Aspiring young SA entrepreneurs celebrated
|Christo Botes and Lebohang Selloane|
Now in its 6th year, the competition seeks to equip passionate and enthusiastic youth with the knowledge to turn their business idea into a reality. Aspiring entrepreneurs – between 18 and 35 – were encouraged to submit their business idea and attend one of nine regional workshops across the country to learn the complexities of compiling a business plan and managing the many functions of running a business. Following this, each young entrepreneur was invited to submit a formal business plan to a judging panel.
Selloane, based in the Free State, is a Diagnostic Radiography graduate who is currently pursuing her MBA. The 28 year-old’s winning idea is based on an onsite mobile X-ray services business called Visionary X-rays. The business will provide onsite mobile tuberculosis (TB) screening services, by making use of X-ray equipment installed inside a trailer, to employees and family members of businesses operating in the mining, manufacturing and construction sectors, who are prone to occupational lung diseases and are residing in areas considered “unreachable” with little or no access to quality healthcare services.
Petro Bothma, Group Enterprise Development Manager at Business Partners, says that the competitive advantage of the business model is that it will provide unlimited access to its customer as, unlike clinics and hospitals, it will not be fixed in one place.
This year the competition received over 211 entries initially, and, after completion of the workshops, 65 business plans were received for judging, from which seven regional winners were selected to contend for the overall national title.
Other regional winners, and finalists for the national awards, include:
Tshepiso Molepo of Pure Bottles Packaging (Greater Johannesburg regional winner)
Molepo’s resourceful informal network of bottle collectors gather, hygienically cleans and sterilize used glass bottles for commercial re-use purposes which are then re-sold to major brands in the beverage, pharmaceutical and food industries.
Sinethemba Mthombeni of MADib-ED (Greater Pretoria area winner)
MADib-ED (Madiba day Every Day) is an online news platform that aims to showcase organisations giving back to the communities in which they operate, thereby helping them build a favourable image in the eyes of their target market(s).
Bhekithemba Mkhonza of Indalo Funeral Services (Mpumalanga area winner)
Mkhonza seeks to provide his community and surrounding areas personalised and professional funeral services that ensure dignified funerals at lower prices.
Delvin Malatji of Eco-Visor (Limpopo area winner)
Malatji is currently developing an innovative, water-preserving Eco-Visor product targeted at rural areas to counter water shortages, as well as ensure that water is used sparingly in these dry environments.
Nombuyiselo Mkhize of Zithathe Hub (Eastern Cape/ KwaZulu-Natal regional winner)
Zithathe Hub is a non-profit organisation aimed at nurturing and supporting young people in becoming successful entrepreneurs through a youth-based incubation programme; Zithathe Hub Incubation Programme strategically targets unemployed matriculants and those who dropped out of high school.
Tania Cunningham of Yaldi Health (Western Cape regional winner)
Cunningham seeks to provide convenience food to young working professionals who have busy lifestyles and aspire to live healthier through mobile health food trucks that sell a range of tasty, healthy and affordable food.
|Some of the 2015 finalists with the sponsors at the awards ceremony|
In addition to receiving expert knowledge to establish their business, each regional winner will receive a R5 000 mentorship support voucher from Business Partners, with the overall winner receiving an additional R10 000 mentorship support voucher, R20 000 cash prize and a smart tablet.
Bothma says the calibre of entrants this year was exceptional, and possessed the entrepreneurial spirit that is necessary for job creation in an environment plagued with a high unemployment rate.
She said the judges considered various factors to select an overall winner, namely business acumen and skills that the entrepreneur could apply with mentoring, to the specific business concept. They also judged industry knowledge and risk, and whether the business plan had assessed these risks, as well as the viability of the business plan and whether it is realistic and achievable.
Bothma says that many businesses fail due to a lack of a comprehensive business plan and understanding of the business environment, and that there is a critical need for assistance and knowledge in this area. “The competition’s workshops therefore cover business plan-related topics and intricacies, such as financial planning, compiling marketing and operational plans, and cash flow and risk management.
Bothma stressed that not only does the competition ensure these bright entrepreneurs have the skills needed to develop their business, but that they are profiled to the public. “We don’t profile entrepreneurs enough, especially young entrepreneurs, and we need to. The youth need to see that success through entrepreneurship is achievable and be encouraged to follow in their peers’ footsteps.”