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Winners of the Boost Your Biz competition announced

The competition aimed to empower and build aspirant entrepreneurs and suppliers. More than 540 entries countrywide were received.

A total of 60 semifinalists went on an intensive six-week business training programme and were then given an opportunity to present their businesses before a panel of judges.

Suzanne Ackerman-Berman, director of transformation at Pick n Pay said she had no doubt that all participants would contribute to growing the country’s economy by creating jobs and developing further skills. “We were so impressed by the high standard of the entries and entrepreneurs – and are so committed to transforming their ideas into sustainable and viable businesses, that we decided that all 24 finalists would be named as winners in our inaugural Boost your Biz competition,” announced Ackerman-Berman.

Ntombenhe Khathwane, owner of AfroBotanics based in Midrand, is one of the winners in the health, beauty and baby category. Her products use African botanical ingredients to manufacture hair care products for natural African hair.

Inspired by her grandmother, the 38-year-old said her products give women the option to have soft, moisturised hair without having to use damaging chemicals found in hair relaxers and heating tools.

“The experience was amazing. Aside from learning how retail business works and how to make sure my product sells, I have met and become friends with amazing entrepreneurs,” said an excited Khathwane.

“A network of entrepreneurs is necessary.” She said she plans on having her products in at least 100 stores by the end of the year.

Fatima McAllister from Emmarentia was also selected as a winner in the edible grocery category. “The organic business is family-run and is a locally-producing manufacturer who supplies healthy snack products such as our Fudge-it chickpea fudge at affordable prices,” explained McAllister.

“All our products are natural and free from any additives, preservatives, gluten chemicals or trans fats.”

The 44-year-old said the competition boot camp was extremely informative, motivational and helpful.

McAllister is grateful for the opportunity to grow the business and to create more job opportunities for the local community. “We are looking forward to joining the Pick n Pay family and seeing our products on their shelves soon.”

All winning businesses received laptops from Absa and will be guaranteed direct access to Pick n Pay’s retail shelves.

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