FNB Business Innovation Awards
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The winner will be announced in:

Be the next FNB Business
Innovator of the Year

About the awards

Innovation is a theme that remains central to FNB’s business philosophy. We believe that innovation is a key driver of business growth and scaleability, and that it contributes to our philosophy of creating a better world through high-quality job creation. Because of this belief, we thought it necessary to develop a platform where innovative businesses in South Africa are recognised.

The FNB Business INNOVATION Awards, supported by Endeavor, are a real opportunity for high-impact entrepreneurs to unleash their potential. Endeavor’s extensive experience in working with high-impact businesses is perfectly complemented by FNB’s commitment to innovation. This is a necessary platform for every business that has an ambition to become a successful global business. We challenge established businesses to enter the awards to inspire them to think bigger.

Paul Harris
Endeavor Board Member

The FNB Business INNOVATION Awards 2017 aim to recognise and celebrate the efforts of high-impact entrepreneurs who have embraced many challenges to create world-class, innovative and scaleable companies that continue to forge unique ways of doing business.

High-growth, founder-led entrepreneurs will be selected based on their potential to become part of Endeavor's international network of innovators, business leaders, entrepreneurs, investors and academics; and become the FNB Business Innovator of the Year 2017.

What the FNB business
innovator of the year will gain

The prize for the FNB Business INNOVATION Awards 2017 is an all-expenses-paid trip to attend the prestigious Endeavor International Selection Panel (ISP) in New York. The FNB Business Innovator of the Year will have the opportunity to pitch their business to a credible panel of global business leaders, meet top investors and rub shoulders with their peers from around the world. Pending feedback from the panel about their business and capability as a global entrepreneur, the winner could walk away with the international recognition and prestigious title of an Endeavor Entrepreneur.

Finalists will also have the opportunity to attend the ISP at their own cost.

What is the process for becoming an Endeavor Entrepreneur?

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The ISP selection process is akin to a two-day immersion course in business practice. The insight and wisdom that panellists bring to the process never fail to inspire candidates and observers alike. Whether they are chosen or not, entrepreneurs describe the selection process as a life-changing experience that provides them with the tools to take their businesses to the next level.

The process takes place over two days. During Interview Day, candidates “pitch” their businesses to a panel; and the panel responds with a series of probing questions relating to finances, talent management, corporate strategy, general business administration, marketing, etc. Once the panel has sufficient information about the candidate and the business, it is able, on Deliberation Day, to consider the suitability of the candidate.

The questions panellists will want to answer are: is this business truly innovative; is it scaleable; can it create a large number of jobs; will it contribute to the economic growth of the country; and is the entrepreneur a role model who will help to sustain the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the future?

Selection criteria

The selection criteria for the FNB Business INNOVATION Awards are based on Endeavor’s entrepreneur selection model, which caters for scale-ups. Below are the set criteria.

Business criteria

  • It has a minimum annual turnover of R10-million.
  • It is founder led.
  • It is a unique business. The entrepreneur owns the Intellectual Property for the products, model or service of the business. It cannot easily be replicated. It is not a “me-too business”, such as a consultancy or agency.
  • It has the potential to grow exponentially.
  • It has successfully raised the capital it needed to get to this point.
  • It is scaleable, in other words the business has the potential to grow and become a market leader.
  • It has a business model that is repeatable in any country/region.

Business owner criteria

He or she:

  • Is ambitious and wants the business to become a market leader.
  • Embodies the qualities of a local and global role model.
  • Is open to feedback and mentorship.
  • Is humble and committed to paying it forward.
  • Is mature enough to appreciate the power of Endeavor’s global network.

Facilitated by Endeavor South Africa, the selection criteria of the awards focus on businesses that are able to meet the following standards:

Development impact:

Exhibit high-growth potential and the capacity to add substantial economic value by creating a number of high-value jobs.

Business innovation:

Demonstrate real innovation that has the potential to change the way an industry operates locally and/or internationally.

Fit with FNB and Endeavor:

Be interested in accepting advice and support from FNB and Endeavor, as well as contributing to the Endeavor network.

The Process

Below is the process that will be followed in selecting the FNB Business Innovator of the Year 2017, who will then have an opportunity to attend the Endeavor ISP.

FNB Business innovation awards process

Note that should you enter the FNB Business INNOVATION Awards, you will need to make yourself available for all the stages of the process, including the Gala Award Ceremony.

