The Business of the Year 2011 is Somta Tools and the award was received by Managing Director, Allan Conolly. In making the Award, the PCB recognised the company’s visionary leadership in an economically challenging environment and their implementation of significant productivity improvements and application of sound management principles.
The Somta team proactively addressed the challenges that they were facing as a result of the world economic crises, and implemented an effective turnaround strategy. Not only has there been an impressive improvement in sales, but there has also been a remarkable turnaround from a significant loss situation to one of profitability. The company has managed to effectively balance real empowerment with managerial control, and the increase in sales due to greater demand and the introduction of new product ranges has resulted in the employment of an additional 45 people over the last year. Somta enjoys between 55% and 60% of the high speed steel market share in South Africa and exports to 72 countries world wide. They are leaders in their industry, and in business, and are most deserving of this award.
The Runner-up Business of the Year 2011 is Talbot & Talbot. The award was received by Dr. Bernard Talbot. Talbot & Talbot is an innovative environmental engineering company working with industries throughout Africa to secure sustainable water sources for production. The company, with 4 divisions offering a full turnkey service in its field of operations, has extensive experience and an impressive 20 year track record. The assessors were particularly impressed with the professionalism of the organisation, in terms of its external service offering and its approach to internal management.
The Champion Entrepreneur for 2011 is Rick McCarthy. Rick is the owner of Hair Sole’ in Victoria Road and Sole’ Hair Design at the Liberty Midlands Mall, as well as Training Leadership Consulting (TLC), which is a professional services business focused on business improvement. His drive to continually improve his own businesses and a keen ability to identify business opportunities have been major factors in Rick’s success. TLC’s turnover has more than doubled year-on-year over the past three years, and the company has grown to the extent that its staff complement has increased from 13 in 2009 to 30 currently. In his passion for productivity and ability to make his business enterprises profitable, Rick McCarthy exemplifies the true and gifted entrepreneur, and is considered a worthy winner in this category.
The Runner-up Champion Entrepreneur 2011 is Nobuhle Patricia Mbanjwa, owner of Jailbreak Caterers. Nobuhle impressed the selection panel, because she has shown enormous fortitude in establishing her businesses. She is passionate and driven and displays the true colours of an entrepreneur in her “never say die” attitude and bold determination. With foresight she has created diverse activities to supplement the growth of her initial objectives. She currently owns an upmarket salon, and between the two businesses, she employs a total of 48 people. She is in the process of establishing a wedding venue and B&B. An inspiring and remarkable entrepreneur.
The Small Business of the Year 2011 is Coffeeberry Café. The adjudication team were very impressed with Con and Sue Malherbe’s team based approach. They are “hands-on”
Runner-up Small Business of the Year 2011 is Lock & Key Solutions. Brian and Maritsa Gouws owner manage their business, which they run with passion, vision and energy. They too, adopt a team-based approach to management and are very “hands-on”
The Emergent Black Business Person of the Year is Johannes Nene, owner of Nene Haulage. Somta Tools assisted Johannes with starting his business. He began with one truck and one customer, and has grown, in a period of just over three years, to the point of having five trucks (four freehold and one that is currently financed), and servicing over 800 customers. You can always find Johannes at the coalface of his business. Johannes’s dedication and commitment to excellence has ensured a quality service delivery for his clients, with whom he shares a professional, warm relationship. These partnerships are key to his business’s success. Johannes’
The Runner-up Emergent Black Business Person of the Year is Sandeep Seeth of African Intellect. Sandeep has developed a series of mathematics board games, to try and assist learners with mathematical concepts. He was driven to do this by the country’s poor performance in this subject, and was inspired to develop a physical tool, that didn’t necessitate learners having internet access, to ensure accessibility for all learners.
Sandeep is in negotiations with several education departments and hopes to encourage corporates to purchase and donate the games to rural schools, as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility. Although this is a fairly new initiative, he has sold several hundred of the games already. African Intellect looks set to go places.