Tsogo Sun deems jewellery designer a cut above

2016-10-23 06:42

When it comes to events which celebrate excellence – such as Thursday night’s Tsogo Sun Entrepreneur of the Year Award ceremony – few celebrities bother to show up.

But Soweto-born Nqobile Nkosi, the owner of NQ Jewellery Design Services, did not let the absence of the country’s crème-de-la-crème in the arts and entertainment spheres dampen his joy at being crowned this year’s winner.

He cut a justifiably proud figure as he went up on stage to accept his award.

The ceremony took the form of a gala dinner, held at the group’s Riverside Sun Resort on the banks of the Vaal River in Vanderbijlpark.

“I did not see this coming. It came as a surprise!” he told City Press after lifting the trophy, adding that being a winner meant new doors would open and herald growth in his jewellery business, based in Soweto.

His journey to success began in 2004, when Nkosi heard about a two-year course in jewellery manufacturing and design being offered at Soweto Jewellery School, and promptly applied for a place.

“After a month there, I designed a wedding band and that changed my life,” he said.

He said at first people neither believed in, nor warmed to his idea of starting a jewellery business.

“People would tell me that manufacturing, designing and selling jewellery in Soweto would not make me a successful businessman.”

He proved them wrong as today he employs six people and his business is holding its own against competitors.

He was one of five finalists. The other four were all businesswomen, namely: Meisie Nkosi of Bella Bonni Guesthouse; Zinzi Masina of La Emme Guesthouse; Lucille Cremen, owner of Cresco Tours; and Carol Senosi, owner of Lefa Cleaning Services.

“I see them [the finalists] as my colleagues. The one thing we have in common is that we are all entrepreneurs,” said Nkosi.

The Tsogo Sun Entrepreneur Award programme forms part of the group’s sustainability and growth strategy. Its primary goal is delivering value to small and medium-sized businesses in communities where Tsogo Sun is present.

The initiative started in 2005, with the company supporting five guest houses; today there are more than 200 beneficiaries across all industries.

Media personality Maps Maponyane, who looked dapper in a grey suit, did a splendid job as MC for the evening.

Even though it was a formal event, he kept the mood light and the audience laughing as they wined and dined in style.

Last year’s winner, Nomsa Mazibuko, encouraged entrepreneurs to take care of their brand.

Among other dignitaries who graced the occasion was Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom. Mingling in the crowd with ease, he used the opportunity to share information about South Africa’s potential for growth in the tourism sector.

After all the speeches, guests were entertained by jazz trio Swing City, featuring Loyiso Bala, Nathan Ro and Graeme Watkins.

Among the prizes that Nkosi won were R30 000 from Tsogo Sun, a business bursary from Tsheto Leadership Academy valued at R20 000, and a professional business image experience from tweak&STYLE valued at R15 000.

His jewellery is displayed in a range of outlets, such as the Big Five store at OR Tambo airport and Bryanston Organic Market.

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