Sanlam. Picture: SUPPLIED
Sanlam. Picture: SUPPLIED

The owner of Africa Biomass Company, Willem van der Merwe, is the winner of the Sanlam entrepreneur of the year competition for 2017.

The annual competition, which is in its 29th year, recognises and honours South African entrepreneurs in the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) sector.

The competition offers winners mentorship support and networking opportunities as well as R160,000 towards the winner’s business.

Spokesperson for the competition Christo Botes said: "Through the establishment of Africa Biomass Company, which specialises in land clearing, wood chipping and wood recycling, Willem [van der Merwe] has not only created a successful business by clearing landowners’ unwanted trees, he has also shaped a new industry in SA by introducing the novel concept of wood recycling."

The competition also boasts five other categories, with winners receiving R60,000 each.

Iyeza Health owners Sizwe Nzima and Siraaj Adams were named emerging entrepreneurs of the year; founder and owner of Zenzele Fitness Group Itumeleng Phake took the small business entrepreneur of the year award.

The founder and owner of Icebolethu Group Nomfundo Mcoyi was named medium business entrepreneur of the year; job creator of the year was given to Siphiwe Ngcobo, owner and founder of iLawu Hospitality Group.

Mpodumo Doubada, founder and owner of Pimp My Book, took home innovator of the year award.

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