gauteng markets,” says Carl Pretorius, managing director of Just Trees, a wholesale tree nursery, and 2016 Medium Business Entrepreneur of the Year®. “Due to this leaner period however, we were forced to adapt our regular staff working hours to shorter work-weeks (four days instead of five) to allow all staff members to remain employed and ensure no retrenchments were necessary,” he adds.

Gali Gaon Segall, Director of Yemaya Group and 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year® finalist, says that her business has been fortunate to not be too badly affected by increased water restrictions. She does however recognise the importance of communicating the business’ efforts to save and conserve water: “Even though we have reduced our water consumption by replacing water-reliant treatments with others that are more water-sensitive, it is important that our clients and customers are visibly made aware of this – and we have found that in so-doing, our clients have remained loyal and happy to support our business,” says Segall. “In our spa’s and hair salons, we have trained staff to be conscious of their consumption – and because of all these efforts, our financial bottom line has not suffered.”

Also recognising the importance of positively contributing to the conservation of the previous resource, Nerina Smith, owner of Smithland Guest Apartments and 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year® finalist, says that her business took the decision to implement as many recycling initiatives as possible in order to mitigate their impact on the City’s water supply. “We installed a few water tanks to catch rain water, as well as grey water from our washing machines. We have used this recycling system to water our gardens, as well as for washing and cleaning wherever possible” says Smith.

She explains that from their successful rain-water harvesting and recycling process, the business was also able to assist a car wash business in the neighbourhood, who had been issued with notice to close the business if they could not find the means to use recycled water. Smithland Guest Apartments now donates its excess recycled water to this business – and has therefore prevented four community members from losing their stable income.

Engelbrecht says that as the drought in the Western Cape is still without an end in sight, it is imperative for all businesses, no matter the size, to band together in order to innovate ways to minimise the impact that these harsh conditions can have on a business.

“It is more than possible for small and medium sized businesses to survive and thrive, even under such strained trading and operating conditions – all it takes is a little perseverance and creative thinking,” concludes Engelbrecht.

What entrepreneurs wish they’d known when they were starting out

The 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year® winners discuss the advice they would share with their younger selves

In the absence of concrete guidance and mentorship, the path to becoming a successful entrepreneur can be a very lonely one. As such, this path is too often forged solely by way of trial and error – frequently involving costly mistakes and countless sacrifices along the way.

In order to make this path less formidable for ‘up-and-coming’ entrepreneurs, we sat down with the winners of the 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year® competition to discuss the advice that they would share with their younger selves.

Vanessa Jacobs of Sow Delicious® and Emerging Business Entrepreneur of the Year® says that, above all, she would remind her younger self to never trade passion for money. “If you follow the money, it will seem to elude you and leave your life empty, but if you work for the love of it, then the money will follow you instead.

“It is also important to always remain teachable and view every set-back as a gift, because at its very core lies a solution of how to use it to excel to greater heights,” she adds.

This sentiment of remaining teachable is echoed in the advice offered by the owner and founder of Khonology, Michael Roberts, Job Creator of the Year ®. “Understand economics and how the world works, but be open to views, ideas and take advice. Look for inspiration in other people’s success stories and surround yourself with positive and focused people.”

Overall Entrepreneur of the Year®, Johan Eksteen of Agricon, urges young entrepreneurs to realise that they are loose cannons – something that he says is both a good and a bad thing. “Young entrepreneurs have untapped potential as they have not yet been corrupted by the harsh realities of the economy. They dream without limits and are therefore very creative and original. In this lies the caveat that it is both a good and a bad thing to be a loose cannon.

“Many ideas are potentially great ideas, but the key is to implement these ideas in real life. If they listen too much or too often to people with experience, they may be discouraged to even try, and therefore their great innovation may go undeveloped. However, if they do not take up some mentorship and advice, they may have no clue as to how they should turn the idea into a business.”

In this sense, Eksteen points out that strong mentorship encourages and guides a young entrepreneur is important, but also highlights the risk of getting the wrong mentor. “Choosing the right mentor is crucial, as the last thing you need as a young, driven entrepreneur is a passion killer.”

