Finalists announced for premier entrepreneurial competition’s 30th edition

Celebrating three full decades of discovering and cultivating the best entrepreneurial talent that South Africa has to offer, we have announced the shortlist of 15 standout entrants who have made it through to the final round of this year’s Entrepreneur of the Year® competition sponsored by Sanlam and BUSINESS/PARTNERS.

The 189 entries that were received this year really upped the game in terms of the entrants’ entrepreneurial talent and achievements. Every year, we think that we’ve seen it all, but each year we find ourselves being further blown away by the level of talent being exhibited by the South African entrepreneurs who enter the competition.

In alphabetical order, the finalists for the 2018 competition are:

Andrew and Glenn Eriksen – Cango Wildlife Ranch; Beverley Gumbi – Isivuno Containers Business; Chike and Damaris  Igwegbe – Green City Solutions, t/a Mustbuy; Christina Ester Geldart – Marven Studios; Esi-Gifty Agbohla – Eli-Bionatural International; James Barrington-Bronwn – NewSpace Systems; Kerry and Craig Motherwell – Foxolution SE CC; Leboneng Mathebula – Gridbow Engineers; Louw Barnardt and Dana Pretorius – Outsourced CFO; Muhammed Simjee and Sofiah Docrat – A2D24 Dot Com; Pepe Marais and Gareth Leck – Joe Public; Phillipa Geard – Recruit My Mom; Praveshen Naidoo – e-Waste Africa; Terence Naidu – EnvisionIt Stock and Tshegofatso Samuel and Motlapele Molefi – Modi Mining.

These 15 finalists operate in various sectors of the economy and are based across the country. While the majority of these finalists originate from Gauteng (47%) and the Western Cape (33%), we received entries from all provinces and KwaZulu-Natal (13%) and the North West (7%) are both also represented in the finalist list this year.

With a wide variety of industries being represented, from mining and engineering to recycling and advertising, there is one thing that all 15 finalists share in common – their invaluable contribution to the South African economy. The SME sector continues to play a vital role in the South African economy, so these trail-blazing self-starters need to be celebrated for what they are – job creators and economic change-makers.

The next step in the independent judging process is the selection of the overall 2018 Entrepreneur of the Year® winner, as well as winners for each of the five categories, namely emerging, small business, medium business, job creator and innovator. By running the evaluation process through three different filtering stages, we are able to ensure that every finalist is put under the microscope to avoid any human error or bias from tainting the results.

The 2018 finalists stand the chance to win prizes worth R2 million, which include cash prizes of R70 000 per category and R200 000 for the overall winner. Beyond monetary prices, previous finalists have benefitted greatly from the various networking opportunities and associated media exposure that the competition offers. Past winners have also gone on to win international awards and form valuable partnerships as a result of their success in the competition.

With competition winners being announced on 5 September 2018 at the official awards ceremony in Johannesburg, the judges have got their work cut out for them this year. The calibre of entrants this year looks to be extremely high so deciding on winners will be no easy feat. We wish all finalists the best of luck – you’re all already winners in our eyes.

Finalists announced for premier entrepreneurial competition’s 30th edition

Celebrating three full decades of discovering and cultivating the best entrepreneurial talent that South Africa has to offer, the highly esteemed Entrepreneur of the Year® competition sponsored by Sanlam and BUSINESS/PARTNERS has announced the shortlist of 15 standout entrants who have made it through to the final round of this year’s competition.

According to Gugu Mjadu, spokesperson for the 2018 edition of the competition, the 189 entries that were received this year really upped the game in terms of entrepreneurial talent. “Every year, we think that we’ve seen it all, but each year we find ourselves being further blown away by the level of talent being exhibited by the South African entrepreneurs who enter the competition.”

