R1.3m prize to help small, medium businesses

Black-owned small and medium enterprise businesses that have been operating for more than two years stand a chance to win up to R1.3-million in business development from the Eskom business investment competition (BIC).

The competition is open to enterprises operating in the manufacturing, engineering/ construction, trade/services, agri-processing and agricultural sectors throughout the country.

Entries close tomorrow.

Last year the competition, which has been running since 2009, saw over 130 entries from the Eastern Cape, with 96 finalists meeting all the requirements to make it through the adjudication process.

Two businesses from the Eastern Cape scooped first runner-up positions for different categories, walking away with R100000 in total.

One was Port Elizabeth-based LAN Telecoms, which specialises in optic fibre, radio frequency and network safety, providing services for Vodacom and Telkom. Owner Anda Maqanda scooped the title in the engineering and construction category.

The other was Sibongile Booi’s company Second Office, which took the title in the trade and service category. She offers office space and provides secretarial services to her clients.

The Eskom Foundation earlier this year appealed to entrepreneurs to apply for the life-changing competition.

Overall 2016 BIC winner Nomcebo Printers from Lydenburg, Mpumalanga, owned by Nomcebo Sibanyoni, said taking part in the competition had given her a chance to reflect on her entrepreneurial journey.

“I encourage all small businesses that qualify to enter and not doubt themselves as they could be pleasantly surprised.”

Nomcebo Printers does graphic design, printing, heat pressing and manufacturing of branded log and invoice books.

The report states that the BIC initiative aims to recognise and reward small businesses that contribute to skills development, job creation and economic growth.

“The Foundation launched the annual Eskom Business Investment Competition in 2009 with a view to recognise, reward and inspire small businesses that are significantly contributing to the fight against South Africa’s biggest socioeconomic challenges – unemployment and poverty.

“We reward outstanding work in entrepreneurship and encourage small and medium enterprises to thrive and lead the country’s economic development.

“The competition is open to South African, black-owned and registered enterprises that have operated for more than 24 months and offers R1.3-million worth of prizes. The competition helps enterprises move to the next level. Over and above the financial rewards, business skills and training are provided to contribute towards sustainability.”

Prizes include a cash component to invest into the business, as well as a series of training workshops to gain important business skills. In addition, all finalists are given fully subsidised exhibition space at the annual three-day Small Business Expo held at the Ticketpro Dome in Johannesburg.

For more information on how to enter the 2017 Eskom Business Investment Competition, small business owners can visit www.eskombic.co.za for details. — mbalit@dispatch.co.za

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