Carl Pretorius, managing director of Just Trees and Medium Business Entrepreneur of the Year®, says that he found having an older mentor whom he could bounce ideas off and get advice from to be very helpful. “When I was younger, I often thought that I knew more about certain matters than I really did. I would encourage young entrepreneurs to be honest with themselves about what they know and do not know, and then get help with or learn about the latter.”

Furthermore, Eksteen says that young entrepreneurs should realise that it can take up to five years to put a solid business concept together and to start making serious money. “In this time, the entrepreneur must remember that they are not managing a ready-made concept, so it requires constant change and sharp entrepreneurial tenacity to succeed.”

Eksteen finishes off with a final piece of advice that can and should be applied at any stage along the entrepreneurial journey: “Most entrepreneurs look down at the road they are on, and forget to check the direction in which they go. So keep your one eye on the potholes and the other on the road.”

Financial advice from entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs

The 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year® winners share the best financial advice they have ever received.

Given the current challenging economic climate with South Africa’s GDP growth expected to remain flat at 0.1% for the year according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), it is becoming increasingly difficult for entrepreneurs to ensure the financial sustainability of their businesses.

As there are many factors which contribute to the effective management of cash flow within a business, we asked some of the winners of the 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year® competition sponsored by Sanlam and BUSINESS/PARTNERS to provide us with the best financial advice that they have been given while growing their businesses.

“Remember that your business is a long-term investment.” Says Johan Eksteen of Agricon, 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year® winner. “Always look at the bigger picture and be aware of how any decision can impact the future. When it comes to short-term solutions, you can’t ‘buy yourself rich’, so rather focus on selling your product or service as this is a sure-fire way to generate a healthy cash flow.”

In the same breath, Meisie Nkosi of Bella Bonni Guest House and 2016 Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year® winner goes on to say that finance is the heartbeat of a business. “Keeping an eye on daily expenditure and auditing these periodically will help you manage day-to-day finances. In order to maintain a healthy profit margin, make sure you price your product or service correctly,” she adds.

“Also make sure you find the right investor,” points out Carl Pretorius of Just Trees and 2016 Medium Business Entrepreneur of the Year® winner, who says that it is important to ensure that whoever invests in your business shares your vision and expectations. “I would also advise finding an investor that is patient as things don’t always go exactly according to plan and they may need to wait for the return,” he explains.

Michael Roberts of Khonology, 2016 Job Creator of the Year winner says that when building a business, you should manage your cash flow as if your life depends on it, because your business does. “My mantra is ‘Revenue is vanity, profit sanity, and cash is reality’,’” he continues.

Vanessa Jacobs of Sow Delicious and 2016 Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year® winner shares the same sentiment as Michael and recommends running a business on a “cash” basis. “I try to use cash when it comes to making and receiving payments as I find this helps to monitor cash flow and make better decisions for my business while ensuring steady growth,” she concludes.

Carbon-neutral wholesale nursery collects Medium Business Entrepreneur of the Year® award

Carl Pretorius, founder of the Paarl-based business – Just Trees – walked away with the Medium Business Entrepreneur of the Year®award at the annual Entrepreneur of the Year® competition sponsored by Sanlam and BUSINESS/PARTNERS, held this morning in Johannesburg.

A wholesale tree nursery that supplies specimen container grown trees to the trade throughout South Africa, as well as to certain export markets, Just Trees is an extension of Pretorius’ values – including vision, courage, fun and compassion, for both people and the environment. Green engineering at its best, all trees are watered and fed responsibly using sustainable methods, and the business began measuring their carbon footprint in 2009, becoming a carbon neutral certified company in 2010. Pretorius and his team have also invested heavily in other green business practices that have resulted in a further reduction of the amount of water and pesticides that they use.

These environmentally friendly business practices contributed to making Pretorius stand out to the competition’s judging panel. “This is a very topical business in terms of environmental awareness – something that many other business models today are lacking. Carl has managed to effectively merge his personal values with those of his business and, as a result, has set himself up for a long-term career of fulfilment and success,” the judges said.

