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Shining small business stars get Seda awards

Samona Murugan


There were more award-winning stars than usual this year when the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) announced the winners in the 2012 Seda Small Business Stars National Business Plan Competition.
The winners wowed the panel of judges with their deserving entries, which made them stand out among more than 5 500 entries.
Owing to the quality of entries this year, Seda announced an additional four special category awards at the glittering prize- giving ceremony in Johannesburg recently. These were the best woman entrepreneur, best youth entrepreneur, best job-creating entrepreneur and best entrepreneur with a disability.

National winner: Adesh Naidoo, Clean Street
Passionate about the planet, Adesh Naidoo from KwaZulu-Natal scooped first prize for his creative initiative called Clean Street. He plans to take his concept – a special green- friendly litter bin that provides advertising revenue for the city, to every municipality in South Africa. His drive and business acumen to launch this product in the highly competitive media sector, secured him the judges’ highest score.
He walked away with a business support plan worth R60 000 from Seda, a cash prize of R50 000 and a laptop.

First runner-up: Palesa Moeketsi, Chesa Communications
Hailing from the Western Cape, Palesa’s media company has pioneered the concept of simultaneous syndicated programming to a network of small community radio stations, thus opening up a whole new marketing channel to advertisers.
She received R10 000 in cash and a share of R240 000 business support from Seda.

Second runner-up: Bokao Theka, Canvas Products
Bokao used canvas to create a range of high- quality products, ranging from laptop bags to lapas. Her unique business idea not only has great national potential, but shows great entrepreneurship skills. Bokao, who started her working life as a cleaner, received R10 000 cash and a share of R240 000 in business support from Seda.

Third runner-up: Lizelle Beukes, Arrero Premium Car Fragrance
Gauteng-born Lizelle has developed car- freshening fragrances based on designer aromas and not the typical fruity smells currently available. The product shows great potential to take off, as people hold on to their cars for longer in a recession, and spend more time looking after them.
She scooped R10 000 cash and a share of R240 000 in business support from Seda.

Special awards: Most promising woman entrepreneur: Tabisa Nomnganga, Western Cape
Bravo Promotions does what it says – make consumer brands come alive in communities through dance, theatre and performances. Despite being confined to a wheelchair, Tabisa created more than 20 jobs for dancers, performers and young promoters. According to Tabisa, companies and even friends were skeptical about her chances of succeeding. “They looked at my disability rather than my ability. I do not let my disability define who I am.” Many people in similar positions now look up to her for inspiration.
She was also voted the most promising entrepreneur with a disability and received a cash prize of R15 000.

Most promising youth entrepreneur: Thula Sindi, Gauteng
Thula created an affordable, contemporary clothing brand aimed primarily at sup- plying stylish career-wear. In five  years he has managed to build a trusted fashion brand, which employs six women full-time and about 20 others by outsourcing to their co-operative. His brand has attracted the attention of South Africa’s largest retailer Edgars and is now available in selected stores in South Africa’s major cities. He received a cash prize of R15 000.

Most promising job-creating entrepreneur: Martin Brown, Gauteng
Radical Holdings is one of the leading manufacturers of custom-built powered wheelchairs in Africa. Martin Brown, founder and CEO is a quadriplegic who has been confined to a wheelchair since 1998.  His frustration with trying to find an electric wheelchair that catered for his needs led directly to the formation of Radical Holdings. Martin has created more than 20 manufacturing jobs directly and indirectly, and his growing international order book is likely to push that number up. Not only has he created jobs, but he personally mentors and motivates his employees to excel.
He also received the award for most promising entrepreneur with a disability and a cash prize of R15 000.

Most promising entrepreneur with a disability: Obed Segooa, Gauteng
Cycle Check Trading produces working clothes and school uniforms and has created more than 20 jobs. Obed started the business knowing that it was going to be very tough competing with established clothing businesses, but he made it through sheer determination and business acumen. Eight local schools support the business and Obed has contracts from the Gauteng Department of Health and Social Development, the national Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the North West Department of Roads and Transport, as well as North West Parks and Tourism and the Ga-Rankuwa Hotel School.

For more information, call the Seda National Information Centre: 0860 103 703, or send an e-mail to info@seda.org.za.