Entrepreneurial digital duo named Innovator of the Year®

Muhammad Simjee and Sofiah Docrat, the husband and wife team behind digital consulting and implementation company, A2D24, have received the Innovator of the Year® award at the 2018 Entrepreneur of the Year® competition sponsored by Sanlam and BUSINESS/PARTNERS awards ceremony, which was held this morning in Johannesburg.

Founded in 2015, A2D24 provides businesses with cost-effective, innovative technology solutions that can be rapidly developed and rolled out across their operations. Some of their most notable achievements to date include an innovative app for Emergency Medical Services in Gauteng targeting to reduce the time it takes to dispatch ambulances to patients, a predictive model for a mobile phone network service provider in Cameroon, and a mobile application to assist in malaria prevention in Mozambique.

Over the last three years, A2D24 has grown from a one-man operation to a company that employs 18 people. The driving philosophy behind the business has been to use digital technology to enhance or replace inefficient manual processes.

Mohammad, who has a background in engineering, began building the tech start-up after developing a dashboard to monitor hospital bed availability, which the company would go on to successfully implement at nine hospitals in Gauteng to assist hospital staff in optimising bed availability. Sofia, on the other hand, was able to provide the majority of the funding for the business, and has taken on the role of chief financial officer (CFO) and human resources manager.

While the company was started solely on public sector contracts, Mohammad and Sofiah have actively been working towards attaining an equal balance of public and private sector clients. Currently around 70% of the work completed by A2D24 is for public sector clients, while the remaining 30% is for private sector contracts.

A2D24 also recently launched a globally unique point of sale system which allows retailers to track customers in stores in real time using mobile phone data. The system collects and converts data into actionable events for the relevant users. It also keeps track of poor performance, alerts on possible fraud, identifies opportunities for promotions, and provides in-depth information to retail managers.

In keeping with A2D24’s drive to develop solutions as rapidly as possible, this system, and its accompanying hardware, was designed and completed within the span of just three months.

According to the judging panel, A2D24 is a truly exciting business to follow. “Whether it is for a government hospital, or a private sector company, it is clear that the A2D24 team is able to enhance any operation that they are involved in. That is the spirit of an innovator,” the panel commented.

A2D24 has won several awards since its inception, including SITA’s Govtech SMME of the year in 2016 and the Gauteng Premier’s Service Excellence award in 2017. Having evolved A2D24 from a small start-up into an internationally competitive South African tech company by identifying challenges and offering simple, cost-effective solutions, is what makes the team of Mohammed and Sofia truly worthy of the title, Innovator of the Year®.

For more information on their business, please visit the A2D24 website: www.a2d24.com.

Leading player in SA’s animal health industry named as Innovator of the Year®


Having noticed a gap in the local market to offer innovative services to clients who required customised health options for their animals, Lorimer Gowar, founder of Larrem (Pty) Ltd, a leading player in South Africa’s Animal Health industry, has been named Innovator of the Year® in the 2014 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® competition, which was held in Johannesburg on Wednesday, 3 September 2014.

Established in 1999, Larrem (Pty) Ltd specialises in the manufacturing of veterinary nutriceuticals, pharmaceuticals, feed additives and supplements, as well as raw material commodity sourcing. Its mission is to implement quality, niche products required to enhance health, production and efficiency in animals, as well as to guarantee product safety to its customers, their livestock, consumers and the environment.

According to Kobus Engelbrecht, a member of the 2014 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® judging panel, Larrem’s ability to create new, profitable products to solve the problems of his customers contributed towards the business being recognised as Innovator of the Year®.

“Gowar has the ability to innovate his product offering to solve the needs of his clients in such a way that he has been able to profit from them. His ability to get to the core of the problem and to apply his knowledge and skill to solve the problem stands out. His innovations also have a positive social impact.”

He adds that Larrem is one of a few veterinary manufacturing companies in South Africa with an innovative Food and Health Management System and the only one with ISO 22000 accreditation.

Gowar, who has extensive experience in the South African farming arena, says that innovation goes hand-in-hand with market research. He believes that the secret to being a successful entrepreneur is the ability to change according to industry needs, and that this is one of the strongest attributes of Larrem, and what has led to the business’ success.

He explains that through its unique structure, the business has the advantage of continuously evolving its product lines to suit the needs of the industry and its clients – something that many corporate companies are not able to do. “To stay on top of market trends, genetic modification and climate change, I am equipped to develop and manufacture products in a relatively short turn-around time. My innovative range of products illustrates this aspect comprehensively – Larrem is known for its adaptability to change,” says Gowar.

All products developed and manufactured by Larrem aim to increase an animal’s genetic potential and the company has also recently expanded its product offering to include natural (Ayurvedic) medication as an alternative to antibiotics and chemicals. Following the popularity of its products, Larrem now also distributes its products throughout Africa, including countries such as Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

Gowar says that this award recognises the many years of dedicated work to all the processes and standards that Larrem has strived to achieve and present to its customers over the years. “It is also recognition for all the years of hard work to get to this stage. The experts in the different industries, from whom I have been learning for many years, will be delighted that their hours of patience in mentoring and aiding in all facets of my company’s divisions, has paid off.”

He adds that to be a part of such a prestigious award competition is the ultimate reward and motivation to his hard-working, dedicated staff. “With such a prestigious award, Larrem and its staff can grow taller, together,” concludes Gowar.

Visit www.larrem.co.za for more information on Larrem (Pty) Ltd.

Making eco-friendly an award winning idea


Green businessman claims small business entrepreneur of the year® award

Warren Graver, founder and director of Envirodeck, an industry leader in environmentally conscious and sustainable decking products, was awarded the 2012 Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year® title in the annual Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year ® Competition.

This year’s competition saw 12 finalists qualify for the 2012 Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year® category, which celebrates entrepreneurs who, irrespective of the duration the business has been active, posted a business turnover of R20 million or less in the 2011 tax year.

Due to the increasing demand on natural resources and the growing awareness to safely dispose of or re-use non-biodegradable waste, Warren saw an opportunity in the market for a practical alternative solution to timber in the decking sector.

Fast forward eight years and today Envirodeck supplies environmentally sustainable decking and finishing products, as well as tangible solutions for customers across South Africa and Namibia. As a result of the phenomenal market growth in Southern Africa, Envirodeck is now also expanding into Angola, Botswana, Nigeria and Mozambique over the next five years.

Warren attributes his entrepreneurial success to intense research and product sourcing. He says that research continues to fuel the business as innovative technology is constantly growing and evolving within the industry. Another one of Envirodeck’s strengths is partnering with like-minded and professional business partners who share the same passion and energy for the industry.

According to Dr Kerrin Myres, a member of the 2012 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year® judging panel, Envirodeck stood out amongst the other finalists for many reasons. “Warren is riding the wave of the green movement in South Africa, something that only a handful of entrepreneurs are doing right now. Using a high quality raw material, he creates original outdoor products with flair and great design. Envirodeck is a business with a great future.”

For more information on Envirodeck, please visit their website www.envirodeck.co.za