Committed to greening schools, hospitals and even, sometimes entire communities, the donation of trees is an important pillar of the business. Having initially committed to donating one tree for every 20 that are sold, Just Trees now donates one tree for every five trees sold and has already donated in excess of 30 000 trees over the years.

Pretorius initially purchased the farm in 1999 for recreational purposes and for growing his own olive trees, but his trees soon attracted interest from local landscape architects in the area, and from there the business was born. Since officially opening its doors in 2005, Just Trees has grown their stock to over 150 000 trees living on the 42ha farm, made up of 58 species sold in a variety of pot sizes, and is today the supplier of choice to landscape architects with repeat business making up about 75% of total orders.

Pretorius says being selected as a winner in the competition is incredibly rewarding and confirms his entrepreneurial path. “Being acknowledged for my achievements gives our business the credibility and platform to spread the message of environmentally sustainable business practices. Just Trees is proof that one can run a profitable business, while still focussing on doing things right and having a positive influence on those around them.”

He adds that recognising entrepreneurial talent through competitions such as this one is essential as it creates awareness around the role that entrepreneurs play in the economy. “It also motivates others, especially younger generations, to be part of a more environmentally friendly entrepreneurial movement, which is essential to long term growth and the success of our country.” 

For more information on Just Trees, please visit www.justtrees.co.za.

SA’s leading entrepreneurial competition now open for entries

We are excited to announce the launch of the 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year® competition sponsored by Sanlam and BUSINESS/PARTNERS!

Now in its 28th year, this renowned competition pays homage to courageous South African entrepreneurs who dedicate themselves to their enterprises / businesses driving growth, creating much needed jobs and contributing towards economic development in the country.

The contribution of local entrepreneurs to the South African economy is widely underestimated: small and medium enterprises (SMEs) contribute close to 50% of South Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) and generate more than 60% of new jobs created in the economy.

While the country has recently experienced tough economic conditions that may not necessarily enable SMEs to grow, opportunities do exist for those entrepreneurs who continue to identify gaps in the market and transform these into viable businesses. We need to make a concerted effort to recognise and honour these entrepreneurs who continue to inspire others to venture into the world of business.

Last year’s competition winners are examples of those who have succeeded in their industry and possess true entrepreneurial spirit – persevering no matter how impossible it may seem at times.

The 2015 Entrepreneur of the Year® overall competition winners, Gil Oved and Ran Neu-Ner, co-owners and founders of The Creative Counsel (TCC), were recently awarded the All Africa Business Leaders Award (AABLA), which recognises game changers on the continent. They were also acquired last year by French advertising giant, Publicis, in a deal understood to be the biggest in South African agency history. Most importantly, this year TCC launched an incubator programme for black-owned businesses as a way to inspire and grow the next generation of entrepreneurs.

2015 Innovator of the Year and Medium Business Entrepreneur of the Year® title winners, Nadir Khamissa & Ahmed Shaazim Khamissa – owners and founders of Hello Group – were also recognised by the EY Southern Africa World Entrepreneur awards platform due to their remarkable tenacity and determination in building a leading business in the local fintech space.

Why do we run this competition? Let’s look at the statistics…

The average level of employment generated per entrepreneur is very low, with only 4.5% of South African entrepreneurs offering employment to 20 or more employees. However, the positive impact that entrepreneurs can have on job creation is huge (as illustrated above), and in order to activate this potential, SMEs need more support and acknowledgement.

This is supported by the latest Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) 2015 / 2016 Global Report which states that while, on average, 42% of working-age adults in the monitored economies see good entrepreneurial opportunities in their markets, as many as one-third of potential entrepreneurs are constrained from starting a business due to the fear of failure.

This reveals that South Africa needs to pro-actively address this fear of failure by creating an entrepreneurial ecosystem that celebrates entrepreneurs’ hard work and achievements. An environment where entrepreneurship is promoted as an aspirational career path and viable employment option, rather than a back-up plan to unemployment.

