THE BLOG
07/02/2014 05:31 pm ET Updated Sep 01, 2014

South African Businessman Swims Necker Island for a Cause

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"What you have at the end of your life will be determined by how much you gave."- Ettiëne Pretorius

14 March 2014, Necker Island, British Virgin Isles- Etienne Pretorius, a South African Businessman swam from Necker Island to Moskito Island situated in the British Virgin Isles to raise funds for Faces of Hope. Ettiëne Pretorius says, "To me personally it's all about having a balanced lifestyle, being able to do business and create international relationships together while having fun doing it."

Ettiëne was invited to Necker Island for a 5 day Oxford meets Necker think tank, where the top professors of Oxford University together with 20 influential entrepreneurs all over the world came together to discuss climate change and how they as influential individuals can bring change, setting examples of how to build a greener environment. "People with money aren't always influential, but influential people will always have money," says Pretorius.

Ettiëne Pretorius was born with the desire to influence the world and to share his passion for business with a burning desire to become one of the world's top entrepreneurs. He received the "ABSA Top Entrepreneur South Africa award" in 2005 for his clothing company and real estate investments as well as the International Businessman Award in 2013. He went on to receive an International Businessman Award from the J.T Foxx Organisation, and was congratulated by Arnold Schwarzenegger, Donna Karan (DKNY) and Wayne Allan Root (US Vice President candidate). Ettiëne lives by the 10 000 hour rule and backs it up with his ongoing studies. He is currently finishing his MSc in Real Estate while coaching 16 students each month on how to approach the Real Estate Market. His philosophy is simple: "I do not negotiate, I educate. People are my passion, business is my game and money is just a tool."

Whilst training for Ironman in South Africa which took place on the 6th April 2014, Ettiëne decided to train while on Necker which became a motivation to swim from Necker to Moskito Island symbolising a passion to do something for a greater cause, raising awareness for Faces of Hope. Ettiene says, "Being part of a children's home for 7 years, has changed my life and gave 'giving' a whole different meaning. Success as defined by me is 'the power of my choices and the decisions I make to influence other people to be significant."

On the 14th March 2014, Ettiëne woke up to a sunny morning and stood on the beach looking out in the direction he would have to swim whilst the rest of the crew got ready to accompany him on paddle boards, power and sail boats. It could potentially be dangerous swimming in the channel as boats are occasionally passing through and wouldn't necessarily notice a swimmer free styling through the surface of the ocean. For Pretorius the 5km swim was exhilarating and rewarding, knowing the purpose behind the challenge. After the swim, Sir Richard Branson together with Ettiëne and the group, had a group discussion about Global Warming where after they explored Moskito before enjoying lunch and a swim in the sea.

Necker Island and Moskito Island are both owned by Sir Richard Branson. Moskito Island is going to be developed into a premier ecotourism resort and Necker Island is going to continue to reduce environmental impact, setting a great example for other island communities worldwide. To travel to Necker Island one would need to take a connecting flight to the British Virgin Isles and then a short boat trip to land on the shores of the picturesque tropical island in the Caribbean.

Ettiëne says, "Traveling as frequently as I have been the past few years, I realized how important it is to create an experience for your customers. Sir Richard Branson has mastered this in every single way possible, which I experienced whilst flying with Virgin Atlantic. With every bit of attention to detail, I choose them time and again. From Upper class to Economy, there is no difference in service and I always feel at home."

Faces of Hope is privileged to have been chosen by Ettiëne Pretorius to help raise awareness for the organization. Faces of Hope foundation "seeks to raise funds for select cancer sufferers to help meet basic financial costs to cover their debilitating oncology treatment."- http://www.facesofhope.co.za

"Meeting with Sir Richard Branson was one thing, but knowing that this individual has changed the dynamics of entrepreneurship across the globe, living with one passion and goal in mind and changing the world, is a feeling of excitement, humbleness and growth. I am thrilled to have taken the step forward in doing something for a greater purpose and creating awareness for two causes I am personally passionate about," says Ettiëne.

To find out more about Ettiëne Pretorius visit his official webpage Ettiene Pretorius