SA’s Business Partners opens young entrepreneur business plan competition

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South African risk financier Business Partners has launched the 2016 edition of its SME Toolkit BUSINESS/PARTNERS Business Plan Competition for Aspiring Young Entrepreneurs, with 900 entrepreneurs to receive training on business plan formulation, and one entrepreneur to win over ZAR37,000 (US$2,507) in prizes.

The competition is formed of three phases. First, candidates will be invited to a full-day workshop learning skills relating to all the elements of building a business, including financial management, marketing, legal considerations and employment issues. At the workshop, candidates will be taught how to compile a business plan.

This first phase of the competition has been expanded to allow 900 candidates to participate this year, up from 400 in last year’s edition.

In the second phase, participants draft and submit their business plans, which will be evaluated by a panel of judges. Eight regional winners will then be selected to receive mentorship sessions worth ZAR6,000 (US$407), which will assist them to develop their business plans and get their businesses started.

The final phase of the competition will see one of the regional winners named national winner during Global Entrepreneurship Week in November.

The national prize includes ZAR25,000 (US$2,693) in cash, mentorship worth ZAR12,000 (US$813), and a smart tablet.

According to executive director of Business Partners, Christo Botes, research conducted by the company reveals the number of youth entrepreneurs is in decline in South Africa, with youth entrepreneurs numbering 609, 000 in 2009, down to 543,000 in 2014.

Botes says that in order to reverse this trend, South African youth need to be equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to start and run a micro or small business, and this is what has prompted Business Partners decision to scale up its competition.

“Many youth possess an entrepreneurial mind-set but either simply don’t have the necessary skills or access to resources to take a business idea and turn it into a successful start-up business,” Botes says.

The competition is open to South African citizens aged between 18 and 35, with business ideas which have not started operation.

Application information is available here.

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Inspired and excited by the African tech entrepreneurial scene, Gabriella spends her time travelling around the continent to report on the most innovative tech startups, the most active investors, and the latest trends emerging in the ecosystem.

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