In alphabetical order, the finalists for the 2018 Entrepreneur of the Year® competition sponsored by Sanlam and BUSINESS/PARTNERS are:

Andrew and Glenn Eriksen – Cango Wildlife Ranch; Beverley Gumbi – Isivuno Containers Business; Chike and Damaris  Igwegbe – Green City Solutions, t/a Mustbuy; Christina Ester Geldart – Marven Studios; Esi-Gifty Agbohla – Eli-Bionatural International;  James Barrington-Bronwn – NewSpace Systems; Kerry and Craig Motherwell – Foxolution SE CC; Leboneng Mathebula – Gridbow Engineers; Louw Barnardt and Dana Pretorius – Outsourced CFO; Muhammed Simjee and Sofiah Docrat – A2D24 Dot Com; Pepe Marais and Gareth Leck – Joe Public; Phillipa Geard – Recruit My Mom; Praveshen Naidoo – e-Waste Africa; Terence Naidu – EnvisionIt Stock and Tshegofatso Samuel and Motlapele Molefi – Modi Mining.

These 15 finalists operate in various sectors of the economy and are based across the country, says Mjadu. “While the majority of these finalists originate from Gauteng (47%) and the Western Cape (33%), we received entries from all provinces and KwaZulu-Natal (13%) and the North West (7%) are both also represented in the finalist list this year.”

With a wide variety of industries being represented, from mining and engineering to recycling and advertising, there is one thing that Mjadu says all 15 finalists share in common – their invaluable contribution to the South African economy. “The SME sector continues to play a vital role in the South African economy, so these trail-blazing self-starters need to be celebrated for what they are – job creators and economic change-makers,” Mjadu adds.

She explains that the next step in the independent judging process is the selection of the overall 2018 Entrepreneur of the Year® winner, as well as winners for each of the five categories, namely emerging, small business, medium business, job creator and innovator. “By running the evaluation process through three different filtering stages, we are able to ensure that every finalist is put under the microscope to avoid any human error or bias from tainting the results.”

The 2018 finalists stand the chance to win prizes worth R2 million, which include cash prizes of R70 000 per category and R200 000 for the overall winner. “Beyond monetary prices, previous finalists have benefitted greatly from the various networking opportunities and associated media exposure that the competition offers. Past winners have also gone on to win international awards and form valuable partnerships as a result of their success in the competition.”

With competition winners being announced on 5 September 2018 at the official awards breakfast in Johannesburg, Mjadu says that the judges have got their work cut out for them this year. “The calibre of entrants this year looks to be extremely high so deciding on winners will be no easy feat. We wish all finalists the best of luck – you’re all already winners in our eyes,” concludes Mjadu.

Finalist aims for the moon

The South African market presents tough economic conditions for entrepreneurs. It is therefore important to recognise and congratulate the key individuals that, despite the fear of failure, constantly overcome obstacles, while continuing to explore areas where significant growth opportunities exist.

Rina Dique, who has done just this, was a finalist in the 2010 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year ® competition and is the proud owner of Danika Spa. Danika Spa is a well recognised business that specialises in health, beauty and wellness in the North West province. Her business was named the Best Small Business in 2010 by the Chamber of Business and is in its fourth successful year of operation.

Dique has always been a natural entrepreneur and is currently managing her third thriving business. “The South African market is developing at a very fast pace and presents itself as a seemingly overwhelming place to conduct business. However, where change exists so do vast volumes of opportunity. It is essential to identify and accept the changes that surround you and adapt accordingly.”

According to Dique, as an entrepreneur challenges are part of her daily routine. “You can plan everything – and then life happens.” She explains that it is therefore crucial to proactively identify and assess potential business risks and manage them effectively.

Dique made use of the Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year ® competition as a benchmark to measure the success of her business. “Competitiveness drives my business. I made use of this competition as a personal target to measure myself against.” She explains that it is essential to strive for greatness by constantly pursuing growth opportunities. “Aim for the moon, if you miss, at least you will be amongst the stars.”

Dique advises that fellow entrepreneurs enter the Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year ® competition because the competition is an excellent assessment tool and assists with guidance as to what is expected of an entrepreneur. “It provided me with an indication of what needs to be considered and taken into account when entering a business. The competition also provided me with information as to how I can improve my approach to business, life and my contribution to society.”

Being a finalist in the 2010 competition resulted in respect and acknowledgement from the industry and strengthened her participation in spa industry competitions, such as the Les Nouvelles, where she has featured in the top three in both 2011 and 2010. “Being a finalist encouraged me to challenge my restrictions and continue to dream big.”