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Tsogo Sun’s Entrepreneur Of The Year Finalists Announced

This year’s Tsogo Sun Entrepreneur of the Year Award finalists run businesses in a range of market sectors – find out more about the winners below.

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With South Africa’s entrepreneurial activity being rated as low for a developing nation and only a quarter of that of other sub-Saharan countries, according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, support for entrepreneurs by the nation’s private and public sectors is essential for economic growth.

Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs has been committed to entrepreneurial development for more than a decade, revealing countless small business successes, providing practical support through a 12-month development programme, and recognising excellent entrepreneurial performance through the prestigious annual Tsogo Sun Entrepreneur of the Year Awards for the programme’s top performers.

This year’s Tsogo Sun Entrepreneur of the Year Award finalists run businesses in a range of market sectors, and include Carol Senosi, owner of cleaning services business, Lefa Cleaning Services in Gauteng; Nqobile Nkosi, whose business, NQ Jewellery Design, operates from Soweto; Lucille Cremen, who owns Cresco Tours in Gauteng; Zinzi Masina, owner of La Emme Guesthouse; and Meisie Nkosi, owner of Bella Bonni Guesthouse, both situated in eMalahleni in Mpumalanga.

Nqobile Nkosi, Tumi Manong, Rebone Sesoke, Meisie Nkosi, Zinzi Masina, Candy Tothill, Lucille Cremen, Hayley Moore and Carol Senosi

Nqobile Nkosi, Tumi Manong, Rebone Sesoke, Meisie Nkosi, Zinzi Masina, Candy Tothill, Lucille Cremen, Hayley Moore and Carol Senosi

Related: The Most Powerful Advice Entrepreneurs Ignore

Says Marcel von Aulock, Tsogo Sun CEO, “To meet the national requirements for job creation in South Africa, we need to cultivate an environment that is conducive to establishing and developing small businesses. Tsogo Sun contributes towards this social and economic imperative through our empowerment programmes such as the Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs, which assists emerging enterprises to grow and thrive so that they can become active participants in the economy.”

He adds that the Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs programme forms part of the group’s sustainability and growth strategy, with particular emphasis on delivering value to small and medium sized businesses in the communities where Tsogo Sun is present.

“The programme harnesses decades of our group’s experience and expertise and makes this available to entrepreneurs in all industries across the country to support them in their efforts to become successful. Over the years, the programme has become an important part of our supply chain and many of the registered entrepreneurs have become suppliers to the group.”

Entries to the 2016 Tsogo Sun Entrepreneur of the Year Award were open to 152 Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs who have benefitted or are benefitting from the 12-month development programme.  Says Candy Tothill, Tsogo Sun’s GM of Corporate Affairs, “Entrants were required to complete a comprehensive entry form to be considered for the Awards.

“These were shortlisted 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.”

Related: 7 Steps To Launching Your Own Business

The finalists will be interviewed by a panel of nine judges, who include Tsogo Sun executives, change agents, thought leaders, and past Entrepreneur of the Year winners. The 2016 Judges are: 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.

TS Entrepreneurs - finalists, left to right Meisie Nkosi, Zinzi Masina, Lucille Cremen, Carol Senosi and Nqobile

TS Entrepreneurs – finalists, left to right Meisie Nkosi, Zinzi Masina, Lucille Cremen, Carol Senosi and Nqobile

Adriaan Groenewald, judge and CEO and Co-founder of Leadership Platform, comments, “Growing new entrepreneurs is one of the greatest ways to empower individuals. It is the best way for us to grow the SA economy. We all know this, but do we all actually do something about it? Tsogo Sun does. I have personally interviewed several Tsogo Sun entrepreneurs and have been highly impressed by their comments on how the programme assists them. We are honoured to be involved with this initiative in some form.”

Tsogo Sun hosted the five finalists at Montecasino for a three-day leadership workshop, during which they were announced to the media on 25 August. Tothill says, “Panel interviews with the judges are being undertaken during the leadership workshop on 26 August to assess each of the finalists using a system that enables our judges to score results against the same set of criteria.  While there can be only one winner, being a finalist in these awards puts the entrepreneurs on a bright path towards an even more successful future for their businesses.”

The Tsogo Sun Entrepreneur of the Year Award winner will be announced at the Annual Awards Dinner on 20 October at the Riverside Sun, during the annual conference that will place from 18 to 21 October. At the Awards Ceremony, the Minister of Tourism, Derek Hanekom, will give the keynote address.

Prizes for the winner include R30 000 from Tsogo Sun, a business bursary from Tsheto Leadership Academy and a professional business image experience from tweak&STYLE, while also providing a platform for the winner to promote their business and contribute to the development of other SMMEs in South Africa. In addition, the winner will be the Ambassador for Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs for the year.

