Business & Industry Competition to give eager self-starters a jump-start

Competition to give eager self-starters a jump-start

The 11th annual BPL SME business plan competition for aspiring entrepreneurs is now open for entries.

Getting the youth involved in entrepreneurial businesses is one solution for SA’s high unemployment rate.

But David Morobe, executive GM for impact investing at Business Partners Limited, says this will need far more than just encouragement – these future entrepreneurs need both opportunity and training.

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He says building entrepreneurs is critical at a time when Covid-19 has seen jobs being lost and the SA Reserve Bank forecasts a 40.1% economy contraction, the worst since at least 1990, DispatchLIVE reports

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

“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.”

Would-be entrepreneurs who enter have a shot at turning their bright ideas into viable businesses with free online training.

The big difference to the 2019 competition is that everything will be online, from training material on how to develop a business plan, marketing and a cash flow forecast, to 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,” Morobe told DispatchLIVE. 

The overall winner will be announced in November and will earn a further mentorship voucher worth R20,000, as well as a cash prize of R30,000.

After submitting an online entry, training material is provided to each participant and they get access to selected mentors to assist with questions.

The 11th annual BPL SME business plan competition

Mthatha-born Yamkela Njingolo has first-hand experience of the challenges facing young people wanting 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.”

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

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

She says expecting youngsters to glide into entrepreneurship is difficult because, besides business skills and capital, often a lucky break is what’s needed. 

Her break 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 to get there. 

Her first PYP campaign was focussed on Eastern Cape youth and women small business entrepreneurs.

The Business Partners Limited competition is an opportunity for eager future entrepreneurs to get access to valuable skills and mentoring. To enter, Google “Business Partners SME Toolkit”.

The closing date for entries is September 30.