EY World Entrepreneur Award banner

Emerging Category Finalists

  • Share

EY is pleased to recognise the achievements of this year's Emerging category finalists:

Jason Xenopoulos Jason Xenopoulos - Native

Jason Xenopoulos is the Chief Executive Officer of Native, which is South Africa’s newest full service digital agency. He studied film in New York and came back to SA in the nineties with the intention of making films.

The internet was just starting and so he saw a gap to start a marketing business and joined a company called VWV studios.

They sold a share of their company to Prime Media and he left to join Prime Media. Jason then became the CEO of Primedia Entertainment as well as Metropolis Transactive, the listed entity that held iafrica.com in the late 90’s.

Native was Jason’s initiative and he is now the CEO of the merged entity. 


Rov Stokes Rob Stokes - Quirk

Rob Stokes is the Founder and CEO of Quirk, Africa’s largest full service online marketing agency established in 1999 and now South Africa’s 4th biggest advertising agency according to AdReview.

It has achieved incredible growth, doubling revenue year on year for the last three years and at one stage, adding a new member of staff every three days in 2011.

He is also the owner and founder of a number of technology and software businesses, including Quirk, Brands Eye and Idea Bounty. Furthermore, Rob was the first Chairman of the Silicon Cape Initiative, an organisation created to promote technology entrepreneurship in the Western Cape. 

In 2012 he was also accepted into the Young President’s Organisation (YPO) a well-regarded, global network of Chief Executives.


Yuppie Chef 

Paul Galatis, Shane Dryden & Andrew Smith - Yuppiechef 

Paul Galatis, Shane Dryden and Andrew Smith are directors and partners at Yuppiechef.com. Yuppiechef.com is a online retailer of the world’s best kitchen tools and speciality food items. They have won the best E-commerce site in South Africa in 2010, 2011 & 2012. They sell more than 5,500 unique products from over 100 of the world’s leading kitchen and food brands and offer unique delivery on all orders throughout South Africa. Yuppie Chef attributes much of their growth and success to an impeccably curated range of goods and exceptional company culture, brilliant systems, a healthy dose of luck and a deep obsession for customer service.

Vejan Pillay Vejandran Pillay - Misty Blue Investments

Vejandran Pillay launched his property development business in 2003 with the development of The Grand Floridian, a luxury, upmarket development of 50 units in La Lucia. Misty Blue Investments then developed a series of residential and commercial buildings including Millennium Towers, Aldrovande Palace, The Square, The Square Boutique Hotel, Urban Park, Urban Park Hotel and is currently developing Central Park.

Vejandran’s other core business is hospitality and includes two hotels, The Square Boutique Hotel and Urban Park Hotel, both of which are managed by the 3 Cities Group. The Misty Blue group also trades as The Cosmopolitan Restaurant at both the hotels, operates 5 conferencing venues, two spas and a Vida-e cafe.

Misty Blue has also recently acquired a 5 star Guest Lodge and future plans include the conversion of some commercial and office space to a 50 room hotel in the Gateway precinct.