15 Local entrepreneurs named as finalists in premier entrepreneurial competition

Gugu Mjadu
Following a fiercely competitive preliminary round of the 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year® competition sponsored by Sanlam and BUSINESS/ PARTNERS, a shortlist of 15 standout entrants has made it through to the final round of the competition, with the ultimate winners to be announced in September.

According to Gugu Mjadu, spokesperson for the 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year® competition sponsored by Sanlam and BUSINESS/PARTNERS, there was a steep increase in the number of entries received this year in comparison to the 2015 competition. “We are thrilled to announce that we received 213 entries this year, which is one of the highest number recorded to date, and an impressive increase of 40% compared to last year.

“The large number of entries has certainly raised the overall standard of the competition and is testament to the thriving level of entrepreneurial talent and success present in the country. We would like to congratulate and commend all entrants, as these are the individuals who bring about positive change and fuel job growth – helping the South African economy and communities to grow,” Mjadu adds.

Mjadu says that there was an increase in the number of female entries, “We are delighted at the consistent growth in the number of entries from female entrepreneurs which reached a new high growing to more than 38% of the total participant pool, up from 29% of entries in 2015. Female entrepreneurs are also particularly well represented in the group of finalists, making up 60% of the entries that are through to the final round.

Finalists for the 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year® competition sponsored by Sanlam and

  1. Carl and Peter Pretorius – Just Trees;
  2. Dillon Jearey – Kilowatt Audio Visual Pty Ltd; 
  3. Michael Roberts – Robhur Management T/A Future Talent; 
  4. Barry Nigel Gould – CAPCO; 
  5. Cara Nortman – SSQ Exhibitions; 
  6. Nerina Smith – Smithland Guest Apartments; 
  7. Johan Eksteen – Pelleting Machinery T/A Agricon; 
  8. Mishje Cooper – ZooZoo Land Daycare; 
  9. Gali Gaon Segall – Yemaya Group; 
  10. Meisie Nkosi – Scarper Traders T/A Bella Bonni Guest House; 
  11. Lucas Frederick Van Wyk – Advance Fenestration; 
  12. Stacey Brewer – Spark Schools T/A eAdvance; 
  13. Corrie Van Der Wath and Nelisiwe Magubane – Matleng Energy Solutions; 
  14. Chanette Goosen – Rush Extreme Sports, and 
  15. Vanessa Jacobs – Sow Delicious.
The 15 finalists operate in various sectors throughout South Africa, says Mjadu, with the majority originating from the Western Cape (47%) and Gauteng (33%), and include a strong representation from the manufacturing and services sectors. “The manufacturing sector is vital to job-creation, so it’s always encouraging to see driven entrepreneurs occupying this space, as unemployment in South Africa continues to be a major challenge.

“The services sector with entrants operating in the health, beauty, education and training industries was also well represented this year, following by entrants in the hospitality industry,” Mjadu adds.

She explains that the next step in the judging process is the selection of the overall 2016 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. “The judging process is completely independent. The evaluation process runs through three different filtering stages, which ensures that everything is checked multiple times to remove any human error or preference which may have otherwise crept in.”

The 2016 finalists stand the chance to win prizes worth R2 million, which include cash prizes to the value of R425 000. “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.”

Winners will be announced on 1 September 2016 at the official awards breakfast in Johannesburg. “We eagerly await the final stages of this year’s competition and wish all the finalists the best of luck,” concludes Mjadu.