Winners changing the Gauteng economy

The winners of the Township Entrepreneurship Awards 2017

The winners of the Township Entrepreneurship Awards 2017

There was no clowning around at Carnival City, Brakpan on April 8 at the 2017 Township Entrepreneurship Awards, but there was plenty of glamour! The second ceremony for this important event intended to uplift communities and support Gauteng’s 10-point plan to revive the economy was attended and presented by numerous dignitaries and celebrities, including its host, MEC for economic development, Lebogang Maile.

The event was also attended by Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina, finance MEC Barbara Creecy, MEC for human development Paul Mashatile, MEC for sports, art and culture Faith Mazibuko, Miss South Africa 2017 Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters and the executives of its sponsors.

The role of entrepreneurs and SMMEs continues to gain momentum as positive and significant contributors to the growth and development of the South African economy and the reduction of unemployment, poverty and inequality.

The primary objective of the awards is to recognise and reward this entrepreneurial talent in townships, while building and cementing confidence in township-based businesses. Equally important is the intended impact that the awards will have in changing negative perceptions of township-based businesses as well as encouraging and inspiring township entrepreneurs to realise tangible economic gains for the communities within which they operate.

“Every nominee was a deserved winner, leaving the event with R100 000,” said Masina. Winners walked away with significant prizes, from R200 000 up to R500 000.
“We want to grow this by attracting sponsorship so that top winners can walk away next year with R1-million. It is not charity to invest in these entrepreneurs, but a vital step to take things to the next level.”

There are very strict criteria for entry into this project, which is intended to blossom into a very important brand for Gauteng, and the Township Entrepreneurship Awards is the only known programme of this nature — certainly in southern Africa. The judges have the absolute mandate to choose or exclude any business for these awards.

Entrants must be South African citizens with a valid ID, who have a township business registered and operating within Gauteng’s townships, with full business compliance including CIPC registration, tax clearance certificates and, where applicable, sector compliance documents such as Health and Safety, CIDB, NHBRC and public liability. The business must have been operational for a minimum of 24 months and be able to provide financial statements, management accounts, business or personal bank statements for the past 24-month period, with an annual turnover not exceeding R2-million.

The brand is intended to attract public attention towards township businesses and their successes, and part of this has been the airing of its own TV show on eTV, Business Battle, which follows a similar format to the famous BBC’s Dragon’s Den. All nominees participated in this 14-part reality television series that saw entrepreneurs going through a series of real and practical business experiences intended to enhance their business skills.

Winner of the Mail & Guardian Community Media Journalist of the Year award was Linda Mnisi of Soweto TV. Visibly overwhelmed, he said that he was “over the moon”, as he only recently migrated from qualifying in business management into journalism.

“I also hope to inspire my two younger siblings and other youth, and Soweto TV provides a brilliant platform to motivate them.

“Everyone focuses on the ministers, but we have to go into community homes and see how the ordinary men and women are going to suffer from government decisions. We need to provide a platform to see what is working and what is not. I am so grateful that the Mail & Guardian saw something in me that adds positive input into the community.”

The award winners for 2017

Entrepreneur of the Year: Ama X-Rays

Agriculture: Bright Future Agricultural

M&G Community Media Journalist of the Year: Linda Mnisi

Construction, building and real estate: Shirinda Trading and Projects

Creative industry: DV Nhlapo Productions

Entrepreneur with a disability: SKS Business Solutions

Food and beverage: Goapele Bakery

Manufacturing: Nambitha Nutritional Products

Retail and finance: Cool Apple Dude

Services: Ama X-Rays

Tourism: Zaza’s Guesthouse and Spa

Transport, automotive and components: Nyembe Waste Management

Social and community: Ditshiamiso Business Enterprise

Start-up: Kwa Jerry Fast Food

Woman Entrepreneur of the Year: Bright Future Agricultural

Youth Entrepreneur of the Year: Nambitha Nutritional Products

Lifetime Achievement Award: Dr Sam Motsuenyane

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