SHONAQUIP, a Plumstead company which makes wheelchairs for children with special needs was the overall winner of the ECIC/Cape Chamber of Commerce Exporter of the Year competition.
The Trophy, together with a cash prize of R50 000, was presented last night (Thursday, Nov 5) at a gala banquet at the Kenilworth race course.
“The success of Shonaquip is a remarkable story of a woman who was forced to make a plan for her disabled daughter. The plan grew into a factory employing 49 people and an export business worth millions of rands a year,” said Ms Janine Myburgh.
“In our 25 years of running this competition we have had some amazing winners but few stories of human triumph like this one. Shona McDonald’s second daughter was born severely disabled and when she became too heavy to carry she asked the bio-medical engineering department at UCT to help her build a suitable wheel chair. She soon found other parents in a similar position and they, too, needed specialised chairs. This was the start of a business which has changed countless lives over the years,” Ms Myburgh said.
The Transnet Port Terminals Trophy for best manufacturing exporter went to Nautic Africa which makes fast armed patrol boats and launches, mainly for the oil and gas industry off the West African coast. The firm is a remarkable example of innovation and rapid growth and now employs nearly 200 people.
The Transnet National Ports Authority Trophy for the best exporter outside the engineering field went to Thokozani Winelands Investments. The Credit Guarantee prize for the best small business went to Indigi Designs. The Gerald Wolman prize for the best exporter to Africa as well as a R20 000 corporate identity makeover provided by Fable Design, an Auric Consulting Company, went to Folio Online, a firm that supplies translation services.
The SA Maritime Safety Authority award for design when to last year’s overall winners, Maverick Trading, manufactures of concrete-polymer products that are replacing steel drain and manhole covers. The Cape Chamber’s Transformation award (as well as a year’s free membership of the Chamber) went to Vv4 Agri and the Chamber’s award for innovation went to Rickard Air Diffusion.