Call­ing all bud­ding en­trepreneurs

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The 2017 SME Tool­kit BUSI­NESS/PART­NERS Busi­ness Plan Com­pe­ti­tion for As­pir­ing Young En­trepreneurs is open for en­tries. Hav­ing al­ready suc­cess­fully spring-boarded hun­dreds of young en­trepreneurs over the past seven years, the 2017 SME Tool­kit BUSI­NESS/PART­NERS com­pe­ti­tion will once again pro­vide the op­por­tu­nity for young and am­bi­tious in­di­vid­u­als aged 18 to 35 to try their hand at en­trepreneur­ship by pro­vid­ing free busi­ness train­ing.

The eight re­gional win­ners and one over­all win­ner will re­ceive cash prizes and vouch­ers for men­tor­ship ses­sions from lead­ing busi­ness ex­perts.

The com­pe­ti­tion com­prises three phases. The first is a full-day work­shop which equips all can­di­dates with the nec­es­sary knowl­edge to com­pile a busi­ness plan. All the es­sen­tial el­e­ments of start­ing a busi­ness will be dis­cussed, in­clud­ing fi­nan­cial man­age­ment, mar­ket­ing, le­gal con­sid­er­a­tions and em­ploy­ment is­sues.

Dur­ing the sec­ond phase, par­tic­i­pants are re­quired to draft and sub­mit their busi­ness plans, which a panel of judges will eval­u­ate. Eight re­gional win­ners will then be se­lected and each will be awarded men­tor­ship ses­sions worth R6 000, which will as­sist them to de­velop their busi­ness plans fur­ther and get their busi­nesses started.

The third and fi­nal phase of the com­pe­ti­tion cul­mi­nates dur­ing Global En­trepreneur­ship Week, which takes place from Novem­ber 13 to 17. One of the re­gional win­ners will be named the over­all, na­tional win­ner.

The na­tional prize in­cludes R25 000 in cash, a men­tor­ship voucher worth R12 000 and a smart tablet or sim­i­lar gad­get.

Christo Botes, the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor at Busi­ness Part­ners Limited, a specialist risk fi­nance com­pany for for­mal small and medium en­ter­prises, says this com­pe­ti­tion dif­fers from oth­ers in that even par­tic­i­pants who don’t win will re­ceive sup­port to aid their en­tre­pre­neur­ial jour­ney.

“In pre­vi­ous years, all en­trants have found the work­shops to be ex­tremely mo­ti­vat­ing, and the com­pe­ti­tion has spurred hun­dreds of young en­trepreneurs to put their ideas into ac­tion as of­ten, it is the lack of this busi­ness know-how that pre­vents young en­trepreneurs from trans­lat­ing their busi­ness idea into an ac­tual trad­ing busi­ness.

“Dur­ing these highly re­garded ses­sions, par­tic­i­pants are also able to meet other like-minded young peo­ple, ex­change ideas and get to start use­ful busi­ness net­works.”

To en­ter the SME Tool­kit BUSI­NESS/PART­NERS Busi­ness Plan Com­pe­ti­tion for As­pir­ing Young En­trepreneurs, please visit http://southafrica.sme­toolkit.org/ The clos­ing date for the first phase of the com­pe­ti­tion is 5pm on Mon­day, July 31

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