The Tsogo Sun Entrepreneur of the Year 2015 is Nomsa Mazibuko from Visit Vakasha Guest Lodge in Mpumalanga. This was announced at the Awards ceremony at Southern Sun Pretoria on Saturday (9 October) by Tsogo Sun Group CEO Marcel von Aulock.
South Africa’s rate of entrepreneurial activity is very low for a developing nation – a mere quarter of that seen in other sub-Saharan African countries. Meanwhile, unemployment is around 40% of the adult population. This is according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor*, which also states that entrepreneurial activity dropped by a staggering 34% (from 10.6% to 7%) in 2014. Although there has been an increase in women’s entrepreneurship primarily due to government support, the support of entrepreneurial development programmes by private companies is an essential component in reducing unemployment and ensuring sustainable businesses.
As Entrepreneur of the Year, Nomsa is now the Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs ambassador for the next 12 months. She has also won R20 000 from Tsogo Sun and a business bursary valued at R18 000 from Tsheto Leadership Academy.
“Congratulations to Nomsa for being selected as the most outstanding entrepreneur by our judges from among six excellent finalists,” says Marcel von Aulock, Group CEO of Tsogo Sun. “I have no doubt she will do us proud as ambassador for the programme for the next year and we have great confidence that she will continue to succeed in growing her business.”
The other finalists in the Tsogo Sun Entrepreneur of the Year Award were Tracey Naude from Cacey Hotel Management CC in the Western Cape; Lilanie Blignaut from Lilaton Management CC in Gauteng; Jesse Mbewe from JC Cleaning Services in Gauteng; Benita Cyster from Lumley’s Place in the Western Cape; and Lizelle Maurice from Park Place Boutique Guesthouse in the Eastern Cape.
The winner was selected by a rating system based on a set of criteria measured against a scorecard and the judges from Tsogo Sun include Marcel von Aulock, CEO; Vusi Dlamini, Group Human Resources Director; and Laurelle Fick, Corporate Finance Manager.
Tsogo Sun’s far-reaching enterprise and supplier development programme was extended earlier this year to support a range of small, medium and micro enterprises that serve the broader South African tourism industry. The programme includes 100 guesthouse owners, 23 independent operators of Sun1 hotels, 10 individual housekeeping businesses, and 37 suppliers.
Based on the findings of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, many small businesses cite lack of finance and poor profitability as the main reason for shutting up shop. According to Candy Tothill, General Manager: Corporate Affairs, the Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs programme is aimed at ensuring that emerging enterprises are equipped to close this gap: “Our entrepreneurial support and development system has evolved strategically over 10 years, having started in Soweto, developing, mentoring and coaching accommodation establishments that displayed the potential to become sustainable enterprises. Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs is now a comprehensive programme that can be adapted for different business types, providing an over-arching and practical range of offerings that have proven to contribute to growth within emerging businesses.”
Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs incorporates a one-year training course, after which the entrepreneurs are assessed and go on to become alumni, or are given further individualised training according to their level of achievement. Alumni continue to receive benefits and support on the basis of continued adherence to excellence.
“The annual Entrepreneur of the Year Award has had a positive impact on past winners, who have made the most of the opportunities they were given and added impetus to the development of their businesses,” says Tothill.
Tsogo Sun’s portfolio includes over 90 hotels and 14 casino and entertainment destinations throughout South Africa, Africa, the Seychelles and Abu Dhabi. The Group operates in all segments of the hotel market from Deluxe to Budget. For further information, visit tsogosun.com, follow on Twitter @TsogoSun or on Facebook.com/TsogoSun.