SA's top entrepreneurs honoured across sectors

Cape Town - South Africa’s premier annual entrepreneurial competition, Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year, on Wednesday named Gil Oved and Ran Neu-Ner, founders and owners of The Creative Counsel (TCC), as the overall winners of the 2015 competition.

Now in its 27th year, the competition aims to honour, recognise and uplift South African SMEs and entrepreneurs, as well as celebrate excellence in entrepreneurship and inspire others to succeed in the world of business.

Speaking at the event in Johannesburg, competition spokesperson Christo Botes said that the judging process was extremely challenging this year, as judges had to select the winners for the seven categories from 15 deserving finalists who advanced to the final round of judging.

Botes said that Oved and Neu-Ner of TCC were selected as the overall 2015 Entrepreneur of the Year winners over the phenomenal success which the business had achieved in its 14 years of operation.

“Founded in 2001 as a two-man agency, TCC is today the largest advertising group in South Africa by staff and turnover, with a targeted presence in Africa and plans to expand further into emerging markets.”

He said that TCC had also perfected the process of job creation – a trait inherent in entrepreneurs and a key reason why the competition seeks to discover and unmask South Africa’s economic heroes and celebrate the role they play in society.

“The agency is one of South Africa's largest private first-time employers in that the business employs untrained candidates and then focuses on up-skilling these individuals and equip them with experience for their future careers.”

Other 2015 category winners include:

• 2015 Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year: Bryan Anderson, co-owner and co-founder of Delta Steam Systems.

Anderson is the creator of a revolutionary Delta Venturi steam trap system, which removes water from steam systems to keep manufacturing systems efficient. The innovative product range is disrupting the global steam trap industry due to its simplicity and longevity.

• 2015 Medium Business Entrepreneur of the Year and Innovator of the Year: Nadir Khamissa & Ahmed Shaazim Khamissa, owners and founders of Hello Group.

The Hello Group exists to create game-changing integrated consumer and business services for migrant and marginalised communities, and consists of a number of subsidiaries, each of which offers an innovative product or solution for individuals from these communities.

• 2015 Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year: Kim Whitaker, co-founder and co-owner of Once in Cape Town.

Once in Cape Town is a hospitality establishment which is a combined product of two different accommodation types - a backpackers’ lodge and a luxury hotel – globally dubbed as a ‘poshtel’.

The business offers a concise brand promise - the fun and adventurous qualities synonymous with a backpackers’ lodge, together with the cleanliness, safety, centrality and efficiency of a hotel.

• 2015 Job Creator of the Year: Lewis Thomas, owner and founder of Partners Hair Design.

Thomas started the successful group of Western Cape based hair salons 31 years ago and currently owns 14 unisex salons and eight male salons.

In 2012, he launched his second line of hair salons called Hair Freedom. Providing full-time employment to over 250 employees, Lewis has also established a successful SETA accredited hair training academy which educates and equips students with tools to success in the competitive industry.

KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) entrepreneur, Ncamisile Maphumulo, of Coastal Nephrology Centre - a kidney dialysis treatment centre in deep-rural KZN - was awarded the 2015 Sanlam / Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year Judges Prize.

The judges prize was introduced last year and seeks to acknowledge a business that may not yet be at the same level of the other entrepreneurs (in terms of size and turnover), but makes an impression on the judges due to their attitude and positive entrepreneurial outlook.

The competition provides prizes worth R2m. The overall winner received a cash prize of R100 000 and the other category winners each received R50 000. Each winner will also receive valuable mentorship support, networking opportunities and associated marketing and national media exposure to further drive their business success.

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