Stephen Saad named as CNBC Africa Entrepreneur of the Year

22/11/16: Shauneen Beukes

SANDTON, JOHANNESBURG. Stephen Saad, Aspen Group Chief Executive, was announced as the Entrepreneur of the Year at the finale of the 2016 All Africa Business Leaders Awards (AABLA) in partnership with CNBC on 11 November 2016.

On receiving the coveted award, Stephen Saad said, “I would like to dedicate this award to some special people. Within the Aspen organisation we employ many thousands of people. As I speak tonight there are people in factories across many continents of the world that are making and packing tablets and I’ll never get to meet all these people in Aspen. This is just one chance I get to thank them for keeping the wheels turning and for doing the ordinary so very, very well which is critical to success in every business.”

“Africa presents one with beautiful sunrises and sunsets each day, which are a blessing that should never be taken for granted”. Addressing the challenges of intra-African trading, he sited a lack of infrastructure and excessive bureaucracy as the primary impediments to corporates choosing not to trade with one another on the continent. He said that despite this Aspen would continue trading and building factories wherever it could.

Saad likened life to a treadmill that is relatively short but keeps moving. He said, “The key to success in life is to have courage and it’s important to be like a lion. You also need passion because that will take you to so many places in the world. But, most importantly of all, you need to have empathy for your fellow human beings.”

The AABLA honours remarkable leaders who have made a considerable impact on their industry and community, and salutes game changers of business on the continent for their continuing commitment to excellence, developing best practices and innovative strategies.

Since its humble beginnings from a small house in Durban, Aspen has become a global pharmaceutical company manufacturing high quality medicines and products in South Africa for the local and international markets. With a market capitalization of approximately US$10 billion, the Group has more than 60 established business operations in approximately 50 countries and more than 10 000 employees.

Click here to view Stephen Saad’s acceptance speech.