About endeavor

Endeavor South Africa is the leading supporter of high-impact entrepreneurs around the world. By high-impact they mean individuals with the biggest dreams, the greatest potential to create companies that matter and grow, and the highest likelihood to inspire others. They are the only organisation to focus on the scale-up, not the start-up, because that is where Endeavor believes the highest job and wealth creation happen.

FNB partnered with Endeavor as they are leading the global movement to catalyse long-term economic growth by selecting, mentoring and accelerating the best high-impact entrepreneurs around the world. Once selected, Endeavor Entrepreneurs are provided with customised support from a volunteer network of 2 700+ global and local business leaders who serve as mentors, advisors, connectors, investors and role models.

Endeavor provides its Entrepreneurs with access to funding, markets, talent and a support system with the purpose of helping them to:


  • Through the selection process.
  • By inspiration and example of a global network of business leaders.
  • By peer pressure (role modelling).
  • Custom Advisory Board.

For more information on Endeavor, visit www.endeavor.co.za


The FNB Business INNOVATION Awards has been built on the strength of its previous judges, finalists and winners, as well as the ongoing support that is provided by both FNB Business and the Endeavor mentors. This ensures that winners and finalists remain a part of the awards, benefiting from the mentorship for years to come.




Cynthia Mkhombo


Cynthia Mkhombo is the founder and current CEO of Masana Hygiene Services. In 2010, CEO Magazine called her "one of the most influential women in business and professional services".


Hlumelo, Endeavor board member, executive chairman and co-founder of Spinnaker, has been involved in venture capital and private equity for 12 years and is currently engaged with several companies focusing on introducing low-cost, high-quality offerings in market segments currently dominated by oligopolies.


Michael is CEO of FNB Business. His vision for FNB Business is to become the number one transactional bank for businesses in South Africa. He believes in an entrepreneurial culture and can-do attitude in everything the bank does.


Joining Endeavor SA in 2012, Catherine has assisted some of the country’s most innovative entrepreneurs realise their global growth aspirations.


Claire is a council member of the National Advisory Council on Innovation, a member of FirstRand’s Vumela Enterprise Development Fund’s investment committee and a member of the Gauteng Enterprise Development Board, among others.


Howard is the Provincial Head for FNB Business in KwaZulu-Natal. He has previously participated as an ISP judge in the Endeavor process, and also served as a judge/convenor of judges for the EY World Entrepreneur Awards.



Cynthia Mkhombo


Everlytic is a digital communications company that solves the problem of letting their clients send out bulk email and mobile communication to their customers.

Website: www.everlytic.co.za


Genex Insights is focused on providing research insights to its customers. The focus is on three main areas: marketing research, customer experience measurement and online media analysis.

Website: www.genex.co.za


inQuba is a company offering technology and services aligned with creating positive customer experiences and engagement.

Website: www.inquba.com


Merchant Capital provides working capital solutions to entrepreneurs that are different from what typical business owners get access to; there is no interest rate and no fixed repayment term.

Website: www.merchantcapital.co.za


Smoke CCS has developed a software solution, Eyerys, that makes it possible for companies to listen to customers at every touchpoint. This helps companies build more profitable businesses driven by the voice of the customer.

Website: www.smokeccs.co.za


SPARK Schools was founded with a mission to provide access to high-quality education for all South Africans at a more affordable rate.

Website: www.sparkschools.co.za



Congratulations to Bruce Morgan, founder of GreatSoft CRM on being awarded the FNB Business Innovator of the Year 2015.

South African CRM software provider GreatSoft (Pty) Ltd impressed the 2015 BIA judges’ panel, earning them the title of winner of the inaugural FNB Business INNOVATION Awards.

The developmental strides made by CEO Bruce Morgan toward realising the company’s ambition of global expansion are a testament to the power of the awards to propel winners towards the achievement of their business goals.

GreatSoft is a provider of its own internally developed customer relationship management systems for tax management, document management, billing and payroll for financial professionals. Despite the competition, they differentiated themselves by making their solution cloud-based, answering their customers’ need for accessibility. This customer-centric stance is just one of the many reasons why GreatSoft stood out as a fit for FNB and the Endeavor network. Winning the BIA Awards does more than offer a business the opportunity for expansion; it affords momentum for the owners and management, and changes their perceptions of what is achievable. Morgan explains that the gruelling judging process helped them identify aspects of their business strategy that needed to be refined. Being flown to Silicon Valley, San Francisco, afforded them the opportunity to network with judges and fellow entrepreneurs from around the world, gaining insights into the global market into which they hoped to expand.

