Competition to give entrepreneurs a jump-start

David Morobe of Business Partners Limited says start-up entrepreneurs need to be supported now more than ever.
David Morobe of Business Partners Limited says start-up entrepreneurs need to be supported now more than ever.
Image: SUPPLIED

Entrepreneurial businesses, from micro to massive, have long been touted as the solution to South Africa’s joblessness, with the possibility of creating as many of 70% of the jobs.

Essential to this would be getting the youth involved in start-ups, but it takes far more than encouragement. Embryonic entrepreneurs need both opportunity and training, says David Morobe, executive GM for impact investing at Business Partners Limited (BPL).

“The 11th annual PBL SME business plan competition for aspiring entrepreneurs is now open for entries and offers a great opportunity for people to get equipped with the skills and knowledge to start and run their own micro or small businesses.”

He said building entrepreneurs was critical at a time when Covid-19 woes created unemployment of 30%, and the SA Reserve Bank forecast a 40.1% economy contraction, the worst since at least 1990.

... this competition will once again assist ambitious individuals who want to start their own businesses, by providing free business training

“Having successfully jump-started hundreds of young entrepreneurs over the past decade, this competition will once again assist ambitious individuals who want to start their own businesses, by providing free business training.”

Future entrepreneurs entering the competition could turn their ideas into a viable business with free online training.

He said the main difference to the 2019 competition is that everything will be online. This includes training material on how to develop a business plan, marketing and a cash flow forecast, as well as participation in online workshops and group discussions, all leading up to producing a business plan.

“Based on these business plans, 10 regional winners will be selected at the end of October and will receive mentorship assistance from leading business experts, to the value of R10,000.

An overall winner will be announced in November and will walk away with a further mentorship voucher worth R20,000, as well as a cash prize of R30,000

“An overall winner will be announced in November and will walk away with a further mentorship voucher worth R20,000, as well as a cash prize of R30,000.

“After submitting the online entry, training material will be provided to each participant, as well as access to selected mentors to assist with questions resulting from this.”

Mthatha-born and East London schooled Yamkela Njingolo said she has had first-hand experience of the almost insurmountable challenges facing young people who want to become business owners.

“For as long as I can remember my ambition was to start my own business. So once I completed matric in 2013, I studied events management and business administration, and simultaneously registered my first business, Yuanji Occasions.”

She said her activities as an activist and advocate for women and youth empowerment resulted in her launching the Boss Babes Movement SA in 2016. The movement focused on women getting equal treatment to men in business.

“It made a few waves, particularly in Eastern Cape, and got media attention from seven local radio interviews, two newspaper articles and a television interview, as well as public support.”

Two years ago she moved to Johannesburg, relocating her new MadamNji PR and marketing firm.

I left EL for personal and business opportunities that arose, but I remain incredibly passionate about my home province

“I left EL for personal and business opportunities that arose, but I remain incredibly passionate about my home province.”

She said expecting youngsters to glide into entrepreneurship is a tough ask. Aside from all the business skills and capital, most people need a lucky break.

Her slice of fortune came in July when her company was appointed in a new role as a Play Your Part (PYP) Ambassador for Brand SA, but it took seven years of hard work and many disappointments along the way.

Her first PYP campaign was channelling opportunities and interventions in Eastern Cape to upscale budding youth and women small business entrepreneurs to build sustainability.

“We need to lessen this notion of only seeking tender opportunities but rather building sustainable businesses which will birth employment opportunities. It is not government’s responsibility to create jobs, but rather their responsibility to create an enabling environment for job creation.”

To enter the BPL competition, Google “Business Partners SME Toolkit”. The closing date to enter is September 30.


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