Contest aims to help city entrepreneurs
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