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.”

Momtrepreneur named Job Creator of the Year®

For her dedication in putting skilled moms back into the South African labour force, Phillipa Geard of has been named Job Creator of the Year® at the 2018 Entrepreneur of the Year® competition sponsored by Sanlam and BUSINESS/PARTNERS awards ceremony, held in Johannesburg this morning.

Geard’s online recruitment agency,, recognises that South African moms comprise a valuable portion of the country’s skilled labour force, and therefore caters to a unique gap in the market – providing moms all over the country with the opportunity to juggle both parenthood and a successful career.

From personal experience, Geard realised that there are plenty of moms who have given up successful corporate careers to dedicate more time to their children and families. This, however, was causing the South African economy to experience a “leaky pipeline” of female talent – where the labour force, over time, sees a haemorrhage of valuable, skilled women who choose families over careers.

When seeking flexible employment, Geard explains that traditional recruitment agencies often don’t take these women seriously because the recruitment service tends to be focused on revenue generation, and more money can be made through full-time placements than part-time or reduced-hour placements. was launched in 2012 to uniquely and successfully meet a specific need amongst professional, skilled women or men wanting to return to work in a flexible capacity. The online recruitment agency offers a personalised service for permanent, temporary and contract positions. The team assists employers by shortlisting and providing them with the best applicants for the advertised position. Employers are simply required to offer some kind of flexibility within the required position.

Since launching five years ago, the agency has grown from a one-woman show to a team of eight full-time staff and has acquired nearly 50 000 skilled moms and thousands of registered employers to their database – which includes over 150 skills, ranging from accountants, actuaries, lawyers, risk managers, analysts, managing directors, marketers, to people with digital, human resources and office support skills and many more.

“Phillipa’s dedication to job creation and her success in changing the way employers regard flexibility in the workplace, is exactly what we need in the current South African economy – she is also driving a change in the public perception of the ‘working mom’ and is worthy of being named the 2018 Job Creator of the Year®,” said this year’s competition judges.

For more information on Recruit My Mom, visit their website on