Life after being named a 2017 Entrepreneur of the Year® winner

Not only do entrepreneurial awards offer winning businesses a cash injection, but they are also a great platform to raise a business’ profile – which can often prove to be more valuable than the cash prize! An awards platform not only offers entrepreneurs the opportunity to expand their current network and receive expert analysis of their business and its process, but they also generate wide-reaching media exposure.

One month since the 2017 Entrepreneur of the Year® awards ceremony – which saw some of South Africa’s top entrepreneurs converging in one room for a morning of celebration and networking – we caught up with some of the winners to hear first-hand how the competition, and being a named a winner, has impacted their business.

Willem van der Merwe, owner of Africa Biomass Company: 2017 Entrepreneur of the Year®

“It has been a whirlwind since receiving the title of 2017 Entrepreneur of the Year® and winning has certainly elevated the public’s awareness of our company to another level. Not only have we received recognition for our work like never before, but it has also helped us to really demonstrate the value we bring to our industry.

“We have also been well-pleased with the media exposure our brand has secured since winning: the feedback we have received from clients and stakeholders, is in many ways more than double what we are accustomed to. While it is still early, we expect that the continued exposure will help us in reaching the goals we’ve set for the next level in our business. We’ll definitely consider entering again in the future!”

Read more about Willem’s business and why he was selected as the 2017 Entrepreneur of the Year® here.

Siraaj Adams and Sizwe Nzima, co-owners of Iyeza Health: 2017 Emerging Business Entrepreneur of the Year®

“We have been overjoyed since our win – both with the experience, as well as with the attention we have received post the awards ceremony. Many of our clients and stakeholders have been most impressed with the accolade and have been very complimentary – which we really value.

“We have also received fantastic media coverage and increased brand awareness – our LinkedIn profile alone has received over 2000 profile views in just one month! We will definitely enter the competition again in the near future with the goal to take our win from the Emerging Business category to the overall title of Entrepreneur of the Year®!”

Read more about Sizwe and Siraaj’s business and why they were selected as the 2017 Emerging Business Entrepreneurs of the Year®here.

Siphiwe Ncgobo, founder of iLawu Hospitality Group: Job Creator of the Year®

“Winning the Job Creator of the Year® title was both a surprise and huge honour for us. We are extremely proud of this accolade as we have always believed that the strength of our success is purely based on the dedication, commitment and sacrifices of our past and current staff members.

“We feel very fortunate to have participated in this competition which gave us the opportunity for some much needed introspection into our operations and we really valued the fair and constructive feedback from the judges.

“Without a doubt, the media exposure we have received has positively impacted our business, and we are dedicated to working even harder to make sure that our current and prospective clients’ expectations are met. We have a lot to work on in our business and have already set ourselves a few goals to achieve within the next three to five years.”

Read more about Siphiwe’s business and why he was selected as the 2017 Job Creator of the Year® here.

Considering entering the 2018 Entrepreneur of the Year® competition – watch this space for more details. Entries will open early 2018.

Doing good is good business

The roots of Iyeza Health date back to 2013, when Iyeza Express – a bicycle courier company that delivered chronic medication from health clinics in Khayelitsha to patients’ homes’ – was founded by Sizwe Nzima. Back then the business had just one customer – his grandmother. Iyeza means both “it is coming” and also “medicine” – a fitting name for a company committed to delivering essential, life-saving drugs.

Iyeza Express then evolved into Iyeza Health, a specialist health logistics company that delivers chronic medicine to over 1000 people in the Khayelitsha area. The business has recently diversified and now also serves the private sector, having secured contracts with medical aid companies, which enables them to further link their logistics services with doctors, clinics and hospitals, as well as patients.

Co-owner of Iyeza Health, Siraaj Adams, says that through supporting health systems currently in existence, the aim is to continually strengthen and enhance health programme sustainability in local communities. “The business seeks to ensure seamless integration across the health services system in terms of drug prescription, review, dispensing, provision and delivery, including a fully-tracked health logistics service that allows people to monitor the door-to-door delivery of medicine.”

Over time, Nzima and Adams have diversified their business model to include digital healthcare software and medical devices. “We wanted to expand our service offering to assist people with diagnostic self-testing at home and, in doing so, to provide a convenient channel for proactive and preventative screening and care.”

In order to do this, the entrepreneurs developed a web-based platform which enables customers to order HIV self-testing kits online. “Through this system, we are able to offer accessible alternatives to the current status quo in the pharmacy distribution and supply chain. There is also a medical aid claim functionality built into the platform and we are able to distribute nationally within two working days.

Iyeza Health’s web-based platform is now the leading e-commerce platform for HIV self-testing in South Africa, with over 3000 kits being distributed per month. In addition to this, through their Digital Development Unit, the company has rolled out several platforms for the National Department of Health.

Nzima and Adams remain committed to changing the face of public health in South Africa. “We intend to continue to develop useful clinical mobile applications to improve health management in poor communities and also aim to improve access to self-testing diagnostics devices that encourage screening and early detection of disease in community health settings.”

This driven entrepreneurial duo are finalists in the 2017 Entrepreneur of the Year® competition sponsored by Sanlam and BUSINESS/PARTNERS. For more information on their business, please visit the Iyeza Health website: