According to the 2017/2018 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Report, 43% of South Africans perceived good entrepreneurial opportunities, yet only 11% of entrepreneurs were engaged in Total Early-stage Entrepreneurial Activity and had taken the steps to start a new business. Further to this, 31% of respondents had reported to have a fear of failure when starting a business.
Christo Botes, executive director of Business Partners Limited (BUSINESS/PARTNERS) says that this is something that can be remedied through accessible initiatives that equip aspiring entrepreneurs with the necessary knowledge, skills and support. “It is imperative that young entrepreneurs have all the resources they need to confidently take their ideas and turn them into viable businesses.”
With this in mind, the SME Toolkit BUSINESS/PARTNERS Business Plan Competition for Aspiring Young Entrepreneurs was developed eight years ago with the aim to assist young and ambitious individuals (aged 18 – 35 years old) who want to start their own businesses.
“The annual competition, which launched this year on 16 June 2018, consists of three phases, starting with a full-day workshop where entrants will be taught the intricacies of developing a sound business plan,” explains Botes. “The workshops, which will be hosted at different regions across South Africa, will also cover all the essential elements of starting a business, including business management, marketing, financial management and legal requirements.”
Botes says that the ability to develop a comprehensive business plan is the best way to improve an entrepreneur’s chances to succeed. “This plan should tell a clear story of why the business will be started, and how the business owner plans to steer it to profitability and sustainability. The growth of a business can be somewhat difficult to predict, and the business plan will also assist in identifying roadblocks and potholes along the way.”
Following the regional workshops, the entrants will draft their business plans and enter them as part of the second phase of the competition. From these plans, eight regional winners will be chosen to receive a mentorship support voucher to the value of R6000 each.
Utilising the skills and expertise of an experienced mentor is a great way to grow a start-up business, says Botes. “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. But the key characteristics of a mentor has to do with their experience, attitude and approach.”
Finally, the competition will culminate in an awards ceremony, where a national winner will be chosen and awarded a mentorship voucher worth R 12 000, a smart tablet and R 25 000 in seed funding.
“It is crucial to equip aspiring entrepreneurs with skills, technical abilities, training, knowledge and guidance through such workshops and mentorship opportunities as this contributes to the sustainability and prosperity of a small business,” conclude Botes.
To enter the SME Toolkit BUSINESS/PARTNERS Business Plan Competition for Aspiring Young Entrepreneurs, please visithttp://smetoolkit.businesspartners.co.za/. The competition launched on 16 June 2018 and the closing date for the first phase of the competition is 17:00 on Monday, 31 July 2018.
The workshops will take place in the following regions across South Africa: Johannesburg, Cape Town, Pretoria, Durban, Polokwane, Kimberley, Bloemfontein, East London and Port Elizabeth (provided enough entries are received in each area) and will take place from 15 to 24 August 2018.