The 2016 winner of the Tsogo Sun Entrepreneur of the Year Award is Nqobile Nkosi, owner of NQ Jewellery Design Services, based in Soweto, which was announced on 20 October at a gala banquet at the group’s Riverside Sun Resort on the banks of the Vaal River in Vanderbijlpark.
The event was attended by Minister of Tourism, Derek Hanekom, who gave the keynote address and attended the Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs National Supplier Showcase Exhibition on Friday 21 October.
Says Candy Tothill, Tsogo Sun’s GM of Corporate Affairs, “Our wholehearted congratulations go to Nqobile on his worthy win. In his role as the Tsogo Sun Entrepreneur of the Year, Nqobile will serve as an inspiring role model to other entrepreneurs, and set an example of what can be achieved when one perseveres to overcome obstacles and challenges. Our Entrepreneur of the Year winners become ambassadors for the programme for the following year; they talk about their experiences, their secrets to success, as well as the programme, and they promote their own businesses. We welcome Nqobile as our seventh ambassador and we have no doubt he will be an inspiration and contribute to the development of other SMMEs in South Africa.”
Among the prizes that Nqobile won were R30 000 from Tsogo Sun, a business bursary from Tsheto Leadership Academy valued at R20 000, and a professional business image experience from tweak&STYLE valued at R15 000.
A turn of events saw Nqobile launching into jewellery design and manufacturing. He originally had plans to become an electrical engineer, but when funds ran out, he started a two-year course in jewellery design and manufacturing at the Soweto Jewellery School – and so started on the path to establishing his own jewellery design company. He registered his company in 2013 and subsequently attorney Jerry Nkeli invested in it and became chairman of Nqobile’s company, and his mentor. NQ Jewellery Design Services is Soweto’s first jewellery manufacturing and retail business. It employs six people, all from Soweto, including two disabled interns who are being financially supported by HopeFund in France.
Nqobile joined Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs last year. Tsogo Sun is working with him to establish a more sustainable and consistent income stream, determining the feasibility of opening a jewellery outlet for his company at Gold Reef City Theme Park, and assisting with other potential plans to grow market access.
The awards dinner is part of the Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs conference that includes an intensive business workshop as well as a National Supplier Showcase where the entrepreneurs exhibited their products and services to potential customers, giving them access to new markets.
The four-day conference represents the successful completion of a year-long programme that started in November last year when the new intake of businesses was inducted into the full year development programme. They were each allocated a business coach and a personal life coach to help them close the gaps in their businesses and to develop themselves as the people running them. This one-on-one coaching is customised according to each entrepreneur’s needs. In addition, business foundation skills training was given to the entrepreneurs in their provinces.
Tsogo Sun delivers the Entrepreneurs programme with the support of several strategic partners. These include Carlson Wagonlit Travel, which has been a long time contributor to the beneficiaries of the programme for the past seven years and funds some of the bursaries for the University of Cape Town Guesthouse Management and Small Business Management courses; and Queen Ramotsehoa, whose company, Tsheto Leadership Academy, provides a repertoire of coaching and business mastery services for personal and enterprise development to the entrepreneurs. Adds Tothill, “Coaches from Tsheto Leadership Academy work with our entrepreneurs throughout the year. We’ve been impressed with the powerful impact that this coaching has had on the entrepreneurs’ confidence and thinking, leading to exciting development within many of their businesses.” Colour Accounting gives financial management training to the entrepreneurs.
To enter the Entrepreneur of the Year competition, the eligible entrepreneurs, which included a total of 152 Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs and Alumni who are benefitting from the development programme, were required to complete a comprehensive entry form.
Related: Is Entrepreneurship Dying In SA
These were shortlisted and five finalists were selected, using a stringent evaluation method that included assessing performance in the programme, financial performance, customer knowledge, marketing, innovation efforts, job creation, contributions to the greater community, potential for growth, and overall sustainability.
The finalists were then interviewed by a panel of nine judges: Marcel von Aulock, CEO of Tsogo Sun; Vusi Dlamini, Group HR Director of Tsogo Sun; Laurelle McDonald, Corporate Finance Manager of Tsogo Sun; Ravi Nadasen, Tsogo Sun Operations Director; Ella Bella Leite, Founder of Generation Earth; Adriaan Groenewald, CEO and Co-founder of Leadership Platform; Carol Sanderson, 2014 winner and owner of Casambo Exclusive Guest Lodge; Emmah Makatu, 2013 winner and owner of Zwinoni Lodge; and Salome Tshungu, 2012 winner and owner of The Orchards.
Tothill says participation in the programme is open to all South African businesses with an annual turnover of less than R50 million. There are three channels through which businesses can join the programme: the HCI Supplier Club (Hosken Consolidated Investments Limited is the key shareholder of Tsogo Sun); Tsogo Sun’s Supplier Showcases, where entrepreneurs with potential for growth are identified by Tsogo Sun and invited to join the programme; and the Department of Tourism and tourism agencies that nominate businesses for evaluation for inclusion by Tsogo Sun.
