ETEYA Awards

ETEYA competition offers phenomenal benefits to drive collaboration between business owners, impart knowledge and build viable tourism businesses

Search begins for South Africa’s top tourism emerging entrepreneurs
Search begins for South Africa’s top tourism emerging entrepreneurs

In 2011 when Cape Town based tour operator Shaheed Ebrahim entered and won the coveted Emerging Tourism Entrepreneur of the Year Award (ETEYA) for his business ‘Escape to the Cape’, he had no idea how winning the contest would completely change his life.

Shaheed’s business has since gone from strength to strength and his ETEYA win has given him considerable marketing exposure and helped him rake in the local and international clients. His success story is just one of many winners and finalists whose businesses have been given a huge lift after they entered ETEYA.

Entries for the ETEYA 2013 competition officially opened today and close on 31 October 2012 and South African Tourism is confident the competition will continue to make a significant contribution in growing the country’s tourism small business industry. 

In making the call for entries today at The Orchards Executive Accommodation and Conference Centre in Midrand, owned by ETEYA 2011 Gauteng Provincial Winner Salome Tshungu, organisers announced some new developments to the competition this year.

The nationwide tourism industry competition recognises and honours the country’s best, most promising and most innovative emerging tourism business owners. This year, however, it will also become a platform for small and medium businesses to empower themselves and share ideas on how to grow and make their businesses more profitable.

Through a new online ETEYA Knowledge Centre all entrants will have access to a new digital platform to enable them to network with each other online and share their business success tips.

The online knowledge centre will also connect entrants with mentors and their peers in the industry, including some of the country’s leading industry professionals, who will provide them with cutting edge industry information, business tips and insights.

ETEYA will now connect people; will help to build networks; and will be an immensely valuable resource centre for everyone looking to build a business in tourism.

Since its inception, ETEYA has been at the forefront of assisting finalists and winners with business and skills development and has made a valuable contribution to the entrepreneurs, the economy and the tourism industry it serves.  The winner gets a R100 000 cash grant to help grow their business. He or she also gets access to mentoring, marketing help and business direction and advice from experts.

“ETEYA is our flagship project and we are extremely proud of our track record of supporting emerging businesses in our industry. We are also proud to work with our partners to provide a platform to develop these businesses and provide entrepreneurs with the skills and knowledge to further advance themselves and empower others. ETEYA is not only about identifying the best emerging entrepreneurs in the industry, but also about publicly acknowledging businesses which excel at providing excellent customer services to our tourists,” says Thulani Nzima, Chief Executive Officer of South African Tourism.

This year, organisers have reviewed some elements of the competition to up its relevance and usefulness to the emerging tourism industry.   For the nine provincial ETEYA winners and national finalists, their cash grant awards will now be used to finance the business development plans they submitted to the judges.

This will ensure that the prize money won in the competition is put to work to grow the businesses of the ETEYA winners and to make those businesses more profitable and robust.

One of the major highlights of ETEYA this year is that the competition’s 27 semi-finalists will have their businesses thoroughly analysed by business professionals and thereafter will receive a personalised five-month mentorship program from the Tourism Enterprise Partnership (TEP), during which finalists will be matched with a relevant mentor who will help them develop a growth development plan for their business.

“The Tourism Enterprise Partnership (TEP) is proud to have been a partner to South African Tourism in the roll-out of ETEYA for the past twelve years. It is an important partnership as it leverages the enterprise development support TEP offers with the market reach South African Tourism brings to the table” said TEP Chief Executive Officer, Dr Salifou Siddo.

“TEP’s various skills development courses and mentorship programmes has assisted competitors to operationalise their businesses and contribute towards job growth in South Africa. Working closely on the ground, TEP has seen how the competition encouraged innovation and elevated small business entrepreneurs into inspirational leaders,” he concluded. 

To qualify for this year’s competition, entries should demonstrate innovation in how they operate and communicate the extent to which their business plans meet consumer demand in a globally competitive industry. Entries should also address responsible and sustainable business practices and highlight how their business contributes to job creation.

Application forms may be downloaded from or collected from all regional tourism offices. Entries must be received by 17h00 on 31 October 2012. The provincial winners, who will be the competition’s nine finalists, will be announced at INDABA in May 2013 and the overall ETEYA winners will be announced in September 2013.


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