The winner of the 13th Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur of the Year Award will be announced in Monte Carlo on Saturday, 8 June. A total of 49 Entrepreneur of the Year country winners, representing 47 countries, will be inducted into the Entrepreneur of the Year Hall of Fame and compete for the global title.
“Together, the participants in this year’s programme have generated $40 billion in revenue and created 60 000 new jobs,” said Maria Pinelli, global vice-chair, strategic growth markets, Ernst & Young, speaking at the opening of the Entrepreneur of the Year Programme on 5 June. “These people must be celebrated for the critical contribution they are making to their own economies and to the global economy in general.”
Among those is South Africa’s Sipho Nkosi, who founded Eyesizwe Holdings and Coal in 1999, the company grew rapidly and by 2005 it was producing 20 million tons of coal per year. In 2006, Eyesizwe merged into Exxaro, a coal and mineral group formed from the unbundling of the non-iron ore assets of South African mining company Kumba Resources.
Today, Exxaro has a turnover of $1,4 billion and employs more than 7 000 people. Over 15% of its shareholders are international and it has operations on four continents. Exxaro invests 5% of its wage bill in training its people because the company believes education is necessary to build a successful nation.
The Entrepreneur of the Year Programme recognises the world’s most successful and innovative entrepreneurs and aims to encourage dynamic entrepreneurial activity around the world.
The award is given on the basis of six criteria:
- Entrepreneurial spirit
- Financial performance
- Strategic direction
- Global impact
- Personal integrity and influence.
2012’s winner was Dr James Mwangi, CEO and MD of Equity Bank in Kenya. This year, Nkosi is competing against African counterparts from Nigeria and Uganda, and an enthusiastic group of South African supporters is rooting for him. Also representing South Africa is the winner of the Emerging Entrepreneur category Johanna Mukoki, group CEO of Travel with Flair.