During his first State of the Nation Address, President Cyril Ramaphosa emphasised that the growth of the economy will be sustained by small businesses, as in the case of many countries. When viewed in light of South Africa’s economy contracting by 3.2 percent in the first three months of 2019, Ben Bierman, Managing Director at BUSINESS/PARTNERS, says that this is a situation that can only be remedied by the robust development of young entrepreneurs.
“When you consider that the economic output of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in South Africa is estimated at 52% of GDP, SMEs are clearly the driving force of South Africa’s economy and nurturing entrepreneurial talent will help emerging businesses succeed faster,” he says.
The 10th annual SME Toolkit BUSINESS/PARTNERS Business Plan Competition for Aspiring Young Entrepreneurs aims to assist young and ambitious individuals (aged 18 – 35 years old) who want to start their own businesses.
“The annual competition, which launched on 16 June 2019, consists of three phases, starting with a full-day workshop where entrants will be taught the intricacies of developing a comprehensive business plan,” explains Petro Bothma, the Group Enterprise Development Manager at BUSINESS/PARTNERS.
“The workshops, which will be hosted in different regions across South Africa, will cover all the essential elements of starting a business, including business management, marketing, financial management and legal requirements.”
Following the regional workshops, the participants will draft their own business plan and enter it as part of the second phase of the competition. From these plans, regional winners will be chosen who will receive a mentorship support voucher to the value of R10 000 each at regional award ceremonies and go through as finalists to the third phase of the competition.
Drawing from the skills and expertise of an experienced mentor is a great way to grow a start-up business, says Bierman. “A mentor can play any number of roles – sometimes that of strategic adviser, technical expert or business consultant, and sometimes all of them at once.”
The competition will culminate in an awards ceremony that will take place in Johannesburg on Tuesday 26 November, where a national winner will be announced and awarded a further R20 000 mentorship voucher, R 30 000 cash and a goodie bag comprising of various sponsored prizes.
“It is crucial to equip aspiring entrepreneurs with skills, technical abilities, training, knowledge and guidance, as this upskilling contributes to enhanced prosperity of our country,” concludes Bierman.