Press release

18 Mar 2021 Johannesburg, ZA

Unstoppable entrepreneurs take the lead.

EY World Entrepreneur Award™ Southern Africa: Finalist Announcement

JOHANNESBURG, 18 MARCH 2021 – Eleven (11) of Southern Africa’s leading entrepreneurs will take centre stage to compete in the EY World Entrepreneur Award™ Southern Africa  on 26 March 2021.

Finalists are selected from amongst entrepreneurs who have demonstrated excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as entrepreneurial spirit, value creation, strategic direction, impact, innovation and purpose-driven leadership. They include traditional entrepreneurs who are founders and leaders of high-growth companies. They also are transformational people who may not have started their company but have been essential to its success.

Largely unconstrained by the mechanisms and processes of corporate entities, entrepreneurs go-to-market capability and ability to scale innovative ideas is far quicker than their corporate counterparts. This year’s finalist group have built businesses across all sectors offering innovation and exceptional acumen and leadership on the topics of organisational culture, fisheries, cold chain and logistics, technology and ICT, retail and e-commerce, insurance and insurance underwriting, venture capital and investment.


The EY World Entrepreneur Award™ finalists and judges

The EY World Entrepreneur Award™ is judged by an independent judging panel made up of EY World Entrepreneur Award™ alumni, entrepreneurs, and key influencers from the business community. The finalists are assessed according to Entrepreneurial Spirit, Innovation, National & Global Impact, Strategic .

Direction and Value Creation across 3 categories namely Influence, Ignite and Inspire.

The ‘Influence’ category winner will join finalists from over 60 countries to compete for the title of 2021 EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year™ award in June this year.  

Azim Omar, EY Private Leader – EY Africa and Programme Leader says: “These entrepreneurs demonstrate extraordinary business acumen, leadership excellence and the desire to uplift and serve. It’s these qualities and sheer determination that drives their success evidenced in the businesses they’ve built, own and run.”

The Class of 2020 - Finalists

  • Imraan Soomra, CEO, Oceana Group Limited
  •  Mteto Nyati, Group Chief Executive, Altron
  • Pierre Spies, CEO, Alviva Holdings Limited
  • Andre Zietsman, CEO and Founder of Bitumen World (Pvt) Ltd
  • Antonio Iozzo, CEO and Founder, Insurance Underwriting Managers (Pty) Ltd (IUM)
  • Stuart Knight, CEO, Halsted Builders Express
  •  Abubaker (Abu) Varachhia, Chairman and Founder, Spear Reit Limited
  • Isaac (Ike) Chalumbira, CEO and Founder, Lionshare Holdings
  • Lester Jones, Group CEO, AMP Group
  • Lynnette Magasa, CEO and Founder, Boniswa Corporate Solutions
  • Nick Bell, CEO, Decision Inc

2020 Judges

  • Sipho Nkosi, Talent10
  • Peter Mountford, Super Group
  • Divine Ndhlukula, Securico
  • Margaret Hirsch, Hirsch’s
  • Simphiwe Mehlomakulu, Reatile
  • Craig Irvine, Irvine's Africa
  • Debbie Merdjan, Camelot Group 
  • Christi Maherry, Vault3ch
  • Matsi Modise, SiMODiSA
  • Gerinda Engelbrecht, SAICA

Looking ahead

The EY World Entrepreneur Award™ Southern Africa will, for its 2021 ‘call for nominations’, challenge the Awards alumni and judges, as well as the public and private enterprise, to actively nominate female owned and led businesses in order to broaden its nomination base for the Awards going forward. This is a necessary move to ensure the equitable representation of women from Southern Africa to the global EY entrepreneur awards programme in which the minimum entry point is 5-million USD.

The World Entrepreneur Awards is the Southern Africa arm of the global programme that EY runs in over 60 countries, aiming to radically scale growing businesses across the world. Winners are provided with access to the consulting, strategy and assurance solutions required to do just this.

Currently, there are two primary streams for the Awards programme – the public nomination process and EY’s own, annual Entrepreneurial Winning Women’s (EWW) leadership programme. EWW serves as an incubator of women-owned and led businesses, and its alumni have moved from the programme into the World Entrepreneur Award Emerging (Influence) category over the past few years. Christi Maherry, who is a judge to this year’s awards is one such alumni, as is Lynnette Magasa, CEO and Founder, Boniswa Corporate Solutions who is a category nominee for this year’s awards. Candice Roberts, also an EWW alumni won her Emerging category in 2018.

EY challenges all of Southern Africa to identify and nominate female entrepreneurs for the 2021 awards which will open for nomination in the coming months. 

Notes to Editors

About EY

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This news release has been issued by Ernst & Young Services (Pty) Limited, a member of the global EY organization


Samantha Crous

Digital, Media, PR and Communications Lead

Brand, Marketing and Communications 

+27 (0) 82 493 6335