Celebrating The Heroes of South Africa’s Economy

Celebrating The Heroes of South Africa’s Economy


Tommy Makhatho

Entrepreneur of the Year/ Job Creator of the Year


Why he won: Superior local knowledge, flexibility and determination create a winning combination.

Due to the significant contribution he has made in his local community by providing jobs to more than 680 employees, Tommy Makhatho, owner of BiBi Cash & Carry, a retail group situated in the rural area of Qwa Qwa in the Free State, has also been named both the 2013 Sanlam/Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year and Job Creator of the Year.

In addition to his job creation achievements, Makhatho also assists fellow entrepreneurs by allowing smaller retailers to make use of the BiBi Cash & Carry brand name, in exchange for support and access to company information. The retailer also offers an in-house learnership programme to its staff which transfers critical tools and skills to employees of all levels.

Makhatho presently owns seven BiBi Cash & Carry stores, which is currently South Africa’s largest entirely black owned retail operation, and is involved with 32 express stores, which he actively assisted in starting. Since the first store was launched in 1984 this retail group has grown significantly in profit and size.

The lauded entrepreneur believes he has a competitive advantage over the bigger retail chains in the area due to his team’s superior local knowledge, its flexibility as a smaller regional player, as well as its determination to operate close to the townships and communities where most of its consumers reside.

From the judges

“The success and perseverance Tommy Makhatho has displayed in a very competitive market makes him a truly worthy winner and an inspirational role model to aspiring entrepreneurs both within his community and the country as a whole. It’s clear that Tommy understands the needs of the market segments in which he does business. This, coupled with his meticulous attention to detail, and an unrelenting will to continuously seek ways to add to his bottom line, makes him a worthy winner.” – Kobus Engelbrecht, marketing head, Sanlam Business Market

Chris Brown and Andrew Brown

Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year


Why they won: Securing a niche market through exceptional service.

Andrew Brown, co-founder of The Daily Buzz, an upmarket and speciality chain of coffee bars which service the corporate workplace, spotted a gap in the market for a superior and easily accessible coffee spot while working as a risk professional in Joburg. The idea to provide quality coffee in such a way that allowed employees to return to their workstations quickly and efficiently was slowly formed.

As part of the start-up plan, co-founder and brother Chris trained at the London School of Coffee, as well as other institutes in Italy, the US and Africa in order to perfect the art of delivering a premium coffee experience.

Over the years The Daily Buzz has successfully secured a niche in the market and is set apart from its competitors by its ongoing skills development and training programmes, which are provided to all staff on a frequent basis to ensure exceptional service and product expertise.

Since opening their first coffee bar in the Standard Bank headquarters in Johannesburg with just two employees in 2006, The Daily Buzz has grown to seven outlets and employs approximately 60 people.

From the judges

“With five fellow finalists recognised in the small business category, Andrew and Chris were awarded the title as they perfected a simple product, added to it a healthy dose of service, and created a brand which is highly sought after. Ultimately what made The Daily Buzz stand out was the combination of a high quality product and a determined focus on customer service and experience.” – Stefan Beyers, Partner, PWC South Africa

Anton Rossouw

Medium Business Entrepreneur of the Year


Why he won: A role model for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to make a difference.

After a long journey in the medical industry which equipped him with a wealth of medical institutional experience, Anton Rossouw founded Life Path Health in 2001. A network of private hospitals, Life Path Health specialises in mental health-related illnesses, addiction rehabilitation, post traumatic stress and anxiety disorders.

Apart from playing an active commercial role in the healthcare industry, Rossouw also actively participates in the development of awareness surrounding mental health. The business prides itself on regular engagement with industry bodies to negotiate medical aid funding for the treatment of mental illnesses. “The destigmatisation of mental illness in South Africa is a focal point for our company and our efforts have been a key driver to address the issue,” says Rossouw.

Successfully establishing six clinics throughout the Western Cape, with a seventh clinic opened in October 2013, Rossouw plans to expand nationally in the next five years.

From the judges

“Anton Rossouw is a role model for aspiring South African entrepreneurs. In a competitive industry, he has managed to identify an opportunity to establish a sustainable business which employs over 200 people while taking on some sizeable competitors.” Dr Kerrin Myres, CEO, Resonance Group

Mariaan du Plessis and Conrad Smith

Innovator of the Year


Why they won: Ground-breaking research and a focus on quality, strategy and systems ensure continued growth.

