Bay's young movers and shakers

Cindy Preller

THE top young business achievers in the Bay were announced at a glittering function last night. Now in its third year, the cream of the region's business leaders attended the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber's Top 40 Under 40 achievers evening at an exclusive function at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

The achievers were selected by a panel of high-profile judges including Elilox Group managing director Bridgette Gasa, Brown's PR owner Michelle Brown and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University alumni relations director Paul Geswindt.

The top achievers, who will this year take part in networking and community projects as part of the Top 40 Under 40 collective,  include The Herald politics editor Nwabisa Makunga.

"This is an absolute honour, not only for me but for my excellent team, whose passion, talent and dedication to our readers and the people of Nelson Mandela Bay is unmatched.

" The power of the press to help people make informed political and economic decisions is indisputable. That is what drives our team every day. It is our small contribution to helping this city reach its world class potential," Makunga said.

Former The Herald and Weekend Post journalists Brian Hayward and Amy Shelver, who both now work in communications in the city, are on the list of the top achievers with Kazeka Mashologu Kuse and Joleen Steyn-Kotze, The Herald contributing columnists, also making the cut.

The Herald and Weekend Post features, arts and entertainment assistant editor Louise Liebenberg was in the Top 40 Under 40 in its first year.

This year former Miss PE Di-Anne Qoto, a director at BLC Law, and 2013 The Herald Citizen of the Year finalist Nosi Ncoyo, who is a managing director at Vision4 Consulting, last night celebrated along with other young PE corporates who made it onto the list.

These include PricewaterhouseCoopers partner and director Ash Rathan, Volkswagen Group of South Africa plant engineering supervisor Graham Binge and Atlas Security general manager Vincent Nortier.

Absa regional executive for retail sales and services in the Eastern and Southern Cape Tshiwela Mhlantla started off her keynote address last night by saying it was not necessary to look for gold in Johannesburg, as it was right here in the city.

"This city needs strong, young entrepreneurs to prosper. Yes there are challenges, but young leaders need to start engaging with issues to meaningfully contribute and change the perspective of the city, province and country. Start dialogues to rebuild the challenges to make it the best city it can be," Mhlantla said.

She also told the achievers to remain relevant professionally, socially and emotionally.

The event was also attended by past Top 40 achievers, business chamber board members, including chamber president Mandla Madwara, and deputy president and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University vice-chancellor Derrick Swartz.

Top 40 Under 40 convener Nicole Klokow said young business people made their mark on Nelson Mandela Bay in big, small and interesting ways.

"These promising young individuals represent the growing force of people under the age of 40 who see Nelson Mandela Bay's own potential. Young entrepreneurs have a critical role to play in the global economy, and they have the potential to help grow a vibrant economy in Nelson Mandela Bay," Klokow said.

The Top 40 Network has given achievers an invaluable boost to their business connections, which former Top 40 Under 40 achiever and director at Rooftop Productions Richard Ahlfeldt said had been an incredible journey.

"The Top 40 Under 40 has been a great networking opportunity to meet fellow entrepreneurs and build lasting relationships."

Chamber chief executive Kevin Hustler extended his sincere congratulations to this year's group of achievers. "Nelson Mandela Bay has produced some remarkable leaders in the spheres of business, government and civil society.

"The key to our continued and future success lies not only in attracting high-calibre individuals to our shores, but in keeping them here. It lies in growing our own talent, and developing the youth through nurturing, support and recognition of their contribution," Hustler said. The top 4o are: AMY Shelver, Ash Rathan, Aurelién de Chappotin, Bradley Smith, Brenden Adriaanzen, Brian Hayward, Charles Stretch, Christopher Hutchings, Danielle Campbell, Debbie Wintermeyer, Devereaux Joubert and Mohammed Cassim. Di-Anne Qoto, Douglas John Cockcroft, Ellen Fischat, Graham Binge, Gustav Nefdt, Ian Whittal, Janine Pearton, Jeanique van der Mescht, Joleen Steyn-Kotze, Kate Pretorius, Kazeka Mashologu Kuse, Laduma Ngxokolo, Lesley Ann Fortuin, Lize Fouche, Marieka Barnard, Mayenzeke Baza, Nosi Ncoyo, Nwabisa Makunga, Phumeza Pepeta, Pumeza Tukani, Quinton Pat Pattinson, Ryan Stanham, Stephanie Beyers van den Berg, Tanette Nell, Tasmia Ismail, Terrence Pillay, Thabo Makhetha, Tim Jones and Vincent Nortier