Hard work and perseverance have proven to be among the top ingredients of success to winners of the sixth Premier Business Awards.
Held last night at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, the annual awards paid homage to the cream of the crop of the South African business fraternity.
"We are very excited by this award. We were not expecting it because when you're working, you always put in work without necessarily expecting accolades like this," said co-owner of Afro-Zonke Projects and Investments, Thokozani Mabuya, on Wednesday.
The Durban based company took home the Black Industrialist Award. The company develops, manufactures and supplies chemical solutions to the manufacturing and engineering sector, retail and households.
The programme aims to unlock the potential within black industrialists operating in the South African economy through deliberate, targeted and well-defined financial and non-financial interventions.
Earlier at the glittering event hosted by the Department of Trade and Industry (dti), in partnership with Proudly South African and Brand South Africa, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies spoke of the importance of supporting entrepreneurs.
"That's the reason we launched the black industrialist programme. We have scoured the length and breadth of the country and identified 131 quality industrialists, who are real contributors to our economy," said Davies.
Meanwhile founder of fashionable sneaker brand Bathu, Theo Baloyi, took home the Young Entrepreneur award of the night.
Having started his business from his home in Alexandra a little over three years ago, Baloyi delivers the brand across the county. He is also now expanding to open shops in provinces like the Eastern Cape.
"When I started, it was just a dream and I persisted and I kept on pushing. Whatever dream you have, just believe that it is possible and never give up because this can be a big thing and have a big impact on people's lives," said Baloyi.
Davies said South Africa in general needs to up its game in recognising the role played by entrepreneurs.
"We need to up our game in recognising excellence and recognising the achievements of people who played by the rules, who have acted in the economy in the ways that we need people to act, people who have taken the decision to invest in our country, grow the economy and create jobs," he said.
The awards, which have been held since 2013, coincide with the celebration of South Africa's 25 years of democracy.
"... We will in due course be assessing what we've achieved and what we need to achieve in terms of the transformation of our society that we need to bring about. We need to also recognise very much that we need to be transforming our economy and changing the demographics of our economy to be more reflective of the country as a whole," said the Minister.
Local is still lekker
One of the ways that the country can transform the economy is though localisation and designation of local products.
"We need to take actual decisions to buy products that are manufactured and produced in our own country. The message is well known but it bears repeating: if we buy products that are produced in our own country, we support jobs in our own country. If we want to create more jobs in our own country, we should be buying more products in our own country," he said.
When coming to designation, the dti is responsible for indicating certain products will be procured from locally produced sources.
Meanwhile, as the country commemorates 25 years of democracy, the Minister reflected on improvements made in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) into South Africa.
The United Nations Conference of Trade and Development (UNCTAD) report has shown that while 2018 was a tough year for FDI, South Africa managed to improve its investment landscape.
"There has been a reduction of about US$ 200 billion FDI worldwide and there has also been a significant reduction in green fields investment worldwide. But in the case of South Africa, the same source indicated that the total FDI flow into South Africa went up from just over R1 billion in the previous year to over R7 billion in 2018," he said.
The country, Davies said, was starting to turn the corner, something which could be celebrated and commemorated.
Moves by government to create investor confidence included that of the finalisation of the Mining Charter and the signing of renewal energy power purchasing agreements among others.