Related: 9 Answers You Need About Yourself Before Starting Your Own Business

Vusi Dlamini, Tsogo Sun’s Group HR Director, says the company is proud of what Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs is achieving. “Entrepreneurial development is critical for the growth of the South African economy, particularly in these challenging economic times. The value of the Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs programme is immense.

“Apart from showcasing the good work that’s being done by the entrepreneurs themselves, it assists participants with skills development and exposure to the markets that Tsogo Sun serves; it helps them build self-confidence and finally, it breeds success. It is definitely an invaluable programme that empowers entrepreneurs to hold their own in the business world.”

Entrepreneur Magazine is South Africa's top read business publication with the highest readership per month according to AMPS. The title has won seven major publishing excellence awards since it's launch in 2006. Entrepreneur Magazine is the "how-to" handbook for growing companies. Find us on Google+ here.

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FNB Sets Its Sights On Growing Female Entrepreneurs In South Africa

First National Bank looks to grow women entrepreneurship in South Africa.

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FNB has set its sights on growing women owned and led businesses in South Africa, a commitment that has seen the bank enter into partnerships to facilitate mentorship for some of the most promising enterprises.

The bank has a good foundation to build on, as 38% of all new business accounts opened with FNB Business are either led or owned by women, highlighting an already established entrepreneurial momentum.

“We are cognisant of the fact that neither government nor corporate South Africa are going to be the sole sources of job creation. We therefore have an obligation to support and grow entrepreneurship. Partnerships such as the one entered into with International Finance Corporation (IFC) enables us to assist in developing women owned business,” says Michelle Geraghty, Head of Women in Business at FNB Business.

Over the last few years, FNB has, through a partnership with the Vumela Fund, assisted businesses such asSAIL, a leading skills and training institute that offers a range of qualifications to the public sector, and Toni Glass who produce a collection of world class tea, to not only scale effectively, but to bolster each of the business’s offering to market.

Related: Watch List: 50 Black African Women Entrepreneurs To Watch

“Our approach is to, much like we have done with the likes of Sail and Tony Glass, enable qualifying women owned businesses in their growth curve by offering help that includes transact, lending, investing and insuring solutions. This will include facilitating the registration of the business online via the FNB registrations system which links to CIPC, to Instant accounting and payroll solutions aimed at reducing operating costs for the business. This will also extend to support in the incubation stage of selected businesses through Vumela. We will carry this right through to private equity funding,” explains Geraghty.

Vumela was established as an innovative model that is aimed at filling the gaps in the current SME funding and support landscape. While Vumela is an SME growth fund, it also functions as the bank’s primary Enterprise Development and Supply Development vehicle, able to fulfil both SME funding and growth needs, and corporate ESD requirements, avenues that FNB will be making use of.

FNB also intends on tracking jobs created through these initiatives to ensure a trickledown effect that not only benefits the business owner but also increases the overall number of women participating in business in South Africa.

“The need to grow the number of women in business is one that if done correctly, can address many of the disparities and anguish that women continuously face. Access to fair opportunities to grow their businesses and in turn make a real impact on the South African economy,” concludes Geraghty.

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Great Bunch Of Entrepreneurs Make Top 10 In The Workspace/MiWay Competition

The top 10 in The Workspace/MiWay entrepreneur competition have been selected.

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After an intense four-month process, the top 10 contenders in The Workspace/MiWay Entrepreneur competition have been notified that they’re through to the next round. These entrepreneurs will pitch their businesses to the judges, who will then whittle down the number of contenders to five, from which the winner will be chosen.

“There has been great excitement over the past four months. As every single new entry came in, we would clap our hands and cheer,” said Mari Schourie, CEO of The Workspace. It was a tough job judging all the entries to reach the top 20 submissions, she said, before having to find the top 10.

“We’ve had really strong entries submitted by people with good business knowledge,” said Schourie. “You can see the willingness to work hard and the great amount of effort they have put into their initiatives.”

Schourie said judges saw “wonderful ideas and fabulous business minds and quality people with big dreams shine through the entries”.

The top 10 are:

  1. Loyal 1
  2. Dwyka Mining Services
  3. Minatlou Trading 251
  4. Sindis Best for all
  5. Convergence Three
  6. Zinde Zinde
  7. Matla Risk Management
  8. Artsort Trading
  9. Iconic Talent Agency
  10. Nthedikgwadi Transport Services

Related: How to Name (Or In Some Cases, Rename) Your Company

Schourie said she wished she could tell President Cyril Ramaphosa, who supports the growth of small business as an economic driver, “the ideas and the passion that these business owners have is inspiring and should be focused on more”.

The prize on offer – worth over R350 000 – will help set-up the winning entrepreneur for a period of 12 months, giving them a boost to help build their business.

Morné Stoltz, Head of Business Insurance at MiWay, said the theme that ran throughout the entries was that entrepreneurs wanted to make a difference and contribute to positive change in South Africa. “Many of the submissions focused on technical and developmental fields,” he said.

