In the fight for equality, two ingredients are key; the involvement of large businesses, and the recognition of those who are struggling against a white-dominated society to take those steps towards equality themselves. That’s why we think that Eskom’s recent Business Investment Competition Awards, where black-owned small and medium enterprises were honoured, is a great step in the right direction. The Eskom Development Foundation is an example of how large businesses in South Africa can really help in the struggle for economic emancipation. The awards this year saw over 100 registered companies compete as finalists for investment in their business. As the Eskom board chairperson rightly said, “Small businesses play an immensely important role in unlocking doors to economic opportunities and inclusive growth”, and thus we should recognise the difference that small black-owned businesses make to the South African economy.
Pretoria — Eskom honoured black-owned small and medium enterprises at its Business Investment Competition Awards on Wednesday.
With R1.3 million worth of prizes at stake, over 100 registered companies competed as finalists in four categories namely manufacturing, trade and services, agriculture and agro-processing as well as construction and engineering.
The annual competition, which started in 2007, is run by the Eskom Development Foundation and is aimed at recognising and rewarding small businesses that are significantly contributing to the fight against unemployment and poverty and growing the economy.
The overall winner in this year’s competition is Nomcebo Printers from Lydenburg, Mpumalanga. The company took the competition’s biggest prize of R150 000 to invest in the business.
Nomcebo Printers is a production company that includes graphic design, printing, heat press and manufacturing of branded log and invoice books in its service portfolio.
Qualified microbiologist Nomcebo Sibanyoni’s frequent encounters with small businesses inspired her and her husband to trade in their fixed-income jobs for the tough but rewarding world of entrepreneurship.
From their early days of focusing on small business customers, Nomcebo Printers has grown significantly and has secured contracts with Motolo Mine, Dwarsrivier Mine and Samancor mines.
To date, the company employs 20 people and they are looking to create more opportunities.
“I know the calibre of the competition I had and I didn’t expect to win at all. It’s such a great honour to win this competition. Taking part in it gave me a chance to reflect on my business and my journey thus far and I can only be proud of my achievements,” said Sibanyoni.
The winners in the four categories were:
– Winner – Metal Products (Durban, KwaZulu-Natal)
– First runner-up – National Manhole Covers (Cape Town, Western Cape)
– Second runner-up – LBN Hygiene Solutions (Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape)
Trade and Services
– Winner – The Golden Goose Catering and Cake Décor (Welkom, Free State)
– First runner-up – Second Office (East London, Eastern Cape)
– Second runner-up – Blast 24/7 (Cape Town, Western Cape)
Construction and Engineering
– Winner – Lamo Solar (Randburg, Gauteng)
– First runner-up – LAN Telecoms (Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape)
– Second runner-up – Oakantswe Construction and Projects (Tshwane, Gauteng)
Agriculture and Agro-processing
– Winner – SMkhize & Associates (Brakpan, Gauteng)
– First runner-up – Thathel Agriculture (Tweeling, Free State)
– Second runner-up – Vhumatshelo Crop Farming (Makhado, Limpopo)
Category winners scooped R100 000, first runners-up R50 000 each, while second runners-up receive R25 000. All other finalists receive R5 000 to invest in their businesses.
As part of their prizes, all finalists in the completion will exhibit their businesses at the Small Business Expo (SBE) running from 8 to 10 September at the Ticketpro Dome in Northriding, alongside the Buy a Business Expo.
Eskom board chairperson Baldwin Ngubane said small businesses contribute directly to the employment in the country.
“Small businesses play an immensely important role in unlocking doors to economic opportunities and inclusive growth. We remain committed to playing our part in this field by acknowledging the difference that small black-owned businesses make in our economy,” he said.