“It’s essential for big business to get involved in small business development in order to boost job creation and the economy,” Tothill notes.
“We’re proud of what our Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs are accomplishing, often against the odds, and of what we can do to help them grow. The Entrepreneur of the Year Award is our way of acknowledging their hard work and significant achievements.”
Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs by numbers
- 180 beneficiaries are supported nationally by the programme
- 152 are enrolled in development
- 82% are black South African women
- 74% have graduated to the Alumni phase and have trained to become mentors to new entrepreneurs
- 47 businesses in the Alumni phase have expanded their operations as a result of the programme
- 126 have successfully completed the UCT Business Management Course funded by the programme
- R84 million was the group’s combined spend on enterprise and supplier development for the past year, of which R14million was spent on enterprise development beneficiaries and R70million on supplier development beneficiaries
Empowering Township Entrepreneurs
Big drive to bring ideas to life in the townships this Global Entrepreneurship Week.
As part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, Experian teamed up with Rhiza Babuyile and Township Fleva – two organisations responsible for supporting township communities – to assist entrepreneurs in transforming their innovative ideas into thriving businesses.
The annual event ‘Tshogo’, which took place in Tembisa yesterday (Thursday, 15 November), is the culmination of roadshows in Gauteng’s populated townships, such as Diepsloot and Orange Farm. These involved up-and-coming start-ups pitching their business ideas to a panel of experienced judges, including Simon Rudman, Social Innovation Lead at Experian SA.
Twenty winners received funding to the combined value of R280 000 to kickstart their business venture, while our others received marketing packages to equip them – and their ventures – further.
“Throughout the competition we were greatly inspired by each and every one of the entrants. There is definitely no scarcity of bright ideas,” says Rudman. “By keeping our entrepreneurs top of mind and providing continuing support, we can grow the township economy for the greater good of the country.”
Experian is pleased to support Rhiza Babuyile, by providing the JoZi Business Hub participants with career counselling as well as credit and financial education aimed at empowering and equipping entrepreneurs with the financial know-how to manage and grow their business and to make smart credit decisions.
“We believe data has the power to transform lives and societies for the better and our corporate social responsibility programmes pioneer how we use our business skills, products and services to promote financial education, financial inclusion and support small business entrepreneurs.
“These engagements also provide a great opportunity for us to include the entrepreneurs in our solution development process. Their feedback is invaluable in helping to shape products which will hopefully contribute to their success”, adds Rudman.
Global Entrepreneurship Week is a celebration of innovators and job creators who launch start-ups that bring ideas to live and drive economic growth. The JoZI Business Hub’s Tshogo roadshow could not be a better example of this in action.
Call For Applications: Young Entrepreneurs Global Exposure Trips
Closing Date: 30 November 2018
Investec CSI’s Young Entrepreneurs Programme provides South African entrepreneurs from various sectors with global exposure.
Every year Investec, in partnership with En-novate, sends a group of young entrepreneurs from various sectors to specifically selected countries in order to gain global exposure. Each itinerary provides them with opportunities to network and engage with venture capitalists, funders and captains of their specific industry. The aim is for them to gain learning and exposure to innovation, technology and process advancements. The programme also offers networking with subject and sector experts.
Applications for the Global Exposure trips are now open to ALL entrepreneurs – regardless of sector – who meet the criteria. Closing date is Friday 30 November 2018.
The programme itinerary and each trip is customised according to the profiles of the candidates, stage of business and specific sector.
By way of example, Investec recently sent 14 entrepreneurs from South Africa to Berlin to meet people doing Out of the Ordinary things in textiles: https://www.investec.com/en_za/focus/young-entrepreneurs/sa-entrepreneurs-return-inspired.html
Business Lessons From Women For Women: If You Have To Fail, Fail Forwards
Lessons from three young black South African women on how they have turned an idea into a profitable business.
Just 70 years ago, black women in SA were largely regarded as legal minors with no power to open bank accounts, lease property or conduct legal transactions without their husbands’ permission. Some remnants of this legacy remain, but, increasingly, traditional roles are being subverted and women are building businesses. However, women entrepreneurs still remain part of a small minority of thriving business success stories.
The Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs found women in early-stage entrepreneurship decreased by 15.7% in 2018 and only 18.8% of all business owners in SA are women. Suffice to say there’s more to be done, and a lot of it starts with support. When Lebogang Ndlovu, owner of Amare Beauty Hub, announced her intention to start a small business shortly after matric, her parents weren’t happy. She forged ahead despite the lack of support and tenaciously founded three different ventures, which all, unfortunately, failed. She then decided to attend consumer financial training offered by Santam through Mzansi Financial Education. From this training, she learned to ‘fail forwards’ and started her current company – a highly successful Soweto-based spa. She credits the support and mentorship she received as imperative to this success.
