The Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) has announced the winners in the 2012 Seda Small Business Stars national business plan competition.
The winners were selected after 180 finalists – drawn from more than 5 500 entries – presented their business concepts to 18 provincial judging panels, who selected a total of 11 national finalists.
Another four special category awards were allocated; these included best woman entrepreneur, best youth entrepreneur, best job-creating entrepreneur and best entrepreneur with a disability.
Adesh Naidoo from Kwa-Zulu Natal, owner of Clean Street, walked away with top honours. The prize included a laptop, software, R50 000 in cash, plus R600 000 in business support value from Seda.
A passionate and determined entrepreneur, Naidoo plans to take his concept – a special green-friendly litter bin that provides advertising revenue for the city – to every municipality in South Africa. The judges believe that Naidoo has the drive and business acumen to launch this product, even in the highly competitive media sector, and unanimously gave him their highest score.
The winner of the most promising woman entrepreneur category was Tabisa Nomnganga from the Western Cape. Bravo Promotions makes consumer brands come alive in communities through dance, theatre and performances. The company has created more than 20 jobs for dancers, performers and young promoters.
“Companies and even friends were skeptical about my chances of succeeding,” says Nomnganga. “They looked at my disability rather than my ability. I do not let my disability define who I am. When I dream of something, I implement it, despite the hardships. I have been judged and have been denied contracts but that never stopped me from striving to achieve my goals and living my dream. Many look up to me for inspiration and I always lend a helping hand where I can.”
The winner of the most promising youth entrepreneur was Thula Sindi from Gauteng.
Sindi has created an affordable, contemporary brand focused primarily on supplying stylish career-wear. As a 28-year-old entrepreneur, he has managed in a space of five years to build a trusted fashion brand in South Africa, which not only employs six women directly but also 22 women and more through outsourcing to their co-op.
He has also managed to attract the attention of South Africa’s largest retailer EDGARS and the brand is now available in five store locations in all three of South Africa’s major cities, proving that sustainable design enterprises can indeed be created and that young business people can create, manufacture and retail domestically.
Most promising job-creating entrepreneur was presented to Martin Brown from Gauteng, who was also named one of three most promising entrepreneurs with a disability.
The owner of Radical Holdings, a leading manufacturer of custom-built powered wheelchairs in Africa, Brown brings a fresh and innovative approach to this sector with his funky, practical power wheelchairs.
Brow is a C3/6 quadriplegic, confined to a wheelchair since 1998. His frustration in trying to find an electric wheelchair that catered for his needs led directly to the formation of Radical Holdings. He has created more than 20 manufacturing jobs directly and indirectly, and his growing international order book is likely to push that number higher. Not only has he created jobs, but Brown personally mentors and motivates his employees to excel.
Due to the outstanding quality of entries received, three national winners were selected for the most promising entrepreneur with a disability category. In conjunction with Brown, Tabisa Nomnganga from theWestern Cape(winner of promising youth entrepreneur as well) and Obed Segooa from Gauteng also secured wins.
With eight local schools already supporting his clothing manufacturing business, Segooa’s Cycle Check Trading makes work wear and school uniforms, and has created more than 20 jobs.