Business plan contest broadens scope, goes virtual

09 September 2020 | Web Article Number: ME202020439

Commerce & Trade
Education & Training
ICT In Industry
SMME Development & Support

IN an effort to broaden its positive impact during the coronavirus pandemic, Business Partners has expanded the scope of its annual SMME toolkit and business plan competition to include aspiring entrepreneurs of all ages.

“Unlike previous years when the competition was only open to those between the ages of 18 and 35, this year entrepreneurs of all ages are encouraged to enter,” said Petro Bothma, the Group Enterprise Development Manager at the financier for small and medium owner-managed formal businesses.

“The competition process will also be facilitated entirely online, via Facebook and Microsoft Teams, meaning that access to the internet is now essential,” she added.

Participants will be provided with training material on how to develop a business plan, marketing and a cash flow forecast, and will be able to participate in online workshops and group discussions before submitting business plans.

Based on these business plans, 10 regional winners will be selected at the end of October and will each receive mentorship assistance from leading business experts to the value of R10 000, which will assist them to develop their business plans further and get their businesses started. Finally, from this pool of regional winners, one overall national winner will be announced in November 2020 and walk away with a further mentorship voucher worth R20 000, as well as a cash price of R30 000.

David Morobe, Executive General Manager for Impact Investing at Business Partners said this competition differs from others in that even participants who don’t win still receive support to aid their entrepreneurial journey.

“The training workshops are renowned for being extremely motivating, and the competition has spurred hundreds of young entrepreneurs to put their ideas into action – something the country so desperately needs now, given our dire economic landscape.”

He encouraged all aspiring entrepreneurs – even those who are not sure if they’re ready to take the leap – to enter and take part in this free competition.

“The training material and workshops will provide an extensive overview of what starting a business really entails, which offers clarity to those who may be doubtful on whether this is the right path for them to take,” Morobe said.

An online competition entry form is available on the SME Toolkit’s website. The closing date to enter is 11pm on 31 September 2020.

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