That says Tersia Mdunge, Santam’s Corporate Social Investment Manager, is what Santam’s Consumer Financial Education (CFE) is all about, “To grow entrepreneurship, South Africa needs to provide enabling conditions, opportunity and support. As the cornerstone of our economy, it’s pivotal we do so. At Santam, our Consumer Financial Education and Mentorship programme helps young, black entrepreneurs from previously disadvantaged backgrounds to turn their ideas into tangible businesses. We’ve assisted 1 595 individuals so far, and we’re absolutely committed to continuing to do so.”
Although Africa has the highest growth rate of female-run businesses globally, according to the World Bank, South Africa lags behind countries like Ghana.
Here, three women entrepreneurs from Johannesburg share their entrepreneurial journeys and the difference mentorship made:
1. Lebogang Ndlovu, owner: Amare Beauty Hub
Although young, Ndlovu knew she wanted to be an entrepreneur after matric. It was tough convincing her parents to get on-board. “I come from a typical black family background where the norm is to be employed and not create employment.”
After getting her parents on-side, she used the allowance they provided to start a home executive concierge service. That, unfortunately, failed, and she tried two other ventures, which also didn’t last. It was then that she decided to attend Santam’s training. She did thorough research before jumping into yet another business. She realised that, “It does not matter how many times you fail, learn from your mistakes and move along.”
Ndlovu finally found her passion in beauty. She currently runs Amare Beauty Hub in Soweto; a fully-fledged beauty and health spa that focuses on “beauty on a budget”. With her business partner, she’s already considering expanding the business into micro-franchises to empower other women who are interesting in the beauty industry.
2. Nthabeleng Nhlapho, owner: Afro Kids Salon
Before 2016, running her own business was just a dream for Nhlapho, even though she always knew that she was an entrepreneur at heart, because of her family background.
“Getting into business has always been an idea I have toyed with, and after many years of procrastination, I finally decided to take that leap of faith. My dad’s side of the family is quite entrepreneurial as a number of my brothers have started and are sustaining their own businesses. So, in a sense, I think I was born to be an entrepreneur.”
After doing research, Nhlapho saw a gap in the market for an ethnic hair salon for kids. Having a daughter with ethnic hair herself, Nhlapho says, “It became apparent that many mothers like me are uncomfortable with having to take their young daughters to adult hair salons where the environment is not conducive for little budding minds, and stylists do not have the patience with children.”
Nhlapho’s Afro Kids salon is based in Sandton. She opened her door in September 2016 soon after she attended Santam’s training sessions. She gives credit to the mentorship she received and to support from friends and family for her success.
3. Phumzile Nala, owner: Pumzi’s Pretty Petals
Phumzile Nala’s grandmother inspired her love for flowers. “My grandmother loved flowers and used to do flower arrangements at friends’ and family events, which is where I was introduced to flower arrangements.”
Nala attended the Santam CFE workshops in Vilakazi Street in April this year. Her mentor, Martine Solomon, says, “Phumzile started the training with the hope that she would go into public speaking and training and development, however, that changed when she realised her passion for flowers. Phumzile was very helpful during her time in the programme, assisted with the roll-out of the CFE programme as well as CFE training and development.”
Now, Nala is a proud owner of a beautiful flower shop in Roodepoort called Pumzi’s Pretty Petals. In just six months, the business is showing steady growth. Nala’s other mentor, businessman Donnie Koetzee, played an instrumental role in this growth, helping Nala buy stock and get through start-up hurdles. Nala says, “At the beginning, I went through a lot of teething problems and had to take credit in order to keep the shop open.”
Even though Nala cannot compete with big retailers in terms of pricing, she gives her clients a far more personalised and meaningful experience. “We take time to teach our clients about our different offerings, and that is something they will not find in bigger stores.”
Nala found her unique value proposition, which is something that all entrepreneurs need to identify in order to compete. She also gives credit to social media as she makes use of it to advertise her flowers. Her dream is to open four stores in the four major cities of South Africa.
This programme is a direct response from the Department of Treasury for financial services companies like Santam to educate their clients and prospective clients on financial knowledge.
“We went above and beyond what is required of us and turned this into a successful initiative that empowers many to fulfil their dreams. Our programme has been dedicated to empowering our people to becoming financial savvy consumers and entrepreneurs. We have also made it our mandate to focus on risk management and understanding business insurance. Many small businesses do not consider the risks that come with running a business and how they would bounce back if they would be faced by a law-suite for instance;” concluded Mdunge.
For those who would like attend Santam’s Consumer Financial Education, please look out for an invitation on Santam’s website, the requirements are that as a consumer you need earn less than R250 000 and as a business owner, your business need to have a threshold less than R10 million.
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