Our 2012 winners share the benefits of entering the competition

The 2013 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® competition is officially open for entries! We asked our 2012 winners about the various benefits that they have seen as a result of the competition thus far, as well as their advice for potential entrants.

William Duk of The Plantation Shutter Co: Overall Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® winner

“Although I think it is still too early to measure the precise financial impact, but the positive media exposure that we obtained following winning the award, is beyond comprehension. Over time, this in turn translates into a significant positive financial impact. No marketing budget could ever be big enough to purchase the level of exposure that has been generated. I feel that we could relate to someone coming from relative obscurity and winning an Olympic Gold.

Winning the award is the best possible public acknowledgement that an entrepreneur and his or her business can receive for all the effort and hard work that goes into building a business. For me, the award is not about “me”, but rather about every single person in the business that has contributed during our journey thus far. The resulting energy can definitely be felt in the business.”

Tabisa Nomnganga of Bravo Promotions: Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year

“To be awarded the Emerging Entrepreneur Award in 2012 has increased my confidence, as well as my client base. Since winning the award in September my bottom line profits have definitely increased by over 40% from the previous financial year, and the publicity I received provided me with a platform to let the people know I have a worthy business. I would definitely encourage entrepreneurs to enter the competition in order to see how their business ideas fare in front of the experts.”

Madelé Ferreira of Mooihoek Boerdery: Job Creator of the Year

“The prize money that I received has made it possible for me to plan a trip to California in order to visit research facilities where new plant materials and new strawberry cultivars are being developed. The award has also boosted the professional relationship between Mooihoek Boerdery and the various chain store groups that we supply to. In addition, the award has lead to recognition in the form of an award by the Kouga Municipality (Eastern Cape) Business Chamber.

This award boosted the faith that I have in myself. I could never have imagined that one day my business and I would win such an award, or grow to be such a successful enterprise.”

Stuart Forrest of Triggerfish Animation Studios: Innovator of the Year

“Triggerfish had been operating under the radar for many years, and our focus had been on our projects – not on our business. We decided that the company needed to raise its profile, so entering the competition was a great opportunity to do that. We were beginning to talk to funding partners and strategic partners, and we needed to expand our network and increase our credibility.

Winning the Innovator of the Year was perfect, because we were looking for partners who were attracted to innovation. It’s been very helpful to say at the bottom of our introductory email to potential clients that we were chosen as Innovator of the Year by prestigious brands such as Sanlam and Business Partners. It means that there has been a certain level of analysis performed and we have been recognised as a valuable company.”

Trevor Davids of Trevor Davids Plumbing: Medium Entrepreneur of the Year

“Winning the 2012 Medium Business Entrepreneur award was an awesome experience, which drew a positive response from all of our clients. I advise 2013 participants to remain positive no matter the difficulties they may face. Considering the current economic climate, they should be proud that they have been considered, as this is an achievement in itself.”

Warren Graver of Envirodeck: Small Entrepreneur of the Year

“Winning Entrepreneur of the Year® has benefitted Envirodeck tremendously due to increased mainstream publicity – which often proves unaffordable for a small business. In addition, the networking opportunities that the competition provides has also helped me make better business decisions, due to sound advice that I have received from successful entrepreneurs.

A 2013 entrant should have a strong understanding of how marketing and finance combine to make a successful business. This needs to be conveyed in an overall business plan that is simple for the judges to understand. Remember that simplicity in presentation is key and that key facts should be elaborated on in order make your business stand out.”

Photos: 2012 EOY winners

After months of searching and assessing, the 2012 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® competition winners were announced at an awards ceremony held on Thursday, 6 September 2012 in Johannesburg.

Category winners

Emerging Entrepreneur: Tabisa Nomnganga, Bravo Promotions
Small Business Entrepreneur: Warren Graver, EnviroDeck
Medium Business Entrepreneur: Trevor Davids, Trevor Davids Plumbing
Innovator of the Year: Stuart Forrest, Triggerfish Animation Studios
Job Creator of the Year: Madelé Ferreira, Mooihoek Boerdery

Overall winner

Entrepreneur of the Year® 2012: William Duk, The Plantation Shutter Co.

2012 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® winner named


After months of searching and assessing, the 2012 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® competition winners were announced at an awards ceremony held on Thursday, 6 September in Johannesburg.

The overall Entrepreneur of the Year® Winner for 2012 is William Duk of The Plantation Shutter Co. (Pty) Ltd, a business that designs, manufactures and installs adjustable window and door shutters.

According to Nimo Naidoo, project manager of the Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® competition, William was awarded the overall title because of his hard work, entrepreneurial spirit and his ability to transform a bankrupt entity into a thriving, profitable business that services a national clientele.

The competition, widely considered to be the pre-eminent of its kind in South Africa, has served as a springboard for past finalists and winners. Nimo says that the competition aims to honour, benefit and uplift South African SMEs, as well as celebrate excellence in entrepreneurship, thus serving as an inspiration to others trying to succeed in the world of business.

Other category winners that managed to beat hundreds of other South African business owners to win awards are Tabisa Nomnganga of Bravo Promotions, who was awarded the Emerging Business Entrepreneur of the Year® award, Warren Graver of Envirodeck who took the Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year® award home and Trevor Davids of Trevor Davids Plumbing, who won the Medium Business Entrepreneur of the Year® award.

The Job Creator of the Year title was awarded to Madelé Ferreira of Mooihoek Boerdery and Stuart Forrest of Triggerfish Animation Studios was awarded the Innovator of the Year title.

