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Entrepreneur Competitions/Awards

African Access National Business Awards

The National Business Awards brings together some of the greatest minds in business in South Africa and celebrates their success.






The National Business Awards were first introduced by Topco Media in 2002 to recognise and honour the top performers of the year in both industry and commerce, for individuals and companies. The event is presented in association with the annual business publication, SA’s Top Performing Companies.


To recognise companies and individuals who are committed to the philosophies of empowerment in business in South Africa today.


Top Performing Company Categories:
  • Investing in People Award
    In recognition of the company that has demonstrated the highest level of per capita expenditure on training, education, wellness and health. Areas such as productivity; the ratio of skills procurement vs turnover; staff turnover; company policies and procedures will be taken into account.
  • Alt-X Performance Award
    A quantitatively-judged award for companies on the JSE’s Alt-X Board. Financial performance such as sales growth over a previous accounting period in both Rands and percentage, growth in share price, and return on investment (earnings per share) are all key areas of interest.
  • Logistics Award
    Recognising excellence in specialist logistic support for industry, from supply chain to distribution, construction logistics, shipping, etc. Entrants must demonstrate excellent delivery; minimal stock loss; as well as crisis management procedures, etc.
  • Innovation through Technology Award
    This award goes to the company whose technology-based innovation demonstrates improved productivity or enhances the competitiveness of the South African economy.
  • Customer Focus Award
    This award will be made to the company that demonstrates the highest level of service and loyalty to its customers. They must demonstrate that comprehensive customer service procedures and policies have been put in place and show how this has resulted in increased loyalty and a larger customer base.
  • Marketing Excellence Award
    In recognition of marketing innovation and creativity. The award will acknowledge a marketing strategy that has impacted significantly on both the company turnover and the brand’s public profile.
  • Exporter of the Year Award
    In recognition of the company with the highest export growth by volume over a year. Criteria include the number of jobs created in South Africa as well as foreign income earned during the financial year.
  • Fast Growth Company Award
    This category is open to SMMEs with a turnover of under R50 million in their last financial year. The winner will have demonstrated significant growth in their market sector through best business practices and innovation, under-pinned by a strong financial performance.
  • ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) Award
    This Award will go to the company that has shown a strong adhesion to Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance policies. Evidence of achievements of set targets in these areas must be demonstrated. The winning entrant will also be actively involved in promoting ESG policies and, by doing so, setting an example for other corporations in South Africa to follow.
  • Healthcare Excellence Award
    In recognition of the healthcare organisation that has demonstrated an overall standard of excellence and innovation in the course of providing health services to the public, showing best practice throughout. Pharmaceutical companies that have shown a similarly outstanding performance (for example, through the development of innovative products) are also eligible to enter.
  • Sports Contribution to Business Award
    Recognising the sports organisation or association which has made a significant and meaningful contribution to the economy through job creation/ and or foreign investment. Of particular significance are organisations that have leveraged their event or brand on a global stage and have attracted foreign income into the country as a result.
  • Manufacturing Excellence Award
    The recipient must produce a high quality product in a competitive manner whilst complying with all relevant SABS accreditations. They must also display an increase in revenue.
  • Business Education & Training Award
    This award will be made to either a business school or a business training organisation. The award winner must be able to show how they are contributing positively to the corporate world by developing skilled professionals. The number and standard of graduates produced, reputation of the school and overall contribution to skills development will all be taken into consideration.
  • Diversity in the Workplace Award
    This company must be able to demonstrate their commitment to diversity and transformation in the workplace. Companies must show they are integrating black, female and disabled employees into their workforce, and promoting diversity. They should be able to show preferential recruitment policies, skills development programmes and the progress they’ve made in transforming their workplace.

Individual Categories:

All entrants must fulfil the following specific category criteria:
  • Top Businessman of the Year Award
    This award goes to the businessman whose leadership is reflected in his service to his company and also to interests not exclusively his own. His company must have achieved great success in the business environment.
  • Top Businesswoman of the Year Award
    This award goes to the businesswoman whose leadership is reflected in her service to her company and also to interests not exclusively her own. Her company must have achieved great success in the business environment.
  • Top Entrepreneur of the Year Award
    This award goes to the person who took significant personal risk to start a business or businesses and built them into a substantial entity. The recipient must demonstrate that the business has achieved financial success and is clearly sustainable.
  • Top Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award
    This category is only open to individuals under 40. This award goes to the person who took significant personal risk to start a business or businesses and built them into a substantial entity. The recipient must demonstrate that the business has achieved financial success and is clearly sustainable.
  • Top Government Leader Award
    In recognition of the individual at national, provincial or local level who has achieved outstanding results in the last year. Important considerations will include financial management skills, the meeting of set targets, outstanding service delivery and the respect and admiration of their peers and other stakeholders.
Government Categories:
All entrants must fulfil the following specific category criteria:
  • Top Government Department of the Year Award: Job Creation
    This Public Sector award will be judged on how successful the department has been with regard to job creation. In particular, judges will be looking for the department that has created the highest number of permanent jobs within the financial year.
  • Top Government Agency of the Year Award: Growing Business
    The award will be made to the government agency that has demonstrated the highest level of efficiency and effectiveness in terms of achieving their goals, working within allocated budgets and generally making the greatest impact in their portfolio. Judges will be looking for agencies that have carried out successful public-private initiatives.
  • Top Municipality of the Year Award: Service Delivery
    The award will go to the Municipality that has delivered its mandate in the most effective and efficient manner possible, ensuring that essential services are provided to its constituents, whilst employing its allocated budget for the financial year in an effective and disciplined manner.
  • Top Performing Company of the Year Award
    This award goes to the company who best demonstrates an improvement in financial performance over a three year period – growth in annual revenue and net profit after tax year on year will hold a high weighting when reviewing company entries for judging. This award will be selected from the finalists of the Top Performing Company Awards.
  • Best Managed Company of the Year Award
    This award goes to the company who can demonstrate its performance in all spheres of the general criteria (people, planet, profit), and the management thereof. Good corporate governance practice will also be taken into account. This award will be selected from the finalists of the Top Performing Company Awards.

