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The Tsogo Sun Entrepreneur Of The Year Winner Announced

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 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.


Rebone Sesoko, Candy Tothill, NQ and Marcel von Aulock

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.

Related: Become A Master Of Entrepreneurship Through Wits Business School

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.


Tsogo Sun 5 finalists waiting for the announcement

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

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Entrepreneur Today

Win 1 Of 50 Free Tickets To This Exclusive Event With Entrepreneur And Matt Brown Media

Calling start-up business owners or aspiring entrepreneurs 25 years old and under. Win a free ticket to this life-changing event with Entrepreneur Magazine, Matt Brown Media and South African entrepreneur Max Lichaba.





Are you a young, start-up or aspiring entrepreneur looking for inspiration from someone who started with nothing and built a R120 million business?

You could be one of 50 lucky, young start-ups and aspiring entrepreneurs to join Lichaba Creations, Kwa Lichaba, Lichaba Custom Rides and Lichaba Refinery owner Max Lichaba on Tuesday 20 March 2018 for an exclusive two-hour lunch and in-person interview brimming with entrepreneurial insights.

Enter to win this once in a lifetime opportunity

If you’re 25 years old and under, and looking for business advice to help you build a successful start-up, then don’t miss this opportunity to receive access to the event, which will be held at Kwa Lichaba in Soweto.

50 exclusive seats up for grabs!

Your prize will include:

1. First-hand insights from successful South African entrepreneur Max Lichaba.


2. A free Brand ID workshop with Vega on ‘How to Develop and Launch Your Brand’.

The workshop focuses on the importance of reflection and self-belief when offering your own personal brand and products to the world. You will be encouraged to explore your own values, meaning and purpose, and guided as to how to create an identity that will capture the unique individual that is “brand YOU”. The workshop will be hosted in Soweto or at Vega’s campus in Randburg, and the date is still to be determined


  1. FREE access to the premier Kwa Lichaba venue.
  2. FREE lunch included in the event.

How to enter the competition

You must be under 25 years old to enter the competition:

  1. Send an email to Entrepreneur Magazine at
  2. Give us your full name and ID number.
  3. Tell us in your email why you should win a free ticket to this premier event.

What you will learn from Max Lichaba

Max finished school with a Grade 10 education, and was expected to become a miner like most of the men in his community. Instead, he focused on becoming a business owner. It’s been a long, hard road, full of challenges, but today he heads up a R120 million business. Share in his journey as Matt Brown interviews him in person, and unpacks his journey, the hardships he’s faced, and the lessons his learnt in overcoming those obstacles, including:

  • Wanting more out of life than being a miner in his hometown, like his peers and seeking alternative opportunities to make money and uplift his community.
  • The power of persevering even in the face of closed doors – they eventually opened up because he pushed through for long enough.
  • The importance of starting, even if you start small, by initially focusing on breaking even before buying into the fancy additions to presumably make business faster and easier.
  • Banking on a new business and losing it all, with the added responsibility of paying employees’ salaries and pension packages with money he didn’t have

Max will join a list of some of South Africa’s most successful billionaires, entrepreneurs and the CEOs hosted on The Matt Brown Show, on Tuesday morning. Matt’s 20 years’ experience in business strategy, technology and marketing communications and over a dozen local and international awards make this a discussion worth participating in.

Don’t miss out – enter the competition to win your ticket

  1. Send an email to Entrepreneur Magazine at
  2. Give us your full name and ID number.
  3. Tell us why you should win a free ticket to this premier event.


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Entrepreneur Today

Franchising Sector Ready To Lend A Hand

How business can use franchising to improve jobs and support entrepreneurship throughout South Africa.





“We are at a moment in the history of our nation when the people, through their determination, have started to turn the country around.
Now is the time to lend a hand…
Now is the time for each of us to say ‘send me’…
Now is the time for all of us to work together, in honour of Nelson Mandela, to build a new, better South Africa for all.”
Cyril Ramaphosa, SONA 2018

The Presidents commitment to small business

The SONA speech by President Cyril Ramaphosa and his commitment to supporting small business and entrepreneurship has been welcomed by Tony Da Fonseca, the Franchise Association of South Africa’s Chairman, who in 2017 had already met with the chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee for Trade & Industry to pave the way for greater co-operation between government and the franchise sector.

“We are encouraged by the President’s promise to increase co-operation with business and look at ways to encourage entrepreneurship, youth training and job creation” says Tony Da Fonseca.

“We are confident that the franchise sector can play a pivotal role through innovations like the development of social and micro franchising which hold enormous and largely untapped potential for the development of the economy and improve service delivery.”

Confirming that the growth of the economy will be sustained by small businesses, “as is the case in many countries”, President Ramaphosa confirmed that government would honour its undertaking to set aside at least 30 percent of public procurement to SMMEs, co-operatives and township and rural enterprises and would continue to invest in small business incubation. “It is our shared responsibility to grow this vital sector of the economy.”

Franchising is ready to play a larger role


As a sector that already contributes 13, 3% to the country’s GDP generating an estimated R587 billion through its 845 franchise systems, 40 528 franchisees and employing 343 319 people, franchising is perfectly poised to play an even bigger role in furthering small business development, skills transfer and job creation.

“As a successful businessman and former franchise owner himself, Cyril Ramaphosa is familiar with the far-reaching potential that franchising has in small business development, skills development and job creation, says FASA Chairman Tony Da Fonseca.

“We are hopeful that he will look to us in the franchise sector to assist in building that ‘small business support ecosystem that assists, nourishes and promotes entrepreneurs’ that he referred to in his SONA speech.”

