Meet The 2017 Entrepreneur Of The Year® Winners
Following a gruelling judging process and assessment of 15 successful finalists, South Africa's premier annual entrepreneurial competition, Entrepreneur of the Year® competition sponsored by Sanlam and Business/Partners, announced six 2017 winners at an awards ceremony held on 6 September 2017 in Johannesburg.
Following a gruelling judging process and assessment of 15 successful finalists, South Africa’s premier annual entrepreneurial competition, Entrepreneur of the Year® competition sponsored by Sanlam and Business/Partners, announced six 2017 winners at an awards ceremony held on 6 September 2017 in Johannesburg. The event saw Willem van der Merwe, owner of Africa Biomass Company, receiving the coveted title of Entrepreneur of the Year®.
Speaking at the event, spokesperson for the competition, Christo Botes, says that while selecting one entrepreneur to be the overall winner was no easy task – especially given the exceptionally high standard of this year’s finalists – van der Merwe was a notch above the rest in terms of the raw entrepreneurial nature of his business.
“Through the establishment of Africa Biomass Company (ABC) – which specialises in land clearing, wood chipping, and wood recycling – Willem [van der Merwe] has not only created a successful business by clearing landowners unwanted trees, he has also shaped a new industry in South Africa by introducing the novel concept of wood recycling,” he says.
2017 Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year®: Sizwe Nzima and Siraaj Adams, owners of Iyeza Health
Having started as a bicycle delivery company that delivered chronic medication from health clinics in Khayelitisha to patients’ homes in the township, Iyeza Group has evolved into a health logistics company with a wide array of capabilities.
2017 Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year®: Itumeleng Phake, founder and owner of Zenzele Fitness Group
Zenzele Fitness Group is a dynamic fitness and wellness company that is making health and fitness more accessible to South Africans in middle and lower LSM groups.
2017 Medium Business Entrepreneur of the Year®: Nomfundo Mcoyi, founder and owner of Icebolethu Group
Established as Icebolethu Funerals in 2009 as a funeral parlour, with a complement of just five staff members, the business has evolved into a prominent funeral services conglomerate with international presence and around 300 employees.
2017 Job Creator of the Year®: Siphiwe Ngcobo, owner and founder of iLawu Hospitality Group
Founded in 2009 as a humble five-bedroomed B&B in Pietermaritzburg, iLawu Hospitality Group has since expanded to become one of the well-recognised hospitality and catering brands in KwaZulu-Natal, providing countless jobs to the community.
2017 Innovator of the Year®: Mpodumo Doubada, founder and owner of Pimp My Book
Pimp my Book, an ever-growing chain of campus stores across the country, was founded in 2006 on the simple premise of buying and selling used textbooks and making them significantly more affordable to students.
The Entrepreneur of the Year® competition sponsored by Sanlam and BUSINESS/PARTNERS is an annual competition that recognises and honours successful South African entrepreneurs in the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) sector. The competition celebrates excellence in entrepreneurship with the aim to inspire others to venture into and succeed in the world of business.The competition sponsored by Sanlam and BUSINESS/PARTNERS has built up a stellar reputation of unearthing and celebrating top South African entrepreneurs in the SMEs sector.