Entry criteria

The following criteria will be used to review all entrants:
People (employees, society)
  • OHS 18001
  • Social Economic Development
  • Skills Development
  • Policies
Planet (environmental)
  • ISO 14001
  • Environmental impact assessment
Profit (turnover, profitability, growth)
  • Annual turnover
  • Turnover growth
  • Rate of profit
  • ISO 9001
  • Productivity


To be confirmed

Entry Closing Date:

Please visit the National Business Awards website

Contact details

Hayley Fletcher
Tel: 086 000 9590

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Enter The Total Startupper Of The Year Challenge

Are you a young entrepreneur? Do you have a project you believe in? Is it innovative and does it address a social or community challenge in your country or for your fellow citizens? Register and apply now. You could be the Startupper of the Year!

Total South Africa



Startupper of the year challenge

After the success of the first Challenge in 34 African countries, this year’s has been extended to a total of 55 countries around the world.

3 winners from each country will receive financial support, extensive publicity and coaching. From among these 3 winners per country, we will select grand winners by region, who will be provided with exposure.

This year, a Top Female Entrepreneur category has been introduced. During the first Challenge, women accounted for almost 25% of the winners, even though they only made up 13% of the applicants.

Related: Business Plan Format Guide

With this special award this year, we hope to give the women entrepreneurs an extra push to take part. It is also aligned with other Total initiatives for women.

The 2018/19 Challenge

We aim to support good ideas and projects that help address a widespread problem affecting communities in your country. It could be about providing educational opportunities, reducing child mortality, improving public health, developing access to electricity in rural areas, improving road safety on the roads or building houses with eco-friendly materials — in fact, anything that could make life better in your country.

Tell us how your project will help more and more people over time, at home or even abroad. Tell us how it empowers people, improves living conditions, and contributes to overall economic well-being.

Anyone can change the world — teenagers or graduates, men or women. As long as you believe in your project and want to make things better, take this opportunity to participate. You could be the next Startupper of the Year or the Top Female Entrepreneur!

Enter the Total Startupper Of The Year Challenge Here

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Entrepreneur Competitions/Awards

35 Young South African Change-Agents Seek To Solve Global Consumption Challenges

LifeCo Unltd SA calls university students to apply to Global Entrepreneurship Summer School





Social impact enterprise LifeCo Unltd SA, in partnership with Social Entrepreneurship Akademie, is inviting entrepreneurially-minded university students to apply to the Global Entrepreneurship Summer School (GESS).

Thirty-five young South Africans will join 105 fellow global change-agents from Germany, China and Mexico on a seven-day programme to develop innovative and entrepreneurial solutions to solve the global challenge of consumption.

Developing young minds

“GESS is a programme that develops young entrepreneurs, and challenges them to create innovative, high-impact businesses that solve society’s myriad challenges. Through GESS, we are striving to build a generation of champions who will challenge the status quo and go on to change the world,” says Pat Pillay, LifeCo’s chief executive officer. “This year, we are hosting the summer school in Cape Town, which is a huge privilege.”

According to GESS consumption is one of the major drivers responsible for global resource use, environmental pressures and impact on society.

The United Nations has stated that if the worlds’ population should reach 9.6 billion in 2050, we would need almost the equivalent of three planets to support us with natural resources in order to sustain the globe’s current lifestyle. Thus, it is necessary to develop innovative solutions towards this problem and its consequences

A gathering of nations

GESS is organised in conjunction with six leading university-based entrepreneurship centres in Munich, Shanghai, Mexico City and Cape Town. This will be the first time the event will be coming to Africa, bringing together 140 young people from different nationalities

Click here to apply or go to for more information. Applications are open until 16 April 2018 (1pm CEST).

GESS Cape Town 2018 is endorsed by the Department of Higher Education and Training through the Entrepreneurship Development programme in Higher Education.

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Entrepreneur Competitions/Awards

Africa Awards for Entrepreneurs

Entries are now open for the Africa Awards.






From the Longitude Prize in the 18th century to Alfred Nobel’s laureate awards at the start of the 20th century, the power of prize programmes to catalyse innovation and inspiration is undeniable. Such prizes serve a purpose beyond recognition and reward alone – also raising awareness, creating role models and igniting ambition.

From our experience with previous prize programmes within Africa and globally, we have met remarkable entrepreneurs who never lost belief in themselves, even when confronted by overwhelming challenges but persevered to bring their ideas to fruition. As such entrepreneurs work to create businesses that meet the needs of those around them and by doing so raise the living standards of their communities while also creating something of lasting value for themselves, their employees, their communities and their nations. The Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship is honoured to provide a platform upon which they may continue to inspire a new generation of African entrepreneurs.


  • To promote the value of entrepreneurship as a driving force of today’s Africa
  • To celebrate the standards of business excellence within Africa
  • To encourage small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs to embrace the challenges and rewards of entrepreneurship
  • To build strong networks of African entrepreneurs as a source of learning and sharing of best practice
  • To attract more venture capital inflows towards good businesses across Africa



Applicant Criteria

Small and medium sized, for-profit enterprises who are headquartered in Africa may apply. A local subsidiary of an African-headquartered company may apply provided it meets the eligibility criteria on its own.  Please note the minimum qualifications of turnover between US$ 1 – 15 million; demonstrated profitability; and more than 10 employees.

Closing Dates for Entries

24 August 2011

Contact Details

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