These Are The Champions

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Alex Sudheim

23 Nov 2022 Clock 2 min

The 2022 edition of the auspicious South African Small Business Awards hosted by NSBC Africa took place last week in a riveting, fast-paced virtual ceremony. Judging by the startling array of ideas, innovation, passion and determination on display during the event, NSBC Africa is clearly living its mission of helping business owners and entrepreneurs become tomorrow’s business legends.

The Only Way Is Up

NSBC Africa is Africa’s largest organisation representing the small to medium size (SME) sector and is the fastest growing organisation of its kind in the world. The astonishing array of businesses representing just about every market sector in South Africa vying for top honours at the 2022 event certainly gave credence to this fact.

National Entrepreneur Champion Dumi Mahlangu, founder of Chepa Streetwear.

The Entrepreneurial Spirit

Enterprising zeal was on display in copious abundance. From couture to consultancy, IT, healthcare, sports, fundraising, financial services and everything in between, such a profusion of talent, ingenuity, determination, diligence and devotion sped across the screen that it was easy to believe that these are the bright sparks destined to set the world on fire whilst creating jobs and building our nation.

National Startup Co-Winner Velly Bosega, founder of Startwise.

True Grit

Co-winner of the National Startup accolade, Sammy Mhaule of Kicks Sportswear, spoke with the assurance of a seasoned industry veteran. “Being an entrepreneur is like being a soldier going to war,” he said. “It’s all about purpose, meaning and belief. Passion first, money later.” Serious words to live by for those starting out. 

Speaking of which, the other winner of the National Startup award, Velly Bosega founded the company Startwise whose purpose it is to give entrepreneurs “the kind of advice I wish I had when I was starting out,” said Bosega, whose company helps connect entrepreneurs with mentors and investors.

Ayanda More, founder of Apara Global, took home the National Community Upliftment Award.

Seeds of Change

The young, dynamic crew of entrepreneurs who took home top honours represent the future in ways that go beyond their youth. Ayanda More is the founder of Apara Global whose clothing is not only strikingly original but is made entirely out of recycled materials. More earned the National Community Upliftment Award for the incredible outreach work done by both her brand’s impressive Foundation and Academy.

Another designer disrupting clothing industry norms is Dumi Mahlangu, founder of the iconic Chepa Streetwear brand. Embodying the burgeoning trend of clothes not simply being things you wear but a medium through which you express your identity, Mahlangu eschews traditional “fashion” values by channelling the dictum of clothing iconoclast Bobby Hundreds: “Streetwear without culture is just fashion.” 

The striking designs of Apara Global come to life entirely through the use of recycled materials.

Less Virtual, More Reality 

As stimulating as the virtual event was, it goes without saying that interacting with real life human beings in the flesh surpasses staring at one another through a screen. Which is why organisers, delegates, nominees and winners are already looking forward to next year’s gala event which takes place IRL at Montecasino. 

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