With this competition, we want to celebrate and promote excellence in entrepreneurship. When SMEs are established and grow, new employment opportunities are created, staff is trained and skills are developed, company profits increase and ultimately the economy flourishes as a result.

Why should entrepreneurs enter?

The Entrepreneur of the Year® competition, sponsored by Sanlam and BUSINESS/PARTNERS, is a platform to reward and acknowledge entrepreneurs’ hard work. Prizes valued at R 2 million can be won, which includes cash prizes of R425 000. Competition winners will also receive valuable mentorship support, networking opportunities and national media exposure.

What are the categories?

  • Emerging Entrepreneur
  • Small Business Entrepreneur
  • Medium Business Entrepreneur
  • Job Creator of the Year
  • Innovator of the Year

There are also two additional Entrepreneur of the Year® award categories that can be awarded at the discretion of the judging panel, namely:

  • Lifetime Achiever
  • Judges Prize

Please see more on each of the categories’ requirements here.

What are the judges looking for?

The competition will continue its search for entrepreneurial talent in all sectors of the economy. The judges are looking for entrepreneurs that have succeeded against the odds, either by carving out a niche market for the product or service offering, or by succeeding in a very competitive environment. Perseverance and endurance, innovation and agility are some of the qualities we look for in the entrepreneur.

There are also a number of quantitative competition measures, such as turnover growth, profitability, owners’ equity growth, positive cash flows and job creation that play a part in the competition’s judging process.

How can you enter?

Entrepreneurs interested in entering the competition can download entry forms online at http://www.eoy.co.za/entry-form/ as well as interact with fellow entrepreneurs and entrants on the competition’s social media platforms www.twitter.com/@EOY_SA and www.facebook.com/EOY.SA.

The closing date for the competition is National Youth Day, 16 June 2016.

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.”

For more information visit www.hellogroup.co.za

Calling all entrepreneurs!

Final countdown to enter the 2015 Entrepreneur of the Year competition begins. With just a little more than a month until entries close for the 2015 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® competition on 16 June 2015, South African entrepreneurs are encouraged to enter in order to be recognised and rewarded for the hard work and passion that they put into their business, as well as the vital role they play within the country’s economy.

The competition provides entrepreneurs with the chance to win prizes up to the value of R 2 million, which includes cash prizes to the value of R350 000, as well as valuable mentorship support, networking opportunities and associated marketing and national media exposure.

Now in its 27th year, the free-to-enter competition has become South Africa’s pre-eminent entrepreneurial platform, and embraces local entrepreneurship by providing an opportunity to showcase business achievements and elevate the entrepreneur’s profile, as well as their profits.

Christo Botes, spokesperson for the Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® competition, says that the competition serves as a promotional tool to not only create awareness for entrepreneurship in South Africa, but also for local entrepreneurs to generate a credible reputation amongst competitors.

“Smaller business often can’t compete with larger market player’s marketing spend and national advertising campaigns. Not only are such competition platforms cost-effective, but if entrants are successful as finalists or winners, the awareness thereafter can have a significant effect on their business’ brand and bottom line,” says Botes.

An example is the 2014 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® winners of the Judges Prize – Dudu and Leema Mofokeng, joint owners of Legaci Dry Cleaners and Laundry Services – who, through the exposure gained from the competition, have raised the profile of their company and as a result have witnessed an increase in business enquires and requests from prospective franchisees.

The competition is open to entrepreneurs from all industries and for businesses of any sizes. Categories for the competition include: Emerging Entrepreneur, Small Business Entrepreneur, Medium Business Entrepreneur, Innovator of the Year, Job Creator of the Year and overall Entrepreneur of the Year® 2015.

Entrepreneurs interested in entering the competition can download entry forms online at www.eoy.co.za as well as interact with fellow entrepreneurs on the Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® competition social media platforms: Twitter: @EOY_SA and www.facebook.com/EOY.SA. The closing date for the competition is 16 June 2015.