Small businesses in South Africa honoured

The hard work and achievements of the small business community in South Africa were in the spotlight when the winners of the 2015 South African Small Business Awards were announced on 5 November 2015 at a breakfast at Montecasino in Fourways, Johannesburg.

The awards, hosted by the National Small Business Chamber (NSBC) and sponsored by Adams & Adams, First National Bank and Vodacom, paid tribute to the contribution that small businesses made in creating employment and building communities. They represented various industries throughout the country.

Successful small businesses promote the outcomes of the country’s National Development Plan. It aims to create decent employment through inclusive economic growth, so creating a better South Africa, a better Africa, and a better world.

The NSBC, established in 2007, is a non-profit membership organisation and the driving force fuelling small business growth. It was set up to foster the sustainability and growth of the SME sector, driving job creation, alleviating unemployment and nurturing the country’s entrepreneurial spirit. The chamber has a membership of more than 87 000 small- and medium-sized enterprises and 50 big brands as national partners.

Mike Anderson

Mike Anderson, founder and chief executive officer of the NSBC, gives a motivational speech.(Image: National Small Business Chamber)

Mike Anderson, the founder and chief executive officer of the NSBC, said in a statement that being recognised as a champion business further validated the award winners’ reputation for quality and provided opportunities for further growth. “While our economy struggles to reach its full potential, small businesses like the 2015 award winners act as shining examples of how innovation, perseverance and commitment can have a big impact,” he said.

“Though times can be tough, this year’s winners have proven they can be too. The 2015 winners have shown that through passion, hard work and dedication, success is achievable.”

The South African Small Business Awards, now in its seventh year, once again drew thousands of entries. This year, three special awards were introduced: National Exporter Award, National Travel & Tourism Award and National Innovation Award.

Social media

Business owners and others at the awards tweeted about the event:

The winners

Ariston Global, owned by Reginald Pillay, was named 2015 National Small Business Champion. Pillay’s company provides accounting, tax, human resources and advisory services. It has grown over eight years to report a growth rate of more than 250% this financial year and created many new, professional long-term job opportunities for young entrants to the job market.

Pillay said the first 1 000 days of a business were the most critical. “I’m inspired by how we’ve grown over the last eight years into the Ariston Global that you see today.

“I am honoured to be the recipient of this award and humbled to be recognised by the NSBC. The way that the NSBC not only supports small businesses but also provides accolades for achievement is great. I am so happy to be a part of that.”

reginald pillay

From left: Stephen Swart, Head of Acquisitions at FNB; Gerard Du Plessis, Chairman at Adams & Adams; Reginald Pillay of Ariston Global and Songezo Masiso, National Sales Manager at Vodacom. Pillay won the National Small Business Champion of the Year award. (Image: National Small Business Chamber)

The National Entrepreneur Champion and inaugural National Exporter Award went to Shooshoos, an exclusive baby shoe brand owned by Gill Bowen. The company has grown exponentially to become the biggest exclusive baby shoe brand in South Africa and exports to over 15 countries.

national woman champion

National Woman in Business Champion of the Year – From Left: First runner-up: Tanya Kisten of Khanyisela College; National Woman in Business Champion of the Year award winner Sonja Smith-Janse Van Rensburg of Sonja Smith Funeral Group Pty Ltd and Second runner-up Refilwe Marumo of Mighty Comms Pty Ltd. (Image: National Small Business Chamber)

Sonja Smith Funeral Group, owned by Sonja Smith, was awarded the National Woman in Business Champion. Smith’s passion for being of service to people in times of grief and her tireless advocacy in tackling legal issues in the funeral industry led to the company being featured in the Sunday newspaper Rapport and on television investigative journalism show Carte Blanche.

Janine van Zyl, the owner of Cold Gold Artisan Ice Cream, scooped the National Young Entrepreneur Champion Award. With the motto “Perfection is all the little things done well with love”, Cold Gold Artisan Ice Cream creates speciality 100% natural ice cream and sorbet in over 800 flavours.

Van Zyl said it was a great honour to receive the award. “It has been inspiring to watch my business grow alongside those of my suppliers. It was part of my vision to not only create a business for myself but to assist other businesses to grow at the same time.”

The full list of winners and runners-up is:

National Small Business Champion of the Year

  • Winner: Ariston Global – Reginald Pillay
  • First runner-up: College of Production Technology – Andy Greenwood
  • Second runner-up: Oembotutravel.co.za – Henri Otou

National Entrepreneur Champion of the Year

  • Winner: Gill Bowen – Shooshoos
  • First runner-up: Tyrone Naidoo – BEE Online
  • Second runner-up: Kevin Paxton – Noble Water Solutions

National Woman in Business Champion of the Year

  • Winner: Sonja Smith-Janse van Rensburg – Sonja Smith Funeral Group
  • First runner up: Tanya Kisten – Khanyisela College
  • Second runner-up: Refilwe Marumo – Mighty Comms

National Young Entrepreneur Champion of the Year

  • Winner: Janine Van Zyl – Cold Gold Artisan Ice Cream
  • First runner-up: Tshepiso Mametja – Amphiguard Brickyard
  • Second runner-up: Marisa da Silva – Infanta Food

Special awards

  • National Travel & Tourism Award: Oembotutravel.Co.Za – Henri Otou
  • National Exporter Award: Shooshoos – Gill Bowen
  • National Innovation Award: Noble Water Solutions – Kevin Paxton

Source: South African Small Business Awards and Brand South Africa reporter.