KLOOF Entrepreneur, Mel Gard, was recently selected as one of three finalists in the BWA Durban Regional Business Achievers Award 2016 Entrepreneur category.With over 14 years’ experience in business, Gard’s passion lies in online strategy, although her journey to the world of online business was rooted in learning the ropes of starting and managing small businesses.Graduating from the University of the Witwatersrand with a Bachelor of Science degree with honours in 2002, Gard and her husband, Nick, managed and co-owned three hospitality businesses, before launching their online business in 2009. After being accredited as a certified WSI Internet Marketing Consultant in July that year, she attended the WSI Excellence and Innovation Conference in Miami, Florida in 2010, where she received an Advanced Internet Marketing Certification for 2011.Gard is also Google Adwords and Analytics Certified, and in her role as tech speaker and teacher, she has been invited to speak at many events for leading institutes such as Durban Chamber of Commerce, Zululand Chamber of Commerce and Seda. The Regional Business Achievers Award (RBAA) is a Businesswomen’s Association (BWA) initiative that honours women in business across South Africa.With up to six categories that range from emerging entrepreneur, to entrepreneur, social entrepreneur, professional, corporate and government, the awards identify, acknowledge and cultivate female leaders in each region. Gard was nominated by Gonda Swanevelder, a WSI employee, who says: “As soon as I found out that nominations were open for these awards I immediately thought of Melanie Gard. I felt compelled to, as her story is truly inspiring, her work ethic is outstanding and her achievements speak for themselves. She is a thought leader in the world of business and I grow on a daily basis under her mentorship. It was a no brainer really.”After submitting a Portfolio of Evidence and going through a stringent interview process, she was selected as one of three finalists for the award in the entrepreneur category. Final winners for the six categories will be announced at a gala dinner on 29 July at the Durban ICC.“Being nominated – especially by an employee – for the RBAA finalists has been a huge honour. Durban has an amazing array of female entrepreneurs and to be a finalist in this category is quite stunning, and very humbling,” added Gard.To learn more about booking Gard as a speaker, visit www.melaniegard.com For more information on WSI Durban, visit www.wsionlinebusiness.co.za - Supplied.