From the age of eight I knew what I wanted to do. My family was poor, and I had to work hard to get to where I am,” Delia Cupido told fellow entrepreneurs last week.
Ms Cupido was the keynote speaker at the launch of the Entrepreneur of the Year competition (EOY), which recognises and honours South African entrepreneurs in the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector.
SME entrepreneurs met at the Ntida Wine Farm, in Durbanville last week to learn more about the competition and network with fellow entrepreneurs and industry leaders.
“This competition provides a great platform for businesses. As entrepreneurs you need to promote yourself and your business and take advantage of the opportunities presented to you,” Ms Cupido told them.
The competition, in partnership with Sanlam and Business Partners Limited (BPL), is in its 28th year. It celebrates excellence in entrepreneurship and aims to inspire others to venture into the world of business. Entries officially opened following the launch.
Sanlam head of marketing, Kobus Engelbrecht, said they were proud to be associated with the competition.
“We want to show the youth that entrepreneurship is a lucrative and worthy career path.”
Anton Roelofse, BPL regional general manager, said their client base had grown over the past few years, with SME entrepreneurs making strides in the sector.
“We have contributed R1.4 million to the SME sector, which has helped to retain 10 000 jobs,” Mr Roelofse said.
The competition has five categories: emerging entrepreneur, small business entrepreneur, medium business entrepreneur, job creator of the year and innovator of the year. The overall winner is selected from the emerging, small, or medium categories. There is R425 000 in prize money up for grabs. The overall Entrepreneur of the Year gets R100 000 and an overseas trip to a trade fair.
Ms Cupido has been a client of BPL for several years. She owns and runs a real estate agency and three schools in Kenwyn, Athlone and Sybrand Park. She matriculated at the age of 37 and entered the entrepreneurial sector in 2006.
“I see opportunities where other people may see challenges. Being in a negative space or mindset will not help you but rather hinder you,” she said.
Entrepreneurs have until Thursday June 16 to submit their entries, from which the top 15 will be selected. The overall winner will be announced on Thursday September 1.