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Renaissance in line for award

Staff Writer

RENAISSANCE Merchant Bank (Zimbabwe), headed by Patterson Timba, has been nominated as one of the finalists for the prestigious annual African SMME awards.

erdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>The award is meant to recognise the contribution of individuals and companies contribution towards growing the small, medium and macro enterprise sector in Africa.

Renaissance is one of the two African financial houses that made it to the finals. It is also the only Zimbabwean bank to reach the finals.

The finalists for the annual Africa SMME Awards were announced in Cape Town recently.

The awards event, which is organised by the Africa Centre for Investment Analysis at the University of Stellenbosch Business School, will take place on October 21 in Cape Town.

Not only were a record number of entries received for this competition, but entries from outside South Africa more than doubled – with barely half of the total number of entries coming from SA. In 2003, about 60% of the SMME finalists were from South Africa; while this year, with outstanding entries from the rest of the continent, this figure has dropped to 35%.

Project manager of the initiative, Jako Volschenk of Africa Centre of Investment Analysis at the University of Stellenbosch Business School, said the finalists for this year are far more representative of Africa.

“2003 was our first year and we focused on getting the numbers. The response was overwhelming, but, in retrospect, we wanted the entries and finalists to be more representative of the continent,” Volschenk said.

In this year’s competition, all entries were submitted to a panel of 10 adjudicators to identify 10 sector finalists. Out of these, the panel determines regional winners as well as the overall winner, the Africa SMME of the year.

In terms of industries, the manufacturing, information and communications technology (ICT) sectors had the largest number of entries attracting about 36% of the entries.

“It is interesting to note the difference in make-up of the finalists in different sectors. It seems that South African companies are heavily innovation-driven, but can learn from African counterparts in other aspects,” said Volschenk. “One of the fascinating points is the dominance of other countries in areas like renewable energy, agricultural, and arts and crafts sectors.”

For the first time this year, the Africa SMME Awards will include a category aimed at non-profit organisations (NPOs), with specific focus on smallish NPOs operating in the SMME field.

“We created this sector to recognise that not all businesses aim to make a profit,” Volschenk notes. “We realised that we could not expect all businesses to fit the mould of traditional economic models. Micro-financiers that operate in an NPO environment are a typical example of businesses that one would like to recognise, but cannot measure in a typical capitalist paradigm.”

The finalists for the Africa SMME Awards are:

*Agricultural, food and beverage production: – Magana Flowers (Kenya), Natural Valley Ltd (Zambia) , Soyaf Soft Drinks (Burkina Faso);

* Arts & crafts – Ash-Geo Handmade Training Centre (Ghana), Genuine Leather Craft PLC (Ethiopia), Ngwenya Glass (Pty) Ltd (Swaziland);

*Banking and finance – African Investment Corporation Inc (Came-roon) Renaissance Mer-chant Bank (Zimbabwe),

*Construction – NRB Construction (South Africa), TAF Holding company (The Gambia);

*Education, training and consulting – Media Works (South Africa), Resolve Workplace Solutions (South Africa), Tjeka Training (South Africa);

*Environment/renewable energy – Environmental Civil Engineering Consulting Centre (Egypt), Polucon Services Ltd. (Kenya), UltraTec Ltd (Uganda);

*lnformation and Communications Technology – Aerospace Monitoring and Systems (Pty) Ltd (South Africa), Intermap (Pty) Ltd (South Africa), Solar and Communications Equipment Limited (Sierra Leone);

*Manufacturing – BreatheTex Corporation (Pty) Ltd (South Africa), Bumbo (Pty) Ltd (South Africa), Neel Industries (Mauritius);

*Open category – e-Centric Link (Pty) Ltd (South Africa), Naphtronics Pty Ltd Inc, Flash Security (South Africa), Tele10 (Rwanda);

*Tourism – Crater Valley Kibale Resort Beach (Uganda), Malealea Trading (PTY) Ltd (Lesotho);

*NPO – ABC Ulwazi (South Africa), ApproTEC (Kenya), Association Al Amana pour la promotion des Microentreprises (Morrocco); and

*Journalist award – Frederick Mordi (Nigeria), Stephen Timm (South Africa) and Saikah Momoh (Nigeria).

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