Meet the top of 2017’s entrepreneurial crop!

The winners of the Entrepreneur of the Year competition sponsored by Sanlam and Business/Partners have been announced.

Willem van der Merwe of Africa Biomass Company was named this year’s Entrepreneur of the Year after emerging the overall winner.

Winners of the five categories

The emerging entrepreneurs of the year were Sizwe Nzima and Siraaj Adams, owners of Iyeza Health. They started as a company delivering medicine by bicycle in Khayelitsha. Iyeza Group has since evolved into a health logistics company with a wide range of capabilities.

The small business entrepreneur of the year is Itumeleng Phake, founder and owner of Zenzele Fitness Group that makes health and fitness more accessible to South Africans in the middle and lower LSM groups.

The medium business entrepreneur of the year, Nomfundo Mcoyi, is the founder and owner of the Icebolethu Group. The business has become a prominent funeral services conglomerate with an international presence and around 300 employess.

The job creator of the year is Siphiwe Ngcobo, the owner and founder of iLawu Hospitality Group. Founded in 2009 as a fie-bedroomed bed-and-breakfast in Pietermaritzburg, iLawu Hospitality Group has since expanded into a well-recognised hospitality and catering brand in KZN providing countless jobs to the community.

The innovator of the year is Mpodumo Doubada, the founder and owner of Pimp My Book, a growing chain of campus stores across the country. It was founded in 2006 on a simple idea: buying and selling used text-books to make them significantly more affordable to students.

Now in its 29th year, the Entrepreneur of the Year competition sponsored by Sanlam and Business/Partners provides prizes worth R2 million.

Each of the five category winners got R60 000, and the overall winner won R160 000 as capital.

Beyond the prize money, competition spokesman, Christo Botes said each winner gets valuable mentorship support, networking opportunities, marketing and national media exposure.

Originally published: Daily Sun (Cape), Sun Money on 12 September 2017

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