Young entrepreneurs are being recognised by the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber for their vital role in growing the economy of South Africa.
Through its unique Top 40 Under 40 initiative, the chamber last month honoured young business owners who have made their mark in the region.
Not only are 40 young businessmen and women – mostly small business owners – recognised for their contribution to the Eastern Cape economy, but they are also given access to exclusive networking opportunities and other platforms that can help them grow their businesses.
Convener Nicole Klokow says the Top 40 Under 40 achievers, selected by a high-caliber panel of judges representing a broad spectrum of business, represent the future of business in the region.
“Young entrepreneurs have a critical role to play in the global economy, and they have the potential to help grow a vibrant economy in Nelson Mandela Bay,” Klokow says.
She adds that, since the launch of the inaugural achievers list, the chamber has built a strong network for these young entrepreneurs.
“The Top 40 Under 40 network has boosted achievers’ business connections, and has drawn them closer to the chamber’s work,” she says.
Achiever Simon le Gras, owner of SimonSAYS Design and Advertising, says being recognised for one’s efforts helps create an attitude shift.
“It motivates you to go and do better,” he says.
“As a small business owner, being nominated for this prestigious list has been extremely beneficial,” says Sarah Dirsuwei, the co-owner of the Port Elizabeth function venues The Plantation and Boma.
“In the service industry, reputation is everything. We sell an emotive experience, and being on the Top 40 Under 40 achievers list has helped give our company credibility and has raised its profile. It has also brought exciting and beneficial networking.”
Gareth Burley, the owner of GB Synergy, says the opportunity has placed him in many significant areas of influence in the city where he can contribute and share his opinion and values.
“It has grown my confidence tremendously to dream big and pursue larger clients and business. It has also opened the door for my business to grow and to try new things,” he says.
According to Kevin Hustler, the chamber’s chief executive, Nelson Mandela Bay has produced some remarkable leaders in business, government and civil society.
“The key to our continued and future success lies not only in attracting high-caliber individuals to our shores, but in keeping them here. It lies in growing our own talent, and developing young people through nurturing, supporting and recognising their contributions,” Hustler says.
The chamber, which was initially established as the Port Elizabeth Chamber of Commerce and Industry, is the largest business association in the Eastern Cape with more than 850 members.
It aims to provide business owners with support to enable economic growth in Nelson Mandela Bay.
- For a full list of 2014’s Top 40 under 40 achievers, go to www.nmbbusinesschamber.co.za