With less than a month left to enter the 2014 Business Partners Limited / SME Toolkit SA Global Entrepreneurship Week’s Business Plan Competition, young and aspiring South African entrepreneurs are encouraged to take part in the national competition which aims to identify entrepreneurial talent in the country.
Now in its 5th year, the national competition is open to South Africans between the age of 18 and 35 that aspire to start a business, but haven’t started operating yet. The competition provides entrants with a springboard to succeed as an entrepreneur, and the opportunity to win Business Partners Limited Mentorship Programme support, an iPad or similar tablet, as well as a R20,000 cash prize.
The free-to-enter competition identifies entrants from various regions in South Africa, and once selected the entrants are invited to attend one of twelve regional business workshops on the intricacies of compiling a business plan and managing the many functions of running a business. Following this workshop each entrant will be invited to submit a business plan to the competition judging panel, and eight regional winners will be selected to compete for the national title. Regional winners will receive media exposure, and also win Mentorship Programme support.
According to Petro Bothma, Group Enterprise Development Manager for Business Partners Limited, the competition provides aspiring entrepreneurs with a platform to develop their entrepreneurial skills and abilities, especially during the workshop sessions. “By producing a credible business plan, young entrepreneurs are able to significantly enhance their ability to start operating and undoubtedly contribute to the future success of their business.”
Bothma explains that during the adjudicating process judges will be considering three key areas of each entry, namely business skills and whether, with mentoring, the young entrepreneur could apply their expertise to the specific business; industry risk and whether their business plan addressed the various risks; and lastly, if the business plan and financial projections are realistic and achievable.
She says that the national awards ceremony will be held in Johannesburg during Global Entrepreneurship Week, an annual global initiative celebrated from 17 – 23 November, which recognises entrepreneurs who bring ideas to life and drive economic growth. “Similar to this initiative, the competition emphasises that a more concerted effort should be made to inspire entrepreneurship as a career path. We believe that celebrating entrepreneurship and equipping the youth with the correct tools to succeed in the industry will have a significant impact on reducing unemployment and stimulating economic activity,” concludes Bothma.