Con­test aims to help city en­trepreneurs

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - BUSINESS - JU­NIOR BESTER

AS­PIR­ING Cape Town en­trepreneurs have the chance of a life­time which will al­low them to see their busi­ness plans be­come a re­al­ity.

This is be­ing made pos­si­ble by the Small En­ter­prise De­vel­op­ment Agency’s (Seda) Small Busi­ness Star com­pe­ti­tion.

Launched in Oc­to­ber, the con­test not only en­cour­ages as­pir­ing en­trepreneurs to en­ter, but also to reg­is­ter for free train­ing and guid­ance at any Seda branch.

Seda chief ex­ec­u­tive Hlonela Lupuwana said the main aim with the Small Busi­ness Stars com­pe­ti­tion was to pro­vide “real value for the en­tire en­trant base”.

All en­trants would re­ceive ac­cess to free spe­cialised train­ing, de­signed to strengthen their knowl­edge of sound busi­ness prin­ci­ples, which they could then ap­ply to their busi­ness plans go­ing for­ward.

Prizes worth more than R4 mil­lion are up for grabs, in­clud­ing a R50 000 cash prize for the over­all win­ner, to­gether with lap­tops and soft­ware pro­grammes for run­ners-up.

Dr Robin Stead, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the SA In­sti­tute for En­trepreneur­ship (SAIE), said that de­spite the high price tag at­tached to the prizes, it was the free, in­ten­sive and spe­cially de­vel­oped train­ing avail­able at Seda branches in all nine prov­inces that truly dif­fer­en­ti­ated this com­pe­ti­tion from oth­ers like it.

Seda has awarded ten­ders to the SAIE, to­gether with spe­cialised small busi­ness de­vel­op­ment con­sul­tancy Trac­tion, to run the com­pe­ti­tion.

While fund­ing was cer­tainly crit­i­cal to the suc­cess of a start- up ven­ture, “the strength of the busi­ness plan will ul­ti­mately de­fine the sus­tain­abil­ity of a busi­ness model”, Stead said.

He added that the train­ing was de­signed to en­sure that all can­di­dates were fully equipped to be able to con­struct busi­ness plans that suited their longterm vi­sions and goals.

The com­pe­ti­tion was planned to ful­fil the po­ten­tial of en­trepreneurs, pro­vid­ing them with a way to make plans that are more struc­tured, said Stead.

Lupuwana said pas­sion and busi­ness acu­men were ob­vi­ously im­por­tant in any startup busi­ness.

How­ever, he said, busi- nesses too of­ten failed be­cause their own­ers had not care­fully thought through how their busi­nesses would ac­tu­ally oper­ate “and made in­ad­e­quate prepa­ra­tions for po­ten­tial pit­falls”.

En­try to the com­pe­ti­tion is avail­able exclusively online on the Seda web­site at www.seda.org.za

Lupuwana said the online en­try sys­tem had been de­signed to max­imise se­cu­rity.

“We can en­sure to­tal con­fi­den­tial­ity of busi­ness plans online.

“It is far more dif­fi­cult to pro­tect printed busi­ness plans, es­pe­cially given the fact that our judges are lo­cated all over South Africa.”

The en­tries close on Jan­uary 31 next year and the win­ner will be an­nounced in early

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