The hard work and achievements of the small business community in South Africa was in the spotlight as winners of the 2015 South African Small Business Awards were announced yesterday (5 November).
The awards, hosted by the National Small Business Chamber (NSBC) and sponsored by Adams & Adams, FNB and Vodacom paid tribute to the contribution that small businesses make in creating employment and building communities in various industries throughout the country.
Mike Anderson, founder and CEO of the NSBC, says being recognised as a champion business further validates the award winners’ reputation for quality and also provides opportunities for further growth. “While our economy struggles to reach its full potential, small businesses like the 2015 award winners act as shining examples of how innovation, perseverance and commitment can have a big impact.”
The South African Small Business Awards, now in its seventh year, once again drew thousands of entries. This year also saw the introduction of three special awards: National Exporter Award, National Travel & Tourism Award and the National Innovation Award.
The 2015 National Small Business Champion was awarded to Ariston Global owned by Reginald Pillay, a trusted provider of accounting, tax, HR and advisory services which has grown over eight years to report a growth rate in excess of 250% this financial year. This phenomenal growth has created many new, professional long-term job opportunities for young entrants to the job market.
The National Entrepreneur Champion and inaugural National Exporter Award was awarded to Shooshoos, an exclusive baby show brand owned by Gill Bowen. The company has grown exponentially to become the biggest exclusive baby shoe brand in South Africa and now exports to over 15 countries.
Sonja Smith Funeral Group, owned by Sonja Smith, was awarded the National  Woman in Business Champion. Smith’s passion for being of service to people in times of grief has seen the group go from strength to strength. Her tireless advocacy in tackling legal issues within the industry also saw the company featured in Rapport and on Carte Blanche.
Janine Van Zyl, owner of Cold Gold Artisan Ice Cream, scooped the National Young Entrepreneur Champion Award. With the motto of “perfection is all the little things done well with love”, Cold Gold Artisan Ice Cream creates speciality 100% natural ice cream and sorbet in over 800 flavours.
“Though times can be tough, this year’s winners have proven they can be too,” notes Anderson. “The 2015 winners have shown that through passion, hard work and dedication, success is achievable.”
As one of the fastest growing organisations of its kind the NSBC is dedicated to the success of small business South Africa and aims to help small businesses grow, learn, network, connect, be inspired and have fun.

The full list of winners and runners-up is:

National Small Business Champion of the Year
Winner: Ariston Global – Reginald Pillay
1st Runner up: College Of Production Technology Pty Ltd – Andy Greenwood
2nd Runner up: – Henri Otou

National Entrepreneur Champion of the Year
Winner: Gill Bowen – Shooshoos
1st Runner up: Tyrone Naidoo – BEE Online Pty Ltd
2nd Runner up: Kevin Paxton – Noble Water Solutions Pty Ltd

National Woman in Business Champion of the Year
Winner: Sonja Smith-Janse Van Rensburg – Sonja Smith Funeral Group Pty Ltd
1st Runner up: Tanya Kisten – Khanyisela College
2nd Runner up: Refilwe Marumo – Mighty Comms Pty Ltd

National Young Entrepreneur Champion of the Year
Winner: Janine Van Zyl – Cold Gold Artisan Ice Cream
1st Runner up: Tshepiso Mametja – Amphiguard Brickyard cc
2nd Runner up: Marisa Da Silva – Infanta Foods

Special Awards
• National Travel & Tourism Award – Oembotutravel.Co.Za – Henri Otou
• National Exporter Award – Shooshoos – Gill Bowen
• National Innovation Award – Noble Water Solutions (Pty) Ltd – Kevin Paxton