GEORGE BUSINESS NEWS - The George Business Chamber is honouring those men and women who have made a difference in the business world and in the lives of others during this year.
The winners will be announced at a gala dinner on 25 October at Bygracealone, where Western Cape Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities David Maynier will be the guest speaker.
The George Herald and Absa are among the sponsors of the event. The closing date for nominations is today, 10 October.
The four categories for 2019 are:
- Business Person of the Year
- Woman Change Agent of the Year
- Entrepreneur of the Year
- Youth Ambassador of the Year
In the run-up to the event, the George Herald looks back on some of the past winners of the Business Person of the Year.
Irene Vermeulen of Olivier & Vermeulen Funeral Homes was the Business Person in 2017. She told the George Herald her journey as a serious entrepreneur started with a bankrupt coffin factory in Jones Street, Oudtshoorn, when she was just 22 years old.
"With plenty of enthusiasm and motivation I started walking the road of a funeral undertaker, which can be somewhat lonely at times, because of the enormous amount of time and work I had to put into this industry. It is not a 7 to 5 job but a 24-hour service," she said. "Now, after 32 years, I look back at the sustainable and dignified services to the communities in Oudtshoorn, George and Knysna known as Olivier & Vermeulen Funeral Home and realise that this has become a way of life for me."
Vermeulen said there were a lot of challenges over the years, but her positive spirit and inexhaustible energy carried her through the deep dark times of hopelessness.
"Today I am proud to say that I have 89 dedicated staff members who support me and help me row this boat into the unforeseen future."
Vermeulen said she was humbly thankful and honoured to receive this award in 2017. It acknowledged her hard work and noted it.
"This award motivated me again to stand out above the crowd and to strive to make tomorrow better than today. I would like to motivate business leaders to participate in next year's business awards and to be an example for the young entrepreneurs," she said.
Her advice to upcoming entrepreneurs is to stay positive and motivated, manage their finances well and give back to the community in acknowledgement of their support. "Work hard and stay focused. And remember, life is like a mirror, whatever you do, it reflects."
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