Entrepreneur of the Year Award Nondudozo Khanilye(Kheshwa) director TKN Incorporated and Tonderai Chigumundu operations manager. Photo: Supplied

DURBAN - Two KwaZulu-Natal women beat 30 nominees to take top honours in an expanded 2019 Ithala Business Achievers Awards, marking a milestone in the more than 15-year history of the competition.

This year the Awards, held on March 28, were expanded to include Ithala Development Finance Corporation’s property division as well as the Inkunz’Isematholeni Youth in Business competition. 

The awards recognise and celebrate small business’s entrepreneurial spirit, tenacity, excellence and their achievements in contributing to job creation and the growth in KZN.

Nonduduzo Khanyile (formerly Kheswa) was the overall winner taking the Entrepreneur of the Year Award while Bathabile Mpofu shared the winner’s platform as the overall Property Tenant Business of the Year. They each bagged R100 000 towards their business plus R10 000 for charity of their choice.

Khanyile is the co-owner of TKN Incorporated a 100 percent black owned, female led, law firm, based in Morningside. Mpofu is the owner of Nkazimulo Applied Science which manufactures and supplies portable science kits to previously disadvantaged schools. 

External independent adjudicators from the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the EThekwini Municipality Business Support Unit and SA Property Owners Association adjudicated nominees selecting the winners on the basis of their business sustainability, growth, job creation, community development, entrepreneurial flair and innovation.

In the Business Finance division of the Awards four category award winners each received R50 000 plus R5 000 for a charity of their choice.

1. Logistical Services Business of the Year: Mthonjaneni Transport Services
2. Trade and Services Business of the Year: Velenkosini Mtshali of Bonakude Consulting
3. Construction Business of the Year: Sifiso Myeni of Chushisanani Mzansi Trading 
4. Agriculture Business of the Year: Vusumuzi Hlongwa 

In the Properties division of the Awards two special prizes of R30 000 each and R5 000 for a charity of choice were awarded for the community builder of the year and the most innovative business of the year.  A further four category winners each received R50 000 prize money and R5 000 for a charity of their choice. 

1. Special Prize: Community Builder of the Year: Esther Mbatha 
2. Special Prize: Most Innovative Business of the Year: Kogilan Reddy of SEC Electrical. 
3. Ithala SMME Property Tenant of the Year: Kayleen Doidge of Ally’s Automotive Engineers 
4. Ithala Retail Property Tenant of the Year: Marcus Dubazana of Dubazana Consulting trading as Bliss Pharmacy.
5. Ithala Light Industries Property Tenant of the Year: DIY Electronics
6. Ithala Large Industries Property Tenant of the Year: National Braiding Industries 

In the Inkunz’Isematholeni Youth in Business division of the Awards Respo Technology’s Blessing Nzuza and his medical app concept beat two other finalists to take home a R250 000 in business support prize to assist him develop his concept into a sustainable business. 
Respo is a mobile app solution that introduces uber-like technology in the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) sector. 

The product is aimed at reducing the amount of time it takes for an ambulance to reach a patient during medical emergencies. It will also assist the person on site to stabilize the patient until the ambulance arrives.

Now in its fourth year the Youth in Business Competition aims to stimulate a culture of entrepreneurship and problem solving amongst KwaZulu-Natal youth.

Pearl Bengu Ithala Group Chief Executive congratulated all the winners not only for winning but also for the role they play in job creation within their regions of KZN.

Bhengu said, "As a development finance corporation that aims to be a catalyst for economic development and empowerment we initiated the Business Achiever Awards project to recognize and reward existing Ithala clients in their role of developing an entrepreneurial province".