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Chasing dreams pays off for entrepreneur Jonathan Goldberg

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“Entrepreneurship is about taking an idea and a dream and converting it into something tangible,” said SA Jewish Report director Herschel Jawitz on presenting this year’s award.

Winner Jonathan Goldberg, the chief executive and co-founder of Preference Capital, hasn’t just realised his dream of building a successful financial services company, but with this award, has fulfilled a dream held for 20 years.

“The first time I came to these awards was in 2003,” Goldberg said. “I was here as a guest. At the time, I was the financial director of The Prepaid Company, which is part of the Blue Label Telecoms Group. My good mate, Brett Levy, won the Entrepreneurship Award that evening, and that night, I said to myself, ‘One day I want to come back and win this award.’ It’s been a hell of a journey. It took me a little bit longer than I had hoped but we did it.”

In providing financial services, mainly in the form of loans, to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and family-run businesses, Preference Capital offers nine different solutions. It’s therefore able to offer fit-for-purpose services to help businesses grow, which ultimately uplifts the South African economy and creates employment.

“There’s nothing better than growing a business, employing, and looking after people,” said Goldberg. “For me, it’s about job creation, helping people, and growing businesses.”

Some of Preference Capital’s clients have grown so much, they’ve have to move on from the company and turn to traditional banks because they’re no longer SMEs. “That’s a great success story for us,” Goldberg said.

Accepting his award, Goldberg paid tribute to his wife, Tanya, describing her as “by far the smartest person I know”.

“My wife is a successful businesswoman in her own right. She’s a chartered accountant and she’s been at Investec for 20 years. Without her stable, reliable salary and support it would have been impossible for me to be an entrepreneur. Without this, it wouldn’t have happened, I couldn’t have been here, and I wouldn’t have been able to chase my entrepreneurial spirit and my dreams.”

Goldberg also thanked his business partners, who provided the early capital needed to grow the business; chairperson Graeme Montgomery for his counsel and ongoing support; and his executive team, which he said deserved the award more than he did. Addressing recent partner Old Mutual, he said, “Thank you for getting behind us and helping us to keep growing Preference Capital and to uplift small and medium-sized South African businesses. This, in turn, has created thousands of jobs, and this is one of Preference Capital’s core objectives.”

Quoting his late grandfather, who used to say, “Everything in moderation,” Goldberg said, “In life, there are instances where moderation is fitting. However, if genuine success is your aim, whether in business, sport, or with your family, give it your all. Embrace your goals with unwavering determination. Live your dreams without compromise, and refuse to settle for mediocrity.”

It’s this philosophy that has led to Goldberg’s considerable achievements, and those that will undoubtedly follow.

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