Nimo says that all of the winners demonstrated exceptional entrepreneurial skills and submitted promising entry forms. “All of the 2012 winners were subjected to strict judging criteria to ensure that their businesses were not only sustainable, but also profitable and ethical. The winners were selected from a group of 22 finalists by the competition judges.

“By successfully uplifting local entrepreneurial role models, as the Sanlam / Business Entrepreneur of the Year® competition aims to do, South Africa will be able to build a society that celebrates entrepreneurial activity and success.

“Creating an entrepreneurial society is crucial in stimulating job creation in our country, as well as ensuring that South Africa becomes economically competitive globally,” concludes Nimo.

From new ground springs new growth


Eastern Cape female farmer named as Job Creator of the Year 2012

Madelé Ferreira of Mooihoek Boerdery has been named the 2012 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® Job Creator of the Year. Awarded for her incredible ability to adapt and effectively thrive in a previously unfamiliar industry, Madelé’s business has grown from a few hundred plants in 1998 to a multi-million rand farming enterprise today.

The business was started on a small scale when Madelé initially began farming on land that she leased from her husband. Today, the business produces spinach, leeks and strawberries on a 40 ha farm in the Gamtoos Valley in the Eastern Cape and supplies the distribution centres of three of South Africa’s leading chain store groups, namely Spar, Pick ‘n Pay and Shoprite / Checkers / Freshmark. Madelé currently employs 90 employees at Mooihoek Boerdery.

The farm also currently delivers strawberries to chain stores and markets in Johannesburg, Bloemfontein, Durban, Pietermaritzburg and Port Elizabeth.

Madelé says that Mooihoek Boerdery started as a little girl’s dream of one day marrying a farmer and later evolved into a dream of empowering the working women on the farm. She says that building and maintaining relationships is one of the most important elements of her business as her suppliers, employees and clients are the lifeblood of the business.

She attributes her faith and determination to continually better her business brought her into contact with role players that enhanced, empowered and provided her with the necessary knowledge she needed in the fields of production methods, irrigation and good business practices.

According to Kobus Engelbrecht, a member of the 2012 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year ® judging panel, Madelé stood out amongst her competition because of the number of jobs she created in a rural area where unemployment is rife. “Not only did she create a sustainable business, but she also provides employment to people who otherwise would only have contributed towards the unemployment number.”

The female perspective on entrepreneurship in South Africa

Female entrepreneurial activity has been proven to be a major catalyst in triggering economic growth in developing countries, such as South Africa. The increased number and quality of female finalists in the 2012 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® competition is thus an encouraging sign.

In light of August being Women’s Month, we chatted to seven female finalists from this year’s competition about their thoughts on entrepreneurship:

Tabisa Nomnganga, owner of Bravo Promotions, on her advice to fellow female entrepreneurs operating in South Africa:

“Female entrepreneurs need to believe in the beauty of their dreams. As female entrepreneurs we have an extra challenge of having to prove that gender has nothing to do with running a successful business. It’s all about hard work and dedication.”

Suretha Barnard, owner of the Junior academy, on whether she faces any unique challenges being a female entrepreneur:

“I do not really face any unique challenges. I get the same treatment and respect from our parents as the male principals do from neighbouring primary schools. In fact, I feel that I am very fortunate to be a female in my position as principal of the nursery school as I feel that “motherly instincts” play a huge role in the job. I think parents feel more comfortable discussing their child’s problems with a woman, who can relate to their situation and they certainly know that we offer a home away from home experience.”

Kamille Padayachee, owner of Thoughtfire Conferences & PR, on what being a female entrepreneur means to her:

“I’m proud to be a strong, independent woman who can survive and keep her head above water. I think it takes a special type of person to be an entrepreneur and as a woman I enjoy the fact that I can contribute in a small way by perhaps inspiring other young women, my daughters (when I have children one day) or even my employees.

Carol Weaving, business owner of Thebe Exhibitions & Projects Group, on her advice to fellow female entrepreneurs in South Africa:

“My daily mantra is “Carpe Diem” – seize the day! You must never give up, you have to think out of the box, never be scared to take risks (calculated of course) and work hard with your team to see it happen. Enjoy every minute.”

Anthea Ambursley, owner of AnanziBiz, on whether she faces any particular challenges being a female entrepreneur:

“Yes, but this has not stopped me from pursuing my dreams. Male dominance in the South African corporate world is still a challenge for business women. However, I believe that if you love what you are doing and you know what you want to achieve, you will be able to overcome such challenges. In the early days when I was looking for finance, I would make a pitch to male executives and it would be clear from their body language that they did not think that I could make it. Such experiences have provided me with an extra motivation to succeed.”

Madele’ Ferreira, owner of Mooihoek Boerdery, on which South African female entrepreneur inspires her most:

“Fellow female entrepreneur Janice Giddy, owner of food safety and business support company Entecom, is a huge inspiration because of her dedication and passion. Seeing all the hard work and effort pay off for her has been very fulfilling and inspiring. Because we started our businesses at roughly the same time, seeing her business grow at such a rapid rate gives me faith as to what my business can develop into.”

Michélle Booysen, owner of Pétanque Consultancy, on what being a female entrepreneur means to her:

“It is an honour. Being an entrepreneur makes one part of 25% of the population. Being a female entrepreneur makes one part of probably, all things being equal, 12% of the population. This group characterises vision, drive, the will to succeed, innovation, ingenuity and a deep understanding of the responsibility to maintain business as a key driver of economic growth, people empowerment and community support. I am part of a minority industry with incredibly accomplished women as my role models, peers and support. I am proudly an entrepreneur and therefore it is an honour for me to be an entrepreneur, locally and internationally.”