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Hezron Louw claims Tsogo Sun Entrepreneur of the Year title

BIZCOMMUNITY / 27 OCTOBER 2017 - 17.00 / STAFF REPORTER

Hezron Louw, owner of Sumting Fresh restaurant and gourmet street food in Gauteng, was presented with the 2017 Tsogo Sun Entrepreneur of the Year Award at Tsogo Sun's hotel in the Jacaranda city, Southern Sun Pretoria.

Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs has been enabling entrepreneurial growth, striving for transformation to a more empowered society, encouraging small business successes, and practical support through a 12-month development programme.

Hezron Louw

Entrepreneur programme inspiration “Our Entrepreneur of the Year Award winners are ambassadors for the programme for the year following their win, and an inspiration to other entrepreneurs. Congratulations to Hezron, who is very much a deserving winner. We have every confidence that he will prove to be an excellent role model for small businesses and emerging entrepreneurs in the coming year,” says Candy Tothill, Tsogo Sun’s GM of corporate affairs. Prizes for the winner include R50, 000 from Tsogo Sun and a bursary valued at R30, 000 from Tsheto Leadership Academy. Sumting Fresh will also be featured for one month on E.tv and eNCA’s Enterprise Development initiative, Forerunners, which focuses on showcasing small South African businesses and the entrepreneurs behind them.

Participation in the Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs programme is open to all South African businesses with an annual turnover of less than R50m. The three channels through which businesses can join the programme are Tsogo Sun’s national Supplier Showcases, the HCI Supplier Club; and the Department of Tourism and tourism agencies who nominate businesses for evaluation by the entrepreneurs’ programme.

Developing leadership skills At the start of the 12-month programme, the entrepreneurs are each allocated a business mentor and a leadership coach to analyse their businesses and professional performance and then to create a roadmap to help them close gaps in their businesses and develop as leaders to run their businesses effectively. Contact sessions and business foundation skills training workshops are provided locally through the programme to the entrepreneurs in the provinces where they are situated. Tsogo Sun delivers the entrepreneurs programme with the support of several strategic partners, which include Carlson Wagonlit Travel, a programme partner for eight years; Colour Accounting, which provides financial management, marketing, sales and other business training; and Queen Ramotsehoa, whose company, Tsheto Leadership Academy, provides coaching and self-mastery services for personal and enterprise development. A recent partner in the programme is Proudly South African. “The Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs programme is perfectly aligned with the work of the Proudly South African buy local campaign. In a job market that by 2030 will see 90% of our workforce employed by entrepreneurs, it is critical that we nurture and assist today’s SMMEs to be the success stories of tomorrow. In addition to the mentoring and nurturing offered to entrants into the programme, Tsogo Sun is providing access to the market to these suppliers and making its own local procurement decisions, demonstrating its true commitment to economic growth and job creation in this country. We have been privileged to be exposed to and be part of the programme,” says Eustace Mashimbye, CEO of Proudly South African.

Economic growth and development

Tothill says that the programme also gives successful entrepreneurs who have overcome odds against them opportunities to share their growth and development stories. “Entrepreneurs who have persevered and worked very hard impact others who face challenges experienced by small businesses, such as limited capital, bureaucracy, and difficulty identifying and accessing markets.” The Tsogo Sun Entrepreneur of the Year Award banquet forms part of a three-day conference that includes an intensive business workshop and Supplier Showcase and concludes the entrepreneurs’ year-long programme. “Successful entrepreneurship is imperative for the growth of our economy and job creation, particularly with the high rate of unemployment in South Africa. The Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs programme showcases the good work being done by the entrepreneurs, it assists participants with skills development and exposure to the markets that Tsogo Sun serves, it helps them build self-confidence, and it encourages their success in the business world,” says Tothill.

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