South Africa’s young business talent from various business sectors were acknowledged and celebrated at the 2014 Standard Bank Rising Star Awards, which took place at the Hilton Sandton in Johannesburg.

Now in their third year, the Standard Bank Rising Star Awards were established to recognise, celebrate and connect young, talented individuals (aged 40 or younger) in an effort to raise awareness of South Africa’s talent, as well as increase the sector talent pools.

The youngest Rising Star in 2014 is aged 26. Out of the eleven category winners, eight are from Gauteng, and Kwazulu-Natal, the Western Cape and the Free State also boast with one winner each.

The 2014 Rising Stars for each business sector are:

Caren Robb of afb for the Banking & Financial Services sector,

Adriana de Beer of Sasol for the Energy & Chemicals sector,

Harry Welby-Cooke of ActionCOACH for the Entrepreneur & SMME sector,

Muthe Rambuwani of P:Cubed for the ICT sector,

Leeanne Soobramoney of The Point of Purchase Warehouse for the Logistics & Supply Chain sector,

Rohitesh Dhawan of KPMG for the Professional Services sector,

Andrew Jackson of DionWired for the Manufacturing, Retail & FMCG sector,

Glen Nwaila of Sibanye Gold for the Mining & Industrials sector,

Joey Johannah Legodi of SABC for the Media & Marketing sector,

Wiebke Toussaint of Engineers Without Borders for the Service: Public & Private sector,

Craig Donaldson of Hilton Worldwide for the Tourism & Hospitality sector.

Laura Barker, Managing Director of BlackBark Productions (organisers of the Rising Star programme), says that the awards follow a rigorous judging process to ensure that real talent is unearthed.

She adds that for a country to continue to grow and excel, “we must identify, recognise, develop and celebrate those exceptional individuals who make a difference and lead the way”.

Alister Swart, co-founder of the Standard Bank Rising Star Awards, says: “We’re thrilled to see the Rising Star Awards flourish with a 50% increase in entries this year. After receiving 319 applications, we’ve been amazed at the quality and range of candidates throughout South Africa.”

Swart adds that the awards also support finalists by granting them access to the viable network of Rising Stars. “The Rising Star Network, a closed network which all finalists, judges and mentors have access to, creates an intellectual platform for on-going support and education on current business models and management practices.”

Stefan Ferreira, commercial director of CEB South Africa (sponsor and managers of the rigorous judging process), says: “Organisations need to invest in identifying top talent and developing their potential to ensure they have the right talent to drive future productivity, innovation and performance. We’re honoured to work with the Standard Bank Rising Star Awards as it’s a privilege to help young leaders explore their own leadership strengths at this early stage in their careers.”

Tshepo Sibilanga, Global Head of Talent Management at Standard Bank (title sponsor of the awards), says: “The Rising Star Programme provides a great opportunity for aspiring individuals who are highly committed to achieving their goals and have the ability to innovate rapidly, as well as broaden their horizons through ongoing development and networking. We’re very honoured to be a part of this.”

Funds for the GreenSmile Foundation, the official charity of choice, were raised at the awards ceremony. Sought-after items were auctioned, including a limited edition replica of the World Cup winning jersey and medal, of which only 200 were produced, as well as Nelson Mandela memorabilia, luxurious getaways and limited edition wines. Ashwin Willemse was the MC for the evening and The Muses provided entertainment.

The 2014 Standard Bank Rising Star Awards are sponsored by, amongst others, Business Connexion, Sasol, Standard Bank, Hilton Worldwide, ArcelorMittal, CEB and ACSA. Partners of the Rising Star Awards include Upstage Productions, Rand Refinery, USB, Who’s Who, Mulderbosch Wine and Young & Able.

Like the Facebook fan page at and follow the Rising Star Awards on Twitter @RisingStarSA.

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