Young fitness maverick makes big strides in entrepreneurial competition


Itumeleng (Tumi) Phake, founder and owner of Zenzele Fitness Group has been awarded the Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year® title at the annual 2017 Entrepreneur of the Year® competition sponsored by Sanlam and BUSINESS/PARTNERS awards ceremony, held in Johannesburg on 6 September 2017.

Launched only in 2014, Zenzele Fitness Group – a level 1 B-BBEE gym management business which operates fully-equipped gym facilities at various corporates, universities and government institutions across the country – is making waves in the fitness and wellness sector by creating gym packages and solutions that are accessible to lower and middle LSM markets.

 “As long as our client can provide suitable space at their business premises, we will design, furnish, outfit, operate and manage a fitness facility for their employees, that allows them to see real results in their workforce,” says Tumi.

Furthermore, by working with medical experts, Zenzele Fitness is able to develop personalised programmes for members based on their individual aspirations and wellness needs. In addition to incorporating fitness goals, these programmes can also incorporate disease intervention (for members with ailments such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and hypertension), culminating in a holistic, customised wellness solution. 

The judges were extremely impressed by Tumi’s vision and entrepreneurial drive. “This business is young, but it’s very scalable and, in a sense, limitless. This young man is going to continue to shake up the fitness sector as he is on the right track to breaking down the misconception that fitness and wellness in South Africa is only accessible to the wealthy,” commented the judges.

Having been in operation for just over three years, the business already employs over 50 staff members with 13 gyms across the country and has secured management contracts at South Africa’s top blue chip companies. Most recently, Zenzele Fitness secured a deal with Discovery Health to run their new fitness facility – proving that this business is in it for the long-run.

Tumi says that being selected as a winner in the competition is a great honour and will provide the motivation needed to take the business to the next level. “This is just the beginning of Zenzele Fitness and I plan to continue pushing boundaries and tapping in to new markets going forward.”

Visit for more information on Zenzele Fitness Group.