Entrepreneurs, small businesses celebrated

If small business wins, big business wins and ultimately the government wins too, says National Small Business Chamber CEO Mike Anderson.

small businesses entrepreneurs awards
Mike Anderson, founder and CEO of the National Small Business Chamber, says the entrants in the 2017 Top 20 Small Business and Entrepreneurship Award prove that there are business opportunities: “You just need to have an idea and the passion to make it a reality. All our winners today are fantastic examples of people who spotted an opportunity, believed in their skill and made it into a viable business.” (Image: Melissa Javan)

Melissa Javan
Small businesses were recognised for their contribution to the economy and employment at the 2017 Top 20 Small Business and Entrepreneurship Award on 9 November 2017, held at Randlords in Johannesburg. The ninth annual awards were hosted by the National Small Business Chamber (NSBC) in association with World Famous Events.

Said Mike Anderson, founder and CEO of the NSBC: “We are astounded at the diversity of entrants this year, but equally encouraged as it shows the depth and breadth of South Africa’s entrepreneurial spirit.”

He said growing small and medium businesses was vital to the local economy and its ever-growing rate of unemployment. “This type of innovation and entrepreneurial spirit will undoubtedly cultivate a much healthier business landscape for all involved.”

There were no runners-up – no second place nor third place. Everyone in the Top 20 went home a winner, he said.

Access to funding and finding the right technology were challenges for small business, but the winners of the award were people with perseverance, passion and persistence, Anderson said. “We look at where they come from, the obstacles they’ve overcome and how they have arrived.”

There were special categories for several of the Top 20 winners:

2017 National Small Business Champion

entrepreneur small businesses my online presence
Andrei Dimitriu and his wife, Daleen, of My Online Presence. The company specialises in online software development and building custom systems for clients. It has contracts with Australian companies.

2017 National Entrepreneur Champion and 2017 Innovation Award

entrepreneur small businesses sylvester chauke
Sylvester Chauke (left) is the founder DNA Brand Architects. Here he is with Mike Anderson.

2017 National Woman in Business Champion

entrepreneur small businesses phillipa geard
Phillipa Geard, founder of RecruitMyMom, runs a website that connects job-seeking mothers with employers. Here she is with Mike Anderson.

2017 National Young Entrepreneur Champion

entrepreneur small businesses bakani ngulani
Bakani Ngulani is the founder of the accounting company, BN Business Solutions. Mike Anderson (right) hands over the award.

2017 National Franchisor Award

entrepreneur small businesses The Daily Coffee Cafe Group
Adriaan de Bruyn and Kobie Malan are The Daily Coffee Café Group. The group has 20 coffee shops across the country.

2017 National Tourism Award

entrepreneur small businesses siphokazi tsiam
Siphokazi Tshiam of La Teranga Bed & Breakfast in Kokstad started her business seven years ago. The company’s services include catering, bed and breakfast, and conferencing centres. Here she is with Mike Anderson (right).

2017 National Start-up Award

entrepreneur small businesses ruan schoeman
Ruan Schoeman is the director of Lewies Future Technologies. Here Schoeman gets his award handed over by Mike Anderson.

Entrepreneurs’ success stories

Chauke, founder of the marketing and brand consulting company DNA Brand Architects, started his business five years ago, running it solo. Today, he has a team of 34.

He didn’t take the win lightly, saying: “We are honoured. I hope it inspires my team more.”

Young entrepreneurs also got some advice. “It’s possible to achieve a lot in a short period provided you bring all you have got to it. It’s not easy, but just keep bringing what you have got,” Chauke said.

entrepreneur small businesses samantha adams
Samantha Adams is the director of Helping Hands Academy. She is one of the Top 20 award winners

Samantha Adams, from Athlone in Cape Town, runs Helping Hands Academy. It gives on-site first aid training.

Adams started her business in 2014, offering free workshops. She now sells her services to corporates and gives training at primary schools. From a single-person business, her team has grown to ten volunteers and three first aid instructors.

There were 43,000 women and 3,000 employers registered on her site, Geard said of her five-year-old business. The mothers advertised services such as administration and accounting on the site.

“As an entrepreneur it’s tough and lonely at times but it’s a wonderful journey. I dedicate this award to the women on my site.

“I value the NSBC for these awards – we can take stock of what we do, especially since there’s always so much to be done.”

entrepreneur small businesses feed it forward
Janesha Govender (right) of the non-profit organisation Feed It Forward is a Top 20 winner. She is pictured with her husband, Avesh Padayachee (left).

Janesha Govender of Feed It Forward said her non-profit organisation worked with a company in Sandton to give 250 meals once a week in Alexandra, in northern Johannesburg. Launched on Mandela Day this year, it had already distributed 2,500 meals.

Feed It Forward provided a technology-based, logistical solution, said Govender. Companies often had a lot of meals left over, so instead of throwing good food away, Feed It Forward took it to people in impoverished areas such as Alexandra. “Our medium-term goal is to distribute 1,000 meals a day in Alexandra.”

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