The unemployment rate in South Africa has risen to an all-time high of 32.6%, according to the latest figures released by Stats SA. Among the differing opinions on possible solutions to this dilemma is a push from both the public and private sectors towards entrepreneurship. A greater focus on entrepreneurship would accelerate the development of more small businesses, which are at the core of South Africa’s inclusive economy as espoused in the National Development Plan (NDP) 2030.
The NDP was initiated to significantly reduce inequality in South Africa by 2030 “through uniting South Africans, unleashing the energies of its citizens, and growing an inclusive economy”.
It is within this context that specialist business finance company, Business Partners Limited, is launching the 2021 edition of the SME Toolkit-Business Partners Ltd Business Plan Competition for Aspiring Entrepreneurs. Now in its 12th consecutive year, the competition gives aspiring entrepreneurs the opportunity to learn how to start a business through free training, access to mentorship and the chance to win a cash prize to fund the launch of their business.
As David Morobe, Executive General Manager of Impact Investing at Business Partners Limited explains: “This is the time for South Africans to take the leap and start their own businesses and become employers within their communities. It is the collective responsibility of the public and private sectors to create an economic and social environment that is conducive to this development, and this competition is one way to build towards that goal.”
Aspiring entrepreneurs of all ages are encouraged to enter and by doing so, have access to support offered through online workshops and support groups. In compliance with the current COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, the 2021 competition process will be facilitated via online platforms Facebook, WhatsApp and Microsoft Teams/Zoom, meaning that access to the internet is essential for all applicants.
Participants will be provided with training material on how to develop a business plan, a marketing strategy, and a cash flow forecast, and will be able to participate in online workshops and group discussions before submitting their business plan.
Business plans will be assessed and adjudicated, and six finalists will be selected, winning mentorship vouchers to the value of R10 000 each. The finalists will proceed to the national adjudication and an overall national winner, and runners-up will be announced. Prizes include vouchers to receive mentorship assistance from leading business experts for finalists, and for the winner, a further mentorship voucher, as well as a cash prize of R30 000.
“This competition provides the perfect platform for individuals to test whether their business idea is viable, so we encourage everyone to enter, whether they’re sure of wanting to take the leap into entrepreneurship or if they’re just looking for an expert opinion on whether their idea can work. Last year we saw entrants of a very high calibre with exciting ideas including our national winner with their peer-to-peer online tutoring business. We’re looking forward to welcoming even more innovative ideas this year,” said Petro Bothma, Group Enterprise Development Manager at Business Partners Limited.
To enter the SME Toolkit-Business Partners Ltd Business Plan Competition for Aspiring Entrepreneurs, please complete this online entry form. The closing date to enter is 15 August 2021.
Workshops will be hosted during the month of August and September 2021 and Business Plans must be submitted by 30 November 2021. The regional finalists will be announced during January 2022 and the overall, national winner will be announced in February 2022.