Winners crowned at glittering awards night

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

It was a sparkling affair at the fifth South African Premier Business Awards where business excellence was honoured at the Sandton Convention Centre on Tuesday night.

Hosted by the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) in partnership with Brand South Africa and Proudly South African, the glittering ceremony, saw around 30 finalists vying for top honours in the awards that have been held since 2013.

Gridbow Engineers and Technical Services clinched the first award of the night having competed with two other companies in the Young Entrepreneur Award.

“I feel honoured, I feel very, very happy, words cannot describe how I’m feeling right now,” said the company’s Chief Executive Officer Leboneng Mathebula.

The electrical and civil infrastructure contracting company was started in 2009.

Speaking of her company’s win, Mathebula said she feels honoured that the hard work she put into the company was recognised.

“I feel motivated, I am so proud. It just goes to show that hard work really does pay off if you have a passion for it and it shines through everything that you do. This motivates me; this is what I wake up for everyday and not just the awards but someone recognising the hard work that we as a team put in,” she said.

Mathebula is among those who were honoured across the ten categories of the awards.

Innovative companies key to SA

In his keynote address, dti Minister Rob Davies said innovative companies are key to South Africa’s transition to the fourth industrial revolution which encompasses technologies that are growing at a rapid rate.

“It means that we have an enormous effort as a country to ensure that we are prepared and ready for this,” said Minister Davies, adding that the World Economic Forum (WEF) this year released a report on the readiness for the fourth industrial revolution.

The report ranked South Africa 45th in a list of countries showing that the country is in a nascent category.

“That’s not the worst place on the list….. we are hardly ready for the fourth industrial revolution. What is clear is that the attributes required to be ready for the revolution are that we need to be encouraging and supporting companies that are going to innovate and constantly seek to raise their competitiveness. Companies that are involved in continuous training and skills development of the people who work for them,” he said.

These he said are the attributes that need to be seen in the local business community.

Minister Davies said the awards aim to recognise companies that meet such criteria.

“We have categories that deal with young entrepreneurs, young people that are showing the kind of talent, ability and willingness to pursue an idea that will be at a premium as the world moves ahead,” said the Minister.

Winner of SMME category

Winner of the SMME category, Memeza Shout (PTY) Ltd, a company that provides vulnerable people and communities access to affordable, smart safety solutions, were also ecstatic about their win.

“We feel that we are being recognised for the work that we are doing for trying to contribute to the safety of women and children. The award gives us the strength to go on and not look back,” said the company’s Chief Executive Officer Thuli Mthethwa.

Minister Davies stressed that the awards are intended to honour people across different categories.

“We have not chosen them as a department, people have nominated potential winners and they’ve gone through an independent process of judging. We want to thank the judges for doing an excellent job,” he said of the 13 member panel of judges.

Other categories in the awards include the exporters, investors and black industrialists’ awards.

Black Industrialists Programme

Since the inception of the Black Industrialists Programme, which was developed to nurture and support black industrialists, the dti has supported a total of 78 black industrialists since its launch about two years ago.

“We launched the programme that includes an incentive provided by the dti to support competitiveness raising by people that are committed. We have accelerated the initial target instead of reaching 100 by the end of March 2019 we decided to accelerate it to reach our target by March of this year. At this point we have supported 78 black industrialists,” said Minister Davies.

“We hope that the award itself and even for the finalists themselves will be something that you will be able to take into the business community and will become something of value when you engage with your customers and others,” said the Minister. -


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