Eight small business leaders from KwaZulu-Natal have been recognised and rewarded for their role in developing an entrepreneurial province.
The 2018 Business Achiever Awards ceremony took place in Durban on Wednesday. Hosted by KZN’s development agency, the Ithala development finance corporation, the awards recognise business achievements and excellence, their contribution to job creation and the growth of the province’s economy.
Eight out of 16 nominees, all Ithala clients from the agriculture, franchise, media, tourism and logistics services sectors and hailing from places as far as Pongola, Newcastle and Kokstad, were selected as winners, earning prize money for their businesses and a charity of their choice.
Winners in each category were selected on the basis of their business sustainability, growth, job creation, community development, entrepreneurial flair and innovation.
“We initiated the Ithala Business Achiever Awards project to recognise and reward existing Ithala clients in their role of developing an entrepreneurial province.
“In selecting the finalists for the awards, we nominated key clients who epitomise a spirit of entrepreneurship, have a good track record of financial performance, have made an impact in their community and demonstrated innovation and personal integrity,” said Ithala acting group chief executive Thembe Mathe.
The judging process was stringent with external independent adjudicators from the Durban chamber of commerce and the Ethekwini municipality business support unit ensuring impartiality. Shortlisted clients were provided with the interview questions a week before the interview so that they could be well prepared for the final judging.
The overall winner who took away the Entrepreneur of the Year title and R100,000, plus R10,000 for charity, was Phumulani Ngwenya, owner of Siyanda Stationery trading as Kwalala Lodge.
Born and raised in Pongola, Ngwenya grew up selling boiled eggs and sweet potato at school. This entrepreneurial spirit and an eye for business saw him filling the needs of his community, opening a crèche and later a stationery shop. He then branched into the tourism industry with a B&B with Kwalala Lodge, Magugu Lodge and Crocodile Creek Lodge, all which are based in Pongola. He is also involved in property development where he owns six commercial properties which he is currently leasing out.
– African News Agency (ANA)