Tech firms in running for entrepreneur win

Finalists for the 2015 Sanlam/Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year competition have been announced. Four of the 15 finalists are active in the telecoms and technology sectors.

According to Christo Botes, spokesperson for the competition, over 120 entries were received this year from a variety of sectors, and mostly from Gauteng and the Western Cape.

"The judges were seriously impressed by the quality of entries received this year, which have set a precedent in terms of entrepreneurial talent and success in South Africa."

The four finalists in the telecoms and tech sectors are:

Alex Fourie: iFix Repair Specialists
Fourie started the business in a Stellenbosch University dorm room eight years ago. The out-of-warranty mobile repair company now employs over 150 staff members in 13 stores all over the country.

Nadir and Ahmed Khamissa: HelloGroup
The Hello Group is an integrated consumer and business service for migrant and marginalised communities. Nadir Khamissa conceptualised the business while taking a sabbatical in 2005 when he realised that although contacting his family from London was relatively affordable, it was significantly more expensive for his family to contact him from SA. He then realised the need for discounted international calls and competitive local tariffs.

Michael Roberts: FT Consulting
The company specialises in empowering graduates and companies throughout the African continent by equipping them with the necessary skills and knowledge to understand markets and the technology that underpins the financial technology market.

Nisha Maharaj: Niche Integrated Solutions
Maharaj established the company after noticing a number of globally-established technologies, such as advanced customer management and lending solutions, did not exist in SA. The company now provides specialised software solutions to the banking and financial services industry, among others.

The full list of finalists:

Alex Fourie: iFix
Lee Grant: Brandserve Group
Lewis Thomas: Partners Hair Design
Nadir and Ahmed Khamissa: HelloGroup
Gil Oved and Ran Neu-Ner: The Creative Counsel
Shaun and Pam Ledlie: Kershal Aviation Training Centre
Ruan Oosthuizen: Flume Communication
Charles Du Plessis: C3 Technologies
Jean Nico Jacque De Villiers: AdMaths
Bryan Anderson: Delta Steam Systems
Orianda Ntsompo: Orizoe Services
Michael Roberts: FT Consulting
Nisha Maharaj: Niche Integrated Solutions
Kim Whitaker: Once in Cape Town
Ncamisile Maphumulo: Coastal Nephrology Centre

The overall winners will be announced on 2 September at an awards breakfast in Johannesburg. Finalists stand the chance to win prizes worth R2 million, which includes cash prizes to the value of R350 000.