Frost & Sullivan believes that sub-Saharan Africa holds great promise for businesses and will honour South African entrepreneurs who have contributed to setting up the region as a new frontier for growth.
Wendy Luhabe, Mark Shuttleworth and Dr Richard Maponya will be recognised for driving new and innovative approaches as renowned leaders from within their respective industries at this year’s GIL 2011: Africa – Growth, Innovation and Leadership Congress.
“Each year, only a handful are among those considered for Frost & Sullivan’s annual Growth, Innovation and Leadership (GIL) Award, which is bestowed upon individuals who over the course of their careers have raised the bar and excelled in areas of accelerative growth, inspiring innovation or leading from the front,” says Frost & Sullivan’s vice-president for growth, innovation & leadership Brian Denker.
“Ms Luhabe, Mr Shuttleworth and Dr Maponya are certainly an inspiration for us all. Each of  them has devoted their focus and attention to making a difference and has had a significant impact in their field.”
Wendy Luhabe is one of South Africa’s most influential businesswomen. She is the founder of human resources enterprise Bridging the Gap and the Wendy Luhabe Foundation, which funds the education of disadvantaged women.
“Ms Luhabe has played and continues to play an important role in promoting the participation of women in the South African economy,” Denker says. “She has also proven to be an example of her own assertions that this country needs leaders with a human face.”
Mark Shuttleworth, IT entrepreneur and founder of Thawte, a security company bought by VeriSign in 1999 is the second of this year’s GIL 2011 award recipients. Among his many endeavours and accomplishments, he founded venture capital company HBD, developed the free Linux-based operating system Ubuntu, and created the The Shuttleworth Foundation, which provides necessary support and funding for innovators with a vision for making a change in society.
“For more than a decade and a half, Mr Shuttleworth has been viewed as one of South Africa’s brightest innovators,” Denker says. “From Thawte to the Ubuntu Project, he has not only realised the potential of technology, but delivered on his visions.”
Frost & Sullivan’s third GIL 2011 Award will be bestowed upon Dr Richard Maponya. In 1952 Dr Maponya opened Soweto’s first dairy products shop. Fifty-five years later, he set up a 50-50 joint venture to build Soweto’s first shopping mall. Widely regarded as the father of black retail in South Africa, Dr Maponya defied the apartheid state by establishing a string of successful businesses from motor dealerships to bus services. The Maponya Mall, which opened its doors in 2007, is one of the biggest malls in South Africa.
“Dr Maponya overcame great social and political adversity to become the successful businessman and leader he is today,” says Denker. “His firm belief in job creation and his determination to succeed against all odds inspires many and makes him a true South African business icon.”
The three will all deliver keynote addresses at GIL 2011: Africa taking place in Cape Town on 25 August.