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15 finalists advance to final SA entrepreneurial competition

After much deliberation and debate, the judges for the 2015 Sanlam/Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year have announced the 15 finalists who will advance to the next round of the competition, with the overall winners to be announced at an awards ceremony in September 2015.

According to Christo Botes, spokesperson for the 2015 Sanlam/Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year competition, the finalist judging process was extremely challenging this year due to the number of high quality entries received. He says that the entrants have once again provided the judges with a vast variety of thriving businesses to select finalists and winners from. 

“The judges were seriously impressed by the quality of entries received this year, which have set a precedent in terms of entrepreneurial talent and success in South Africa.” 

Botes says that they received entries from a wide selection of entrepreneurs that operate in a variety of sectors all over South Africa. “The 15 finalists operate in various sectors, with the most prominent being the services, industrial and manufacturing sectors, with the majority originating from Gauteng and the Western Cape. We have very prominent and established businesses within our 2015 finalist pool, all with very strong financials.” 

He says that over 120 entries were received this year, with the majority of entrants originating from the greater Gauteng and Western Cape regions. 

“We would like to congratulate and commend all entrants, as these are the individuals addressing the unemployment crisis in South Africa and are positively playing a key role in the growth of our economy. They have all made a significant contribution towards society and all deserve to be celebrated.” 

He says that entering awards platforms provide entrepreneurs with the opportunity to stand back and inspect their own businesses, which can open their eyes in terms of how the business operates, the challenges it faces and how certain elements of the business can be improved.

“We find that the platform often encourages entrepreneurs to reassess goals, identify competitors in the market place and to spend time thinking about their growth strategy going forward.” 

Botes explains that the next step in the judging process is the selection of the winners in the different categories. “The judging process is completely independent and is monitored by PricewaterhouseCoopers. The judges also represent different areas of the business community and include successful seasoned entrepreneurs, as well as a representative from each of the sponsors and a director from PwC. The evaluation process runs through three different filtering processes, which ensures that everything is checked and rechecked to remove any human error or human preference which otherwise could  have crept into the process.”

He says that the 2015 finalists stand the chance to win prizes worth R2m, which includes cash prizes to the value of R350,000. “Beyond the chance to win prizes, previous entrants and finalists have benefitted from the competition’s various networking opportunities and associated exposure. Past winners have also gone on to win other prominent awards and form valuable partnerships as a result of their success in the competition. 

“We are excited to move onto the next round of the competition and wish all the finalists continued success and good fortune,” concludes Botes. 

The 2015 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year winners will be announced on 2 September 2015 at the official awards breakfast in Johannesburg. 

2015 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year finalists: 

Alex Fourie – Ifix Retail; Lee Grant – Brandserve Group; Lewis Thomas – Partners Hair Design; Nadir and Ahmed Khamissa – HelloGroup; Gil Oved and Ran Neu-Ner – The Creative Counsel; Shaun and Pam Ledlie  – Kershal Aviation Training Centre; Ruan Oosthuizen – Flume Communication; Charles Du Plessis – C3 Technologies; Jean Nico Jacque De Villiers – AdMaths; Bryan Anderson – Delta Steam Systems; Orianda Ntsompo – Orizoe Services; Michael Roberts – Robhur Management; Nisha Maharaj – Niche Integrated Solutions; Kim Whitaker – Once in Cape Town; Ncamisile Maphumulo      – Coastal Nephrology Centre. 

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