A strong and compatible business partnership has stood Dr Conrad Smith and Mariaan du Plessis in good stead. Over the past decade the founders of Medical Nutritional Institute have developed top-quality products that are scientifically sound and able to withstand the scrutiny and scepticism of the mainstream pharmaceutical and medical world, thanks to a strong entrepreneurial flair, a good mindset for business strategy and system development, and most notably ground-breaking research and development within the pharmaceutical industry.

Established in 2002, the company specialises in the development of

non-prescription medication made from organic molecules. All products are manufactured to the specifications of local and international medicine regulatory boards, including the Medical Control Council (MCC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Du Plessis, who is currently the CEO at Medical Nutritional Institute, says that although the reputation of complementary medicine has been under continued scrutiny due to a lack of regulated quality products, Medical Nutritional Institute has continued to prosper thanks to a continued focus on innovation.

From the judges

“Medical Nutritional Institute has successfully developed new products in an environment the pharmaceutical industry has become sceptical about, and are persistent in their research and development of new and innovative products. The business has been successful in making its products credible in this sometimes cynical environment.” Ferose Oaten, entrepreneur

Jonathan Pepler

Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year


Why he won: Alternative and sustainable construction business brings an innovative building model to South Africa while driving employment.

Each year, the Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year title goes to an entrepreneur whose company has excelled in the early stages of the business’s life-cycle.

This year’s winner, Silverline Group founder Jonathan Pepler, has enjoyed rapid growth thanks to the introduction of a high-performance environmentally-friendly alternative building solution not widely used in South Africa.

Silverline Group provides conventional construction services, but its real growth lies in the fact that it also offers an effective method of light-frame steel construction that produces no waste and 80% less carbon footprint than conventional building methodology.

This innovative building method also considerably reduces the time needed to construct a building. As a result, more businesses are opting to make use of this method, which allows them to start operating and making a profit much earlier than expected. A recent example of this is the new McDonald’s in Cape Town, which was able to open the outlet four months earlier than expected.

Due to the growing demand for the product, Pepler made the decision to franchise the company, making it the only franchised construction business in South Africa, and one of very few in the world. The company also provides significant support, mentorship and skills training to its more than 30 franchisees, which Pepler believes is a major factor behind the business’s success.

From the judges

“Jonathan Pepler stood out in the Emerging category due to his exceptionally well executed business idea and the enormous growth potential of the business. The building method he uses is not unique internationally, but within South Africa it is not widely used and he has set out to successfully convince the major role players in the local market to accept this building method. Banks, for instance, chose not to finance buildings constructed in this way, but Jonathan managed to convince them otherwise. Jonathan also successfully franchised his business, which enabled him to grow it into a business with a national footprint in a short space of time and without the need for a large amount of capital.” – Kobus Engelbrecht, marketing head, Sanlam Business Market

Margaret Hirsch

Lifetime Achiever AWARD


Why she won: Celebrating entrepreneurship and the mindset to create wealth and make a difference.

Margaret Hirsch, the first recipient of the Lifetime Achiever award in the history of the competition, was honoured for serving as a remarkable inspiration and role model to aspiring entrepreneurs.

The COO of national appliance store, Hirsch’s, Margaret and her husband Allan started appliance store Hirsch’s from a tiny showroom in Durban in 1979. 34 years later, Hirsch’s has grown significantly and now boasts 12 stores as well as five concept stores across the country. In addition, the company currently provides employment to approximately 785 people.

Introduced in 2013, the Lifetime Achiever Award aims to commemorate seasoned entrepreneurs who have continually contributed towards the development and growth of South African entrepreneurship. This award will not only be obtainable by future competition finalists, but also among relevant industry veterans.

According to Hirsch, this award pays tribute to entrepreneurs who have remained focused on achieving their goals, and should serve to inspire the next generation of South African entrepreneurs. “Awards such as these convey the message that there are opportunities available for those with the correct mindset to create wealth and do extremely well in our country.”

From the judges

“Hirsch’s entrepreneurial success is a powerful reminder of the fact that there are always opportunities available to entrepreneurs — even when others might only see challenges. Her life is testimony to the resilience, patience and focus that makes a good entrepreneur. Margaret is an inspiring role model to many entrepreneurs in South Africa and is a brilliant example of the type of leaders that we need to build wealth and prosperity in the country.”– Ferose Oaten, entrepreneur

Visit www.eoy.co.za for more information on where and when to enter for the 2014 Sanlam/Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year awards.