These 7 companies have been pegged as SA's next heavy hitters


Seven majority black-owned small businesses have been selected as winners of the CEO Circle Entrepreneurs Award for being deemed high-potential enterprises "with the ability to grow into a significant company of R500m-plus in value".

According to a statement from the SA SME Fund's CEO Circle, a panel of CEOs chaired by Discovery's Adrian Gore, Investec's Fani Titi, Vodacom's Shameel Joosub and Bongani Nqwababa of Sasol were so impressed by the seven finalists that they opted to select them all as winners.

Starting in August and continuing over the coming months, each recipient will be provided with personalised support aimed at helping them scale up into "significant companies of R500m-plus in value, as part of SA’s private sector efforts to stimulate the economy and create jobs," according to the statement.

Each will receive mentorship from one of the top CEOs in the country, as well as a personalised plan to accelerate their growth, that will include access to capital providers (debt and/or equity), introductions to and mentoring by senior executives and decision makers in SA SME Fund shareholder companies.

Job creation, economic growth

"Mid-sized companies are an important engine of economic growth. We will leverage the enormous power of the SA SME Fund’s shareholders (top 50 corporates) and fund managers to help grow these businesses into significant players in the South African economy," said Gore, who is also chair of the SA SME Fund.

The fund is a private sector-led initiative born out of the CEO Initiative, a partnership between government and CEOs to stimulate the economy and create jobs. The R1.5bn fund focuses on building entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises.

Over 20% of the nominated companies qualified for the second round of business reviews, resulting in 13 businesses being selected for in-depth financial assessments, the SME Fund said.

The 13 companies presented to an initial selection panel on 18 July 2019. From this group, seven companies were selected to present their businesses to the CEO Circle Selection Panel on August 7, which culminated in the selection of the winners.

The award-winning companies were:

BT Industrial: Manufactures High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) pipes and provides an array of complementary services to customers including engineering, project management, quantity surveying, and maintenance solutions.  

InnoVent: Has a dual offering: asset rental and management (computer hardware) to corporates, and the re-rental of refurbished computers to customers including large corporates and SMEs.

KELE Mining Solutions: Niche contract mining services (load and haul and drilling) with a view to use data analytics to improve productivity and efficiency in the industry.

Sentio Capital Management: Boutique asset manager focused on integrating AI and machine learning with qualitative bottom-up research to build portfolios for institutional and retail clients.

SignCraft Africa:  A one-stop shop that manufactures, installs, delivers and maintains corporate signage. Operates nationally, and has a presence in 14 African countries.

Siyeza Fine Chem: Procures, supplies and distributes Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients and other raw materials to pharmaceutical, nutraceutical and cosmetics manufacturers.

TSK Interiors: Deliver high quality, multi-million rand turnkey interior fitouts and related construction solutions through strategic partnerships with skilled core suppliers.

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