The South African Breweries Limited (SAB) announced Antonio Pooe as the ‘Ultimate KickStarter’ in a glittering awards function in Sandton on Monday. Pooe, who hails from Egoli, runs a digital forensic services and fraud risk management business. The young entrepreneur’s business rose to new heights after he won the annual SAB KickStart competition in 2007.
SAB is this year celebrating 15 years of its SAB KickStart initiative, which has established and grown thousands of small businesses owned by South African youth. The initiative provides young entrepreneurs with monetary grants for business start-ups and the expansion of existing businesses, and also focuses on skills development through training and mentoring.
Antonio commented that he will use the prize money to buy equipment which will enable him to develop new offerings to his existing and future clients.
Pooe will benefit from training and mentorship programmes and grants to the value of over R550,000.
First and second runners up were Trevor Müller and brothers Luvuyo and Lonwabo Rani respectively, who will benefit from mentorship programmes and grants to the value of over R375,000. Müller originally participated in the SAB KickStart competition in 2003 and used the grants and business insight that he gained from the experience to develop his company, Imvelaphi Catering. The Rani brothers participated in the 2008 competition and have since built a business supplying computer training, sales and repairs and internet cafes.
Antonio Pooe runs a multi-million rand business called Exactech Fraud Solutions. The company provides digital forensics, fraud prevention and operational risk management services to large corporations and does business in South Africa, Africa, the Middle East, Europe and recently in North America. Antonio started the company as a small one-man business, operating out of his home, but has since grown it to a company with national representation with offices in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. He now employs 24 highly specialised IT experts – 65% of whom are youth.
Trevor Müller also runs a multi-million rand business, called The Indibano Group, which started with humble beginnings. What started as a small catering concern, now includes a chain of delis / cafés in corporate environments, a thriving corporate catering business and one of Cape Town’s trendiest cafés – the latest addition to their group of brands. Müller now employs 140 permanent staff and over 100 part-time waiters per month.
Luvuyo Rani started his business by refurbishing computers and selling them out of his car boot. His brother then came on board and they extended the business to training to new computer users. Before entering SAB KickStart the brothers owned two training centres, they now own six training centres and 10 interest cafes, and employ 51 staff. They are now planning on expanding their business, Silulo Ulutho Technologies, from the Western Cape to the Eastern Cape and Gauteng.
Since its launch in May 1995, SAB KickStart has benefitted more than 22,936 young entrepreneurs through a total investment of R51 million in grant funding by SAB. From this total number of beneficiaries, 3,200 small businesses have been established.
“As one of South Africa’s pre-eminent companies, we at SAB understand our role in leading the way in creating a sustainable future for all. Encouraging entrepreneurship is one way in which we are doing this,” commented SAB director of Corporate Affairs and Transformation, Vincent Maphai.
“For many years we have focused on skills development and using this to offer people a platform which empowers them and improves lives. To celebrate 15 years of our SAB KickStart initiative is an important milestone for us and we are committed to continue to support and mentor young entrepreneurs in the future,” he concluded.
At the event on Monday the winners of the 2009/2010 annual competition were also announced. The winners of the SAB KickStart 2009/2010 competition are:
Mpodumo Doubada - Pimp My Books
Zibu Ndikinda - Zibu Ndikinda Consulting
Piliswa Qamata - Makakheni Isizwe Mining & Construction