That, together with the welcome measures by government to reduce the regulatory barriers for small business and the introduction of an innovation fund targeted at start-ups and small suppliers that could become supply chains to the franchise sector, will go a long way to opening the doors to small business expansion and the benefits to the economy that will flow from that.

Related: Multi-Unit Franchising Growing In South Africa

The Franchise Association of South Africa (FASA) has always been a proponent of small business incubation and has, over the years, embarked on various public/private initiatives to grow the franchise sector. Their efforts have included youth cadet schemes through the Jobs Fund, developing micro businesses to become franchise-ready through the Department of Small Business Development’s Micro Franchisor Development Project and through various private initiatives with funders and franchise members.

The franchise sector to stimulate entrepreneurship and jobs

According to Tony Da Fonseca, much more can be done in the public/private development space. “The opportunities to transform government services, such as health care, water delivery, education and in many other areas, through the social franchise format, are enormous. Both locally and internationally, pilot projects in social franchising that operate on commercial principles, making enough profit to sustain operations and re-investing surplus profits into the community they serve, have proved to be viable.”

According to Tony Da Fonseca, the franchise sector is well-positioned to come together in a concerted effort to stimulate entrepreneurship and create much-needed jobs.

Franchising in South Africa currently services around 17 business sectors – way behind countries such as Australia, Europe, Canada and the USA who boast between 25 and over 70 business categories.

Related: Key Franchising Trends To Consider For 2018

“The opportunities to expand into many more sectors and particularly in the social and services sectors of the economy are endless. We welcome the opportunity to work with government in creating an entrepreneurial environment that will grow investment confidence, introduce new small business concepts via the franchise system, accelerate BEE and enterprise opportunities, giving training to the youth and above all create those much needed jobs.”

Mr President, the franchising sector is ready and able to take on the opportunities for ‘renewal and revitalisation, and for progress to build the fair, just and decent society to which Nelson Mandela dedicated his life.’

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Business Model

How To Pick The Business Model That Works For You

So, you’ve picked your lane.  You’ve decided what you want to do and why you want to do it.  You’ve picked something you’re good at.  You’re convinced the world needs and values it.  You now need to decide how to make money.  That’s where business model design comes in. 

Anthony Miller




There are plenty of business model options for the same idea.  For example, let’s say your idea is to offer historic tours of Cape Town.  You could either do it yourself or hire professional guides to do it.  Or you could use mobile technology to provide DIY walking tours.  You could charge per tour or you could charge a membership fee.  There are so many options.  How do you pick the model that works for you?

The Lean Canvas is a great tool for entrepreneurs who are faced with this question. Adapted from The Business Model Canvas, it provides a simple, one page framework for brainstorming possible business models, prioritising where to start, and tracking ongoing learning.  It walks the entrepreneur through the business model process logically and ensures the key elements of a successful business are considered.

Related: Business Model Design – Picking The Business Model That Works For You

My co-founders and I have used the Canvas extensively at Simply – for designing our business model, and for communicating it to partners and investors. The only thing you know with certainty when you start a business is that it’s not going to turn out as you expect it to.  The Canvas evolves as you go – it was, and continues to be, a very useful guide in our journey.

Recognising an opportunity for disruption

We figured there was an opportunity to do something disruptive in the SA life insurance space.  It was clear to us that lots of people were either not covered or getting a rough deal.  Guided by the Canvas, we defined our first Customer Segment as adult South Africans, aged between 25 and 45 and earning between R5k and R30k monthly.

We then identified the 3 big Problems – specific to that segment – that needed solving:

  1. Most of the people in our segment have some form of funeral cover, but very few have life or disability cover.
  2. The cover they do have is often expensive relative to the benefits provided (i.e. a very small % of the premium goes towards the risk costs).
  3. There is no simple, intuitive way to buy good value life, disability and funeral cover online.

Developing a value proposition

Next came the Value Proposition.  We believed we could use technology, digital marketing and human-centred product design to deliver simple, online life, disability and funeral insurance at a great price.  We felt we could be for life insurance in South Africa what Takealot has been for retail.

We thought the world was moving far faster than incumbents realised; that millennials were ready to buy life insurance online; that we could build for the digital world and be in the right place at the right time.

And the rest flowed from there.  I don’t have the time or the space to walk you through the other elements of the Canvas here, but you can probably fill in the blanks.  Suffice to say, the process was invaluable and enabled us to build our business around a clearly considered business model.  It’s early days, but the signs are good – we’re making a positive impact, having fun and keeping our investors happy.

Creating a Lean Canvas

So, how should you go about sketching your own Lean Canvas?  The team at suggest the following approach:

  1. Sketch a canvas in one sitting. While a business plan can take weeks or months to write, your initial canvas should be sketched quickly.
  2. It’s okay to leave sections blank. Rather than trying to research or debate the “right” answers, put something down quickly or leave it blank and come back to it later.
  3. Think in the present. Business plans try too hard to predict the future which is impossible. Instead, write your canvas with a ‘getting things done’ attitude.
  4. Use a customer-centric approach.  You may need to sketch one Canvas per customer segment.  Start with the Customer Segment and go in sequence.

The Canvas has brought clarity and a common language to our business model design process.  It’s enabled us to agree upon and communicate our business model effectively – both internally and externally.  It’s also allowed us to tune and adjust our model as our story has unfolded – an inevitability for entrepreneurs.  I highly recommend the Lean Canvas as a tool for designing your business model.  Give it a try – I think you’ll like it.

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