Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi

DURBAN - The Entrepreneur of the Year competition sponsored by Sanlam and BUSINESS/PARTNERS is in its 29th year and they are known for attracting and celebrating entrepreneurship excellence. 

After a hard preliminary round, a shortlist of 15 standout participants made it to the finals of the 2017 edition of the competition.

Kobus Engelbrecht, the competition's spokesperson, said that the finalists come from a variety of sectors across South Africa. According to Engelbrecht the bulk of the 2017 participants were from the Western Cape (33%) and Gauteng (53%) but they represent a range of sectors including industries, fashion, funeral and Fiduciary services to fitness.

The competition saw a slight drop in the number of entries but Engelbrecht said that the caliber and level of diversity displayed by the entries this year were outstanding. The panel of judges was extremely impressed with the quality of the entrants and especially pleased about the increasing number of up-and-coming black businesses being represented in this year's finalists.

One such finalist is Nomfundo Mcoyi who founded the Icebolethu Group that was founded in 2009 and has now 43 branches in and around the KwaZulu-Natal region. Being from Hammarsdale it was only natural that she start her business from there. She recognised a need in her community for funeral policies and started her business.

Her main business is funeral policies but she has since branched out expanding her company and is now providing other services catering, tombstones, and flowers. Her company also does financial services such as Life Cover, Parents Funeral Plan, and Disability Cover. She also opened a branch of Icebolethu Funerals in the United Kingdom to supply the needs of South Africans living in the United Kingdom

Ncoyi, a former teacher, said: “I feel honoured to be in the competition and to represent my company and  KwaZulu-Natal and I hope to bring the trophy home”.

In the future, she hopes to create more jobs opportunities through the company to ensure that many South Africans are employed. 

-BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE