With R1,3-million worth of prizes at stake, black-owned SMEs slugged it out in the 2018 Eskom Business Investment Competition (BIC) for top honours in three categories; manufacturing; trade and services; as engineering and construction.
The BIC, which is now in its 10th year, is an initiative of the Eskom Development Foundation aimed at recognising and rewarding small businesses that are contributing towards building the economy by creating jobs and fighting poverty.
This year’s overall winner of the competition is Prodeliver Group, which took a prize of R300 000. The company, which is based in Rivonia, Sandton, provides logistics and mining services including transportation of commodities and palletised materials.
Prodeliver was started in 2014 by Nyadzeni Makhado, who used to work in gold mines before going into business.
On his way to and from work, Makhado used to travel behind the trucks transporting materials from mines to gold plants. He had always wanted something that could make him passive income and he thought that was it. He and his partners bought a truck as a start, but while running the business they soon discovered that doing it part time was difficult as they would be underground most of the time and out of reach for their clients. They decided to quit their jobs and focus on their business on a full time basis.
Six employees and four trucks later, the business is still growing and is targeting even more expansion. The partners want to open their own depot and to ultimately have three depots in the country as well as their own warehouse. They would also like to explore drone transportation in future.
Makhado comments: “The level of competition was tough and I thought maybe if I’m lucky I’d win my category or be a runner-up, I just didn’t expect to be the overall winner of such a big competition. The prize money will be reinvested back into the business. We’ll use some of it for operational costs as we work on scaling and growing.”
Chose Choeu, chairman of the Eskom Development Foundation, says the BIC is one of the foundation’s leading enterprise development initiatives.
“This year is particularly special as the BIC celebrates its tenth anniversary. It has been 10 solid years of contributing to economic development by propelling small businesses to higher levels of operation. This is a huge milestone and a sign that we are doing something right.”
As part of their prizes, all BIC finalists will exhibit their businesses at the Small Business Expo (SBE) from 6 to 8 September 2018 at the Ticketpro Dome in Northriding.
The full list of winners is:
* Winner – Emilio’s Gourmet Foods (Johannesburg, Gauteng)
* First runner-up – Maiktronix (Kuruman, Northern Cape)
* Second runner-up – Sew Happy Primary Corporation (George, Western Cape)
Trade and Services
* Winner – Southside Plumbing and Construction (Eldorado Park, Gauteng)
* First runner-up – Machine and Mfusi (Klerksdorp, North West)
* Second runner-up – ATA Consulting (Ethekwini, KwaZulu-Natal)
Engineering and Construction
* Winner – Blessing.Connect (Boksburg, Gauteng)
* Runner-up – Phakama Services Group (Johannesburg, Gauteng)
Category winners scooped R125 000 each, first runners-up got R75 000 each and second runners-up each received R50 000.