The Tsogo Sun Entrepreneur of 2019 Award was proudly presented to Belinda Francis, owner of Tych Business Solutions on 7 November at a gala banquet, which concluded a two-day conference and exhibition attended by 150 entrepreneurs at Holiday Inn Sandton.
Francis was one of three finalists – all women-owned businesses from various provinces in South Africa who were in the running for the annual award honouring excellence and high potential in emerging enterprises who are registered beneficiaries of Tsogo Sun Hotels’ and Tsogo Sun Gaming’s enterprise and supplier development programme, the Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs. The nationwide programme started in 2005 and currently supports 259 businesses across all industries.
“Our warmest congratulations go to Belinda Francis and her team at Tych Business Solutions on winning this prestigious award. Our judges put the finalists through their paces – and they all shone brightly, each of them being worthy of winning in their own rights. However, the final scores ultimately revealed Tych as our winner for 2019 – and we have every faith that Belinda will excel in her role as ambassador to the programme during the coming twelve months,” Tsogo Sun’s general manager of corporate affairs Candy Tothill said in a statement.
Francis established Tych Business Solutions, a recruitment agency and HR consulting company, in 2009. Today Tych has branches in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape, and employs a team of 17 people. About her business, Francis says: “At Tych Business Solutions we understand that people are a business’s most valuable asset and that the skillsets, talents, and dedication of your employees will determine your company’s success. As such, we specialise in establishing meaningful connections between individuals and companies that serve to the optimal benefit and growth of all parties involved.”
Francis received R100,000 from Tsogo Sun and an executive coaching package valued at R20,000 from the programme’s partner, Tsheto Leadership and Coaching Academy. The two runners-up, Anthea Paulse and Cecilia Cupido owners of Be-Dazzled Party & Décor Hiring in the Western Cape; and Yvonne Manyiki owner of Dimzique Jewellery Enterprise in the Western Cape each received R10,000 from Tsogo Sun in recognition of their placement in this year’s awards.
The three finalist businesses were rigorously assessed by a panel of judges that included leadership from Proudly South African, Smart Procurement, 2020 Insight, the Township Entrepreneurs Alliance, HCI and Tsogo Sun, as well as past Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs award winner, NQ Jewellery.
“Tsogo Sun runs this programme in-house to develop emerging businesses as part of its commitment to transformation, and to create employment to contribute towards the growth of the South African economy,” says Tothill.
“The seriousness with which the entrepreneurs are running their businesses and providing employment for themselves and for others is matched by the sober approach that the programme takes towards their development, and it has been extremely rewarding to see the strides that have been made in their progress over the years.”
Tothill said that the 2019 entries were of a number and calibre unmatched in previous years and commented on the fact that through the stringent shortlisting process, the three finalist businesses were all women owned. “That we have arrived at a time and place where women can competently compete in the business world – and outshine their male counterparts – is testament to the surge of gender equality rising in our nation.”
Tsogo Sun delivers the entrepreneurs programme with the support of several strategic partners, including Proudly South African.
Says Happy Ngidi, CMO of Proudly South African, “The Tsogo Sun Entrepreneurs programme is perfectly aligned with the work of the Proudly South African buy local campaign. In a country where only 37% of SMMEs make it to their 4th year in business and between 70-80% never even survive to celebrate one year in business, Tsogo Sun’s Entrepreneur Programme is critical in enabling these selected businesses to become more sustainable and have longevity in the marketplace. Entrepreneurs are the job creators of tomorrow, and with the nurturing, mentoring and exposure to new markets which these entrepreneurs are given by Tsogo Sun, they are turning their dreams into reality and into commercially viable enterprises.”