Speaking at the event, spokesperson for the 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year® competition sponsored by Sanlam and BUSINESS/PARTNERS, Gugu Mjadu says that Eksteen was selected as the overall 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year® winner due to his strong entrepreneurial attitude and the remarkable growth and expansion that his business has exhibited since first entering the competition two years ago.
“Since being named a finalist in the 2014 competition, Agricon has not only expanded and experienced rapid growth in turnover, but has also made improvements in its business processes which have contributed to its growth,” says Mjadu.
She adds that the high calibre of business acumen and entrepreneurial talent of the finalists this year made it no easy task for the judging panel to decide on six category winners from the 15 deserving entrepreneurs who were selected to advance to the final round of judging.
Another winner at the awards was Michael Roberts, owner and founder of Khonology who scooped the 2016 Job Creator of the Year® award. Founded in 2013 in a response to skills shortages in the South African technology sector, Khonology has played a significant role in bridging the gap between academia and corporate expectations for graduates entering the workforce by equipping them with vital technological and financial skills.
Now in its 28th year, the 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year® competition sponsored by Sanlam and BUSINESS/PARTNERS aims to honour, recognise and uplift South African small and medium enterprises (SMEs) by providing a platform for entrepreneurs to showcase their achievements and elevate their business profiles – as well as their profits.
Mjadu says that given the current job market and economic landscape, now more than ever, South Africa needs to rally behind and support local entrepreneurs. “Given South Africa’s high unemployment rate of 26.6%, the country needs to promote entrepreneurship and support its main job creators – local entrepreneurs. Agile by nature, entrepreneurs are eternal optimists and will continue to see opportunity rather than challenges when faced with adversity.
“The 2016 group of 15 finalists have created 1071 job opportunities. This is just a small handful of South Africa’s many entrepreneurs. The more we recognise our local economic heroes, the more we can inspire other individuals to embark on their own entrepreneurial journey,” says Mjadu.
Sanlam and BUSINESS/PARTNERS