In what is sure to be a boost to women entrepreneurs and the Limpopo’s tourism industry, local businesswoman and founder and owner of Tzaneen Country Lodge, Adri Kruger, walked away with the coveted title of Entrepreneur Of The Year, in the Sanlam/Business Partners Entrepreneur of the year awards held yesterday.
Kruger converted what was once a four-bedroomed guest house into a full services 60 bedroom, country-style hotel situated on a working mango farm just outside Tzaneen.
The hotel currently employs 58 permanent staff members and 10 temporary staff members, and together with maintenance, gardens and farm employees, the business employs a total of 215 staff members.
“Do the job well, and you can stand before kings”
Resilience and adaptability
Kruger, who initially entered because of a ‘gut feeling’, says she is especially proud to be a businesswoman from one of the country’s poorest provinces, and hopes to be an inspiration to other women especially in the tourism sector.
“Tourism is one of the industries where you can start with nothing and manage to build something”.
Kruger, who puts down her success to hard work, says she continues to live by her father’s motto: “Do the job well, and you can stand before kings”.
Last year Kruger walked away with the small business award.
According to Christo Botes, spokesperson for Business Partners, Kruger was awarded the overall title due to the resilience she showed in the current economic climate and her ability to adapt her business model to attract a different market from the ones she typically served.
The year’s finalists were from a very diverse fields ranging pharmaceuticals, communication services .
Women on top
Women took the lead, winning 4 out of the 6 categories including: Marthie Jansen Van Rensburg, who is the founder of Ekurhuleni Artisans and Skills Training Centre, which is based in Kempton Park. She walked away with the Medium Business entrepreneur of the year.
The Job Creator of the Year award went to Theresa J Cupido, CEO and owner of ATN Group, which is in the roadmarking and civil engineering field. The group employs between 250 and 300 individuals, and has grown its employment rate by 100% in the last year.
Dudu Mofokeng, who together with husband Lema, won the Judges prize, which is a special recognition awarded by the judges to an entrepreneur they believe has displayed courage in achieving success in their business. The two are joint owners of Legaci Dry Cleaners and Laundry with branches based in Pretoria and a head office in Silver Lakes.
Other winners from this year’s awards include Johan Eksteen who won in the Small Business Entrepreneur category. Eksteen is the owner of Agricon, a global supplier of pelletizing machinery and equipment as well as agri–processing factories.
Lorimer Gowar, founder of Larrem won the Innovator of the Year award. Larrem specialises in the manufacturing of veterinary nutriceuticals, pharmaceuticals, feed additives and supplements, as well as raw material commodity sourcing.
The competition provides prizes worth R1 340 000, which includes a cash prize of R100 000 for the overall winner and R50 000 for each of the other category winners.
Each winner will also receive mentorship support, networking opportunities as well as media and marketing.