“Always show up, no matter what”

Daniel Kahn - serial entrepreneur, marketer, ad-man and vocal supporter of the Firstwatch Entrepreneur's Challenge

Entries for the Firstwatch Entrepreneurial Challenge 2021 are now open nationwide. The challenge provides dynamic young South African entrepreneurs with an opportunity to win R50 000 in cash and business support. Daniel Kahn, serial entrepreneur, marketer, ad-man and vocal supporter of the challenge, shares some insight into why it’s important to celebrate entrepreneurship in the current economic climate, and why entrepreneurial initiatives from big brands matter.

’Passion equals drive, drive equals determination, and enough determination equals success’”, says Daniel, opening the conversation with a quote from American business leader, Anette Sandberg, adding: “Business wrapped in passion is  what entrepreneurship is all about. And we hope to bring this to the surface by giving local entrepreneurs a chance to excel.

He continues, “There is an entire culture of entrepreneurship that forms the very heart of South African communities. Having worked in townships across provinces over the years and witnessed our country’s entrepreneurial spirit first-hand, it’s so exciting to see how everyday people in South Africa are prepared to find innovative ways of making a living. The Firstwatch Entrepreneurs Challenge aims to celebrate this spirit and provide entrepreneurs with a chance to grow their businesses and enrich their communities in the process”.

The Firstwatch Entrepreneurs Challenge comprises a national selection panel, which will hand-pick 160 people to join an intensive two-day workshop. The workshop encompasses robust, hands-on experiential learning with some of the country’s leading business experts. It will also be supported by a podcast series featuring entrepreneurial Ambassadors from four provinces.

At the end of the workshop, the entrepreneurs will be given an opportunity to pitch their businesses to the panel for a chance to win the R 50 000 in cash and business support, and the title of Firstwatch Entrepreneurial Challenge Winner for 2021.

“The workshop modules will cover Passion and Purpose, Marketing and Sales, Finance, and Leadership and Pitching, plus there is an invaluable opportunity to grow a network among likeminded entrepreneurs and business leaders. In our current climate, we need big brands to be proactive about supporting our national culture of entrepreneurship, especially since times have been so hard on the small business centre. Our aim is to make a long-term impact for every entrepreneur that is selected here,” says Daniel.

Daniel adds, “COVID was hard on many of us, and particularly small-to-medium start-up enterprise owners. Providing a platform that allows motivated people in this sector to grow their businesses has a knock-on effect in communities and ultimately, the economy. It’s not only the winner of the competition who benefits in this case. All 160 entrepreneurs who take part will gain important skills and tools that can help get their businesses thriving in the long-term.

On what exactly entrepreneurs are expected to bring to the table in order to contend for the grand prize, Daniel concludes, “The most important piece of advice is, that we want to see highly motivated people who ‘keep showing up’, no matter what and have a clear why.

“We are looking for the next generation of South African innovators in business whose passion for success overcomes any challenges they face. And the big difference Firstwatch will make for them is that every person who makes it through to the 160 selected will receive personal attention, not only from great business minds, but from people who care and are truly invested in the South African spirit of entrepreneurship themselves”.

Good luck to all the future business leaders that will be among the lucky 160 handpicked to compete for the title of Firstwatch Entrepreneurial Challenge Winner for 2021.