CARPENTER WINS ILEMBE CHAMBER ENTREPRENEUR COMPETITION
A self-employed and self- taught carpenter from Groutville, Siphesihle Gumede – owner of Superior Kitchens - was named Entrepreneur of the Year and walked away with R25 000 in prize money at the final ceremony held at the Umhlali Country Club last week.
The eldest of four children, Siphesihle learnt everything about the trade from his uncle Bheki. When he passed away in 2008 Siphesihle took over the reins of the operation and has not looked back. Today he employs five people on a part time basis and has one other full time employee in addition to himself.
Announcing the winner judge Jane Wiltshire said, “Many things impressed us about Siphesihle – his youth and the fact that this enterprise creates jobs. More importantly though is his clear identification of an underserviced niche of black, middle income home owners in Groutville and his absolute commitment to quality.”
Now in its third year, ‘The Entrepreneur’ competition aims at addressing the problem of unemployment in the country by providing much needed mentorship and guidance to aspiring North Coast small business owners. It is run and organised by the Ilembe Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Tourism.
The competition begins around May when a call goes out for interested parties to apply. A batch of 30 successful candidates is picked to receive training and mentorship to the value of R12 000 each. There after ten finalists are selected for a further intensive four weeks of training. Each is given an additional R3 000 towards marketing their skills - all of which culminates in an exhibition and presentation grand finale.
“I am really excited about the way this competition has grown. Next year we will invite the premier to see what has been achieved,” said Ilembe District Mayor Welcome Mdabe.
Ilembe Chamber chief executive officer Trenley Tilbrook thanked the sponsors African Bank, the Airports Company of South Africa, Enterprise Ilembe, a Dutch engineering company called Royal Haskoning DHV, King Shaka International Airport, the North Coast Courier and the University of KwaZulu-Natal for all their support.
“Part of our recipe for success is the role played by the team of mentors. I want to thank them for all the hard work they have put in and for making this competition a success. And last but not least I want to thank my staff,” said Tilbrook.
In second place was Chantelle Sharples of Etiquette – a small business providing waiter training and quality staff for the catering and hospitality sector. Chantelle won R20 000 in prize money and free advertising.
‘Shoot 4 Change’ business owners Sandi Nzungane and Wise came third, Innocent Zulu owner of ‘Phindomunye Construction’ came fourth and Megan Allan from ‘Brides and Ball gowns’ came fifth.
A special prize was awarded to Craig Heafield for his innovative business ‘Omni Sense’.
“We were not able to award Craig with an official prize as the rules of the competition require that the business actually has some sales. However we felt that this entrepreneur and the idea to turn your water and electricity off using your cell phone or iPad deserved recognition,” said Wiltshire.
Craig was given a special innovation award of R10 000.
“This year will be slightly different from the other years because the top three winners will travel to Gauteng to compete against others from other chambers in the country at a national final in Gauteng. All the travel and accommodation costs have been covered,” said Tilbrook.
The Entrepreneur Final and Exhibition was held at The Umhali Country Club with catering done by ET Voila, huge credit goes to such a stunning venue, excellent service and lovely snacks.
For More photos, comments and note of thanks from the evening please click here to be diverted to the iLembe Chamber Facebook page.