No idea is too small to enter the Lowveld Big Change campaign.

MBOMBELA – Talk is rife about the pressure faced by the country’s economy, but where there are business leaders, there are plans to be made. The property developer and social entrepreneur,

Mr Ettiene Pretorius, who is a native of White River, has a plan for the area.

With Lowveld Big Change he aims to increase the Lowveld’s gross-domestic product by one per cent over a year through developing new businesses around the expertise of local successes.

To achieve this, the campaign will bridge the gap between the already connected successful business people, and those starting out.

At the heart of it is that mentors, many of whom are in the habit of taking less-experienced people under their wing, imparting their knowledge to the broader community.

“We can change the community. We can make this a better place,” Pretorius says.

A candidate will be selected, not on existing turnover, but potential. He/she will then have the opportunity to spend time with a variety of mentors who have achieved influence in a wide array of fields.

They are to impart their knowledge on how to do better business and how to build up the community.

These lessons will then be shared with the broader society by the chosen candidate through the printed media and radio.

“No idea is too small,” he says. “Anyone can enter.”

During the course of the campaign, the selected candidate will also build on his/her business or idea from what he/she can learn while giving back to the community.

Imparting the knowledge of achieving success in a local context, can change the whole landscape.

“Successful people are often put up on a pedestal by others. The crux of the matter is that they are just regular people. Up-and-coming entrepreneurs need to see this. Shaking someone’s hand makes one see the bigger picture.”

Seeing how small the boardroom where big decision are taken can be, changes your view and beliefs, something Pretorius has experienced first-hand.

For this reason, should the chosen candidate earn it, he/she will have the opportunity to meet international businessman Mr Sam Branson, son of Sir Richard Branson at the end of Lowveld Big Change.

Join Pretorius and mentors Ms Sandra Jacobs of Innibos, Ms Irma Green of Lowveld Media and Mr Oupa Ikaneng Pilane, former spokesman for Dr Mathews Phosa on Thursday at 08:00 at Emnotweni where they will answer questions about the campaign and provide a preview on the mentoring process.

Attendance is free. Entries have already opened. Visit to enter. It costs R250 to stand a chance to be chosen as the candidate. All proceeds will be applied to education projects in the area. Entries close September 30.

  • Enquiries can be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit Lowveld Big Change.

The mentors include, just to name a few:

  • Billionaire businessman Mr Robert Gumede
  • Ms Nora Fakude from Buscor and president of the Kruger Lowveld Chamber of Business and Tourism
  • Mr Dirk van Rooyen from Pam Golding
  • Mr Fred Kinnear from Kanarie Walk Centre and Ruggedwear
  • Mr Gerhard de Bruin from Brake and Clutch
  • Mr Hennie Snyman, retired management head of Tsb
  • Mr Henri Pieters from Stabilis Chartered Accountants
  • Mr Ig Olivier from Emnotweni Casino
  • Ms Sandra Jacobs of Innibos
  • Mr James Aling from H.L. Halls & Sons
  • Ms Irma Green of Lowveld Media
  • Mr Oupa Ikaneng Pilane, former spokesman for Dr Mathews Phosa
  • Mr Johnny Terblanche from J&M Security
  • Mr Kerneels Kruger from Produkta Motors
  • Mr Kobus Jacobs from Sonpark Centre.
  • Mr Leon Doyer from Wiekus Du Toit Attorneys
  • Mr Pieter de Jager from Ingwenyama Conference and Sport Resort
  • Mr Riaan Loubser from Unigrad Business College
  • Mr SW Engelbrecht from Sappi
  • Mr Willem Fick from Hotel Numbi & Garden Suites.

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