The 2017 Entrepreneur of the Year® competition sponsored by Sanlam and BUSINESS/PARTNERS is now open for entries.
The competition seeks to promote entrepreneurship in South Africa as a viable career path, by honouring dedicated entrepreneurs who have made great strides in their businesses and whose passion for growing their businesses and communities inspires and stimulates the nation.
With five categories, entrepreneurs from emerging to small and medium businesses can enter. Prizes valued at over R2-million can be won, which include cash prizes of R60 000 for each main category winner, and R160 000 for the overall winner. Competition winners will also receive valuable mentorship support, networking opportunities and national media exposure.
Entrepreneurs interested in entering the competition can download entry forms online at www.eoy.co.za as well as interact with fellow entrepreneurs and entrants on the competition’s social media platforms www.twitter.com/@EOY_SA and www.facebook.com/EOY.SA. The closing date for the competition is May 31, 2017.
Speaking at the launch of the competition in Cape Town, Christo Botes, Executive Director at Business Partners Limited (BUSINESS/PARTNERS), says: “The instrumental value that entrepreneurs add to the South African economy is undisputable – they are an important cog in the creation of the much needed jobs in the country. It is therefore encouraging that the challenges and obstacles which impede this valuable sector are receiving some much-needed attention from both the public and private sectors – with the inclusion of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the State of the Nation Address (SONA) and National Budget Speech – beckoning for a more focussed approach to entrepreneurial development in the country.”
He adds that just as important as government’s efforts of building an inclusive, supportive and thriving entrepreneurial eco system, is the need for society to encourage and support entrepreneurs in starting and growing businesses which positively contribute towards the country’s growth. “We need to be creating more platforms that stimulate and support entrepreneurship, we should work to promote and celebrate the successes of entrepreneurs – those individuals that tirelessly, often without recognition, contribute to growing the local GDP and improving employment figures.”
Also speaking at the competition launch was esteemed entrepreneur and CEO of Triggerfish Animation Studios, Stuart Forrest. Forrest pointed to the importance of recognising successful business owners as a great way to encourage entrepreneurship in South Africa: “New businesses are what enable the growth and vibrancy of any economy, so we need to do everything we can to better celebrate and encourage entrepreneurship.”
He also highlighted that South African investment is typically conservative, favouring commodities and other traditional brick and mortar investments.
We largely ignore the incredible intellectual and creative resources of our largest asset: our people. In South Africa’s current economy, we need a lot more risk-taking, and we need entrepreneurs who can extract this creative value and sell it in the world market.
Botes adds that as 73% of the country’s adult population sees entrepreneurship as a good career choice (2017 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor(GEM) report), industry leaders should be leveraging this to drive entrepreneurial participation in South Africa.
If we can create more entrepreneurs as a country, we can boost the economy which then in turn has various positive knock-on effects, such as creating jobs, introducing innovation and having a larger tax pool to fund all the key government projects including educating our young people.