Artisans of Mzansi

Allan Gray Makers’ Artisans of Mzansi is a competition where you could win up to R400,000 in grant funding for your artisanal business.

*Applications closed

You can also nominate someone else for the Legacy Award, which will go to an artisan business owner whose company produces over R100 million in revenue each year and employs 100+ people. If you know someone who fits the bill, we invite you to nominate them here.

What is the goal of Artisans of Mzansi?

The goal of Artisans of Mzansi is to recognise artisan talent and to celebrate those who are using their artisanal skills and entrepreneurial spirit as a weapon against unemployment, poverty, and inequality in South Africa.

The competition aims to act as a showcase of the best South African artisan talent and supplements Allan Gray Makers goal of reducing the skills gap in the country by 2030.

Through Artisans of Mzansi, we want to spotlight artisans so that they can serve as relatable business role models: not only to the young people in your communities but also to the aspiring trade students currently registered at Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Colleges to consider entrepreneurship as a viable career option.

The Four Competition Categories:

Categories Fulltime Employees Revenue (ZAR) Years of Operation
Start-Up Phase 0-3 Less than 300,000 0-3
Growth Phase 4-5 300,000 – 1,000,000 4-5
Mature Phase 6+ More than 1,000,000 6+
Innovation Award* n/a n/a n/a

The Innovation Category is open to any artisanal business owner regardless of the number of full-time employees, revenue, or the number of years in operation. Through the Innovation Award, we want to find those artisanal entrepreneurs who are thinking ahead and working on specific innovations that will change or are already changing the future of the artisanal trades.

The Competition in Four Stages:

Application Stage

Entries into the competition take place via an application form. Once the application phase ends, no new entries will be considered. Applications close 30 June 2023.

Telephonic Interview Stage

Shortlisted candidates will be contacted telephonically and interviews will be held to discover more about the business owners and their businesses.

Top 8 Applicants & Pitch-readiness Training Stage

The top eight candidates from the telephonic interview stage will be determined. They will undergo pitch-readiness training online to refine their business pitch. In so doing, they will be ready to motivate the merit of their business and their role within it as an artisan entrepreneur.

Final Pitch Stage

The finalists will pitch their businesses to a panel of judges who will determine the winners of the Artisans of Mzansi Competition at a Gala Dinner event.

What are the requirements for entry into Artisans of Mzansi?