Top local entrepreneur of 2019 revealed

South Africa’s premier annual entrepreneurial platform, The Entrepreneur of the Year® competition sponsored by Sanlam and Business/Partners, has named Andrew Weinberg, the Managing Director of Retail Engage, as this year’s overall competition winner at the awards ceremony held in Johannesburg on 4 September 2019.

Having started his first business venture as a varsity student, 48-year-old Weinberg is now a seasoned entrepreneur whose customer engagement and incentives solutions business, Retail Engage, is changing the game for the South African second-tier retail base.

Although this retail sector is frequented by over 50% of the economically active consumer base, there had historically been little access to shopping behaviour insights, nor the ability to individually target, communicate and reward this LSM 3-7 base.

Noting this gap in the market, Retail Engage (under the consumer brand “Bonsella” – originating from the Zulu word, bhansela, which means “give a bonus/ express thanks with an extra gift”) set out to identify, recruit and reward the over 10 million LSM 3-7 consumers who are shopping at over 1000 second-tier outlets nationwide.

“When I saw an article about independent FMCG retailers struggling to compete with large chain groups opening stores in more rural and peri-urban areas, and having worked on marketing and loyalty programmes previously, I started working on a marketing solution to allow the independent retailers to compete on fair grounds,” says Weinberg, on how Retail Engage came to be back in 2010.

“I engaged with some FMCG brands and asked them what they were missing in the independent sector, and the common view was that they could not run campaigns and marketing in these stores as they were all independent. They also had no access to sales data, critical to brand decision-making. The model I created was to aggregate the independent FMCG retail stores, develop a technology to integrate into multiple different till systems, and get the large FMCG brands to spend marketing budget in these stores,” he explains.

Today, after a decade of hard work, Retail Engage has a national footprint with offices in Durban and Johannesburg, and staff across 60 different towns, communities, townships and rural hubs. The business has expanded recently into Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Angola and Zambia, offering customer rewards solutions to multinational companies in these countries.

If this isn’t enough, the business is also on the road to being the biggest independent database in South Africa that is POPI (The Protection of Personal Information Act 4) compliant. This growing database, combined with the impressive IP that has been created to date, and the vast footprint that Retail Engage has managed to create, makes Andrew Weinberg a deserving winner of the overall competition accolade.

On being named this year’s Entrepreneur of the Year®, Weinberg says that he is honoured to receive the title and hopes to continue taking Retail Engage from strength to strength. “With very little capital, I have managed to develop a multi-million rand company, with exceptional growth year-on-year, and high profitability. It feels amazing to be acknowledged for this.

“However, I truly believe that this is just the beginning, and hope to use this award as a springboard for further growth of the company,” he concludes.

For more information on 2Engage and Retail Engage, please visit the website: