There was no clowning around at Carnival City, Brakpan on April 8 2017 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 attended by Ekhurhuleni Mayor Mzwandile Masina, Gauteng finance MEC Barbara Creecy, MEC for human development Paul Mashatile, MEC Faith Mazibuko from the department of sport, art culture and recreation, 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 a positive and significant contributor to the growth and development of the South African economy and reduction of unemployment, poverty and inequality.
The primary objective of the awards is to recognise and reward this entrepreneurial talent in township settlements while building and cementing confidence in township-based businesses. Equally important is the intended impact that the awards will have in changing negative perceptions about township-based businesses as well as encouraging and inspiring township entrepreneurs to realise tangible and conceivable economic gains for the communities within which they operate.
“Every nominee was a deserved winner, with them leaving the event with R100 000,” said Mayor Masini.
Winners walked away with R200 000 to R500 000. “We want to grow this by attracting sponsorship that means top winners can walk away next year with R1-million. It is not a charity to invest in these entrepreneurs, but a vital step to take things to the next level.”
The following winners were announced on the evening:
Entrepreneur of the Year: Ama X-Rays
Youth Entrepreneur of the Year: Nambitha Nutritional Products
Woman Entrepreneur of the Year: Bright Future Agricultural
Community Journalist of the Year: Linda Mnisi
Lifetime Achievement Award: Dr Sam Motsuenyane
Startup enterprise: Kwa Jerry Fast Food
Food and beverages: Goapele Bakery
Tourism: Zaza’s Guesthouse and Spa
Retail and finance: Cool Apple Dude
Services: Ama X-Rays
Manufacturing: Nambitha Nutritional Products
Agribusiness: Bright Future Agricultural
Transport, automotive and components: Nyembe Waste Management
Construction, building and real estate: Shirinda Trading and Projects
Creative industries: DV Nhlapho
Social and community: Ditshiamiso Business Enterprise
Entrepreneur with a disability: SKS Business Solutions
There are very strict criteria for entry into this project, which is intended to blossom into a very important brand for Gauteng. It is the only known programme of this nature — certainly in southern Africa. The judges have absolute discretion to exclude any entity considered unsuitable for the awards.
Entrants must be South African citizens with a valid ID having a township businesses registered and operating within the townships of Gauteng province, with full business compliance including CIPC registration, tax clearance certificates, and where applicable, sector compliance documents for health and safety, public liability, from the Construction Industry Development Board, the National Home Builders Registration Council. 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.
This brand is intended to attract public attention towards township businesses and their successes and part of this has been the airing of The Business Battle on eTV, with a similar format to BBC entrepreneurship reality show 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 sharpen and enhance their business skills.
Winner of the Mail & Guardian-sponsored journalist of the year award was Linda Mnisi, with Soweto TV. Visibly overwhelmed, he said that he was “over the moon”, especially having only recently migrated from his qualification in business management into journalism.
“I want to become a very well-known, part-niche journalist in arts and entertainment — not paparazzi, but telling the news stories about artists that need to be explored, such as their leaving labels and the contractual disputes they face. Journalism that focuses on their real issues.”
“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 Mail & Guardian saw something in me that adds positive input into the community.”