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A 33-year-old female entrepreneur who runs her own mobile coffee and health food business was named the overall winner of the Small Business Academy (SBA) awards ceremony hosted by the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) on Tuesday evening.

The awards are held to honour small business owners from low-income areas of greater Cape Town.

During the awards ceremony held at the university’s Bellville campus on Tuesday, Bellville resident Lisa Ndyalivani of WooWfoods, a mobile coffee shop taking hot coffee and healthy food to commuters, students and workers in Bellville, was named the Distell Top Student with the highest mark overall after completing the sponsored SBA programme of the USB.

The nine-month development programme is aimed at empowering small business owners in disadvantaged areas to grow their businesses.

Jacqueline Julie of Mitchells Plain and Vincent Zokufa of Eerste River joined Ndyalivani in the top three small businesses award winners.

Julie, 50, won the ABSA Best Business Plan award for her Xcelent Crunchies & Homebakes which has turned a part-time home-baking setup into a growing formal business that supports her family of eight, while the 37-year-old Zokufa who owns ConnectUs ICT in Eerste River was recognised for his innovative business model providing training and support to disadvantaged schools to use their IT resources more effectively, with the De Beers Business with Most Potential award.

SBA head Dr Marietjie Theron-Wepener said the three winners had in common a drive to succeed and had demonstrated the ability to innovate and adapt their businesses to changing circumstances, “an essential trait of entrepreneurs”, she said.

“What is especially exciting is to see that they, and other participants on the programme, are not just thinking about how to grow their own businesses but also how to share what they have learnt and create opportunities for others to get into business too. This is how small business becomes the economic engine that it should be,” Dr Theron-Wepener said.

– African News Agency (ANA), editing by Lindiz van Zilla