“Entrepreneurs recognise gaps in the market and see the potential for growth. Getting into the top 10 was not at all easy.”

Stoltz said South Africa had a “great bunch of entrepreneurs” and that standing together to give them a platform to launch was an exciting opportunity. “To grow our economy we need to help with skills development and give whatever assistance we can,” he said.

Part of the finalists’ road to the top includes a skills development programme for the top 10 entrants ahead of their important date to pitch their business plans to the judges.

As Schourie pointed out, it is vital to encourage South African citizens to act on their dreams and passions because “it can be a great success; they just need make that leap”.

Dates to watch:

  • 21 June: Top 10 skills development programme
  • 3 July: Top 10 pitches
  • 6 July: Top 5 announcement
  • 20 July: Final five workshops
  • 10 August: Final five pitches
  • 13 September: Winner announced

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Top 22 Start-ups Chosen For Final Selection Days – Startupbootcamp Africa

After receiving 1,004 applications from all over the world, the SBC team in conjunction with the programme’s corporate sponsors have narrowed the applicants down to 22 top-tier tech start-ups that will be invited to the Final Selection Days on July 11th and 12th at PwC’s headquarters in Cape Town.

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SBC Africa received 1,004 total applications from 77 countries on 5 continents. The start-ups that applied were exceptionally impressive and have gained more traction in the market than the applicants for the 2017 cohort. The talent in Africa is phenomenal and the corporate sponsors and SBC team dedicated 2 weeks to narrow it down to the Top 22 to be invited to Final Selection Days.

“It’s been an intense process due to the exceptionally high calibre of start-ups applying to the programme from across the continent,” states Philip Kiracofe, co-founder and CEO of Startupbootcamp Africa. “From 1,004 applications we have managed to narrow down to 22 of the most creative teams tackling daunting African problems. One of the key differentiators for start-ups that participate in the SBC Accelerator is the opportunity to secure commercial contracts with our sponsors. In order to make it onto our Top 22, each start-up has been chosen by at least 2 sponsors for potential proof of concept projects. The 2018 cohort is already shaping up to be a milestone moment for Africa.”

Related: How to Name (Or In Some Cases, Rename) Your Company

Zachariah George, co-founder and Chief Investment Officer of Startupbootcamp Africa added, “The investment community across Africa is taking note of the significant traction and access to market that being an alumni of a global accelerator programme like ours provides. We are excited to further galvanize venture capital funding into tech startups through significant de-risking of business models and customer validation with our corporate partners globally.”

From the 22 teams that have been invited to the SBC Africa Final Selection Days, 10 will be selected to join the 2018 cohort. Over the span of the two Final Selection Days, the startups in attendance will have the opportunity to present their pitches to high-profile corporate sponsors, investors, thought leaders and industry experts and will have the chance to sit down with mentors and sponsors alike. At the end of Day Two, the Top 10 will be announced and will be welcomed to the Cape Town-based Accelerator that kicks off in August. During the 3-month period, they will have the opportunity to scale at an incredible pace and seal pilot and proof of concept deals with the corporate sponsors to the programme.

The SBC Africa Accelerator is anchored and endorsed by heavyweight corporate sponsors RCS, BNP Paribas Personal Finance, Nedbank, Old Mutual and PwC.

“We’ve seen an increase in the quality of start-ups applying to the programme. The awareness of the value of the programme has increased and the success of the first year of the bootcamp speaks for itself. More mature start-ups are also seeing the benefits of participating in Startupbootcamp Africa,” comments Stanley Gabriel, Head of Innovation at Old Mutual.

The Top 22 start-ups invited to the Final Selection Days come from 7 different countries. The numbers are as follows: 8 from Nigeria, 5 from South Africa, 3 from Uganda, 2 from the Ivory Coast, 2 from Kenya, 1 from Ghana and 1 from Ireland.

Related: Entrepreneurship Is All About Overcoming Obstacles

The names of the start-ups invited to Final Selection Days by country:

  • Nigeria: Bankly Technologies, Biyabot, CredPal, FriendsVow, Kudimoney Bank, Medikal HMS, NebulaPay, and ZEEZZ Planet Solutions.
  • South Africa: Brandbookalytics Big Data, ifileme, LÜLA, Prospa, and Akiba Digital
  • Uganda: CoinPesa Ltd, RoundBob Uganda, and Swipe 2 Pay
  • Ivory Coast: Digitech Group, and DISTRICASH
  • Kenya: Kakbima, and MPost
  • Ghana: Inclusive Financial Technologies
  • Ireland: Pago Payments

It has been an incredible 3-month scouting journey for SBC Africa and now that the Top 22 have been announced, the Final Selection Days is the only hurdle left before the Accelerator officially kicks off on 13 August 2018.

There are high expectations for the Top 10 of 2018 and if the quality of the start-ups at this stage is any indication, 2018 is set to be a great success for the African tech and innovation ecosystem.

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