The results have been shifts in goals from doubling over two years to tripling over four to five years and the staff headcount has grown from 55 to 75. Increased focus on acquiring valued staff and developing talent through their internship programme has improved their capacity, which has become imperative as the group’s combined revenues are 40% higher than a year ago and they intend to double revenues into Q3 and Q4 of 2016.



Howard is the Provincial Head for FNB Business in KwaZulu-Natal. He has previously participated as an ISP judge in the Endeavor process, and also served as a judge/convenor of judges for the EY World Entrepreneur Awards.


As the current Head of Sales at FNB, Marcel is responsible for new sales and client value management.

Cynthia Mkhombo


Cynthia Mkhombo is the founder and current CEO of Masana Hygiene Services. In 2010, CEO Magazine called her "one of the most influential women in business and professional services".


Raymond currently serves as an Investment Executive at Remgro Limited, utilising his extensive local and international experience as a specialist in various fields in the financial services industry.


Joining Endeavor SA in 2012, Catherine has assisted some of the country’s most innovative entrepreneurs realise their global growth aspirations.



Cynthia Mkhombo


NicheStreem is a custom music streaming service that offers music-lovers access to pre-compiled playlists, in multiple streams, without the need for Internet access.

Website: www.nichestreem.com

Cynthia Mkhombo


Rhino Wood turns sustainably sourced softwood into durable hardwood – without the price tag.

Website: www.rhinowood.co.za

Cynthia Mkhombo


The Toni Glass Collection is a contemporary tea brand that produces tea in the old-fashioned way. Only full-leaf teas from select tea gardens are used, insuring that the brand’s tea retains its natural integrity.

Website: www.toniglasscollection.co.za

Cynthia Mkhombo


The Training Room Online is an innovative, cost-effective digital learning platform that streamlines e-learning material for any audience, in any location, from any device.

Website: www.ttro.com

Cynthia Mkhombo


delvv.io offers clients feedback from a network of more than 120 000 creative professionals, faster and more cost-effectively than traditional research vendors.

Website: www.delvv.io

Cynthia Mkhombo


GO1 is an innovative e-learning platform that offers a training and education solution that aggregates both online and offline training options.

Website: www.go1.com

Cynthia Mkhombo


IsoMetrix, a rapidly expanding product from Metrix Software Solutions, allows companies to track and report on governance, risk management and compliance via a user-friendly, customisable dashboard.

Website: www.isometrix.com

Cynthia Mkhombo


Kliq Holdings is a wireless Internet data provider offering listed companies, corporates and SMEs in remote locations their own affordable, high-performance and reliable network packages.

Website: www.kliq.co.za

Cynthia Mkhombo


LESCO Manufacturing is an innovative local company, designing and manufacturing ground-breaking new electrical products for the local market.

Website: www.lescosk.co.za

Cynthia Mkhombo


Guidepost is a software solution that enhances healthcare delivery for chronic illness patients around the globe in a cost-effective and scaleable way.

Website: www.guidepost.co.za



Congratulations to Bevan Ducasse, founder of wiGroup on being awarded the FNB Business Innovator of the Year 2016.

The awards not only recognised Ducasse for his innovation in driving business growth, it also credited him and his company for their potential to scale through the Endeavor network.

wiGroup has demonstrated a trajectory of exponential innovation, from its start as a wallet to its current standing as an international platform that enables point-of-sale trade.

Ducasse embodies entrepreneurship and is passionate about building a significant company that embraces disruptive thinking and scale. Not unlike the FNB Business culture, he rewards and empowers a team of remarkable people who bring the business to life. The decision-making process and the habits of the organisation are all supportive of testing and driving improvements and new efficiencies. FNB is proud to be associated with a business that exudes such passion, drive, courage and fun, all whilst revolutionising the customer payment experience.

As the FNB Business Innovator of the Year, Ducasse will attend the prestigious Endeavor ISP in Boston in September this year, courtesy of FNB Business and SWISS International Airlines. As an Endeavor Entrepreneur, he gains access to a global network of founders as well as access to a pool of mentors comprising infuential business leaders, and an advisory board to help him achieve his business goals.

Contact us

For any queries, email us at innovationawards@fnb.co.za