The launch of Seda’s (Small Enterprise Development Agency) Small Business Stars will not only give entrepreneurs a chance to win great prizes to boost the launch of their business, but will also provide insight and guidance on putting together a comprehensive business plan.
The competition runs from 17 October until 11 April 2012, and aims to drive sustainable venture creation at a provincial and national level, by providing small business owners – who often struggle to survive after launching into business unprepared – with a more systematic approach to business planning.
“Traditionally, business competitions receive thousands of entries, but only end up benefiting the few who ultimately take home the top prize,” says Seda’s CEO, Hlonela Lupuwana. “Our aim with Seda Small Business Stars is to provide real value for the entire entrant base, all of whom will receive access to free specialised training, designed to strengthen their knowledge of sound business principles, which they can then apply to their business plans going forward.”
Entrants can register for this free training at any Seda branch.
Up for grabs
Despite over R4 million worth of prizes on offer, including laptops and software for all winners, as well as a R50 000 cash prize for the overall winner, it is this free, intensive and specially developed training, available at Seda branches across all nine provinces, that truly differentiates Seda Small Business Stars from its predecessors, says Dr. Robin Stead, CEO of the SA Institute for Entrepreneurship (SAIE).
“Whilst funding is 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,” says Stead. “This training is designed to ensure that all candidates are best equipped to devise realistic plans that can be successfully implemented with a long-term vision in mind.”
Entry to the competition takes place exclusively via the online competition system on the Seda website, thus protecting business plan confidentiality, and allowing entrants to work on their entries irrespective of their location.
The competition will be adjudicated by a panel recruited from top business development agencies and service providers. The judging process will identify 20 national business idea winners and 20 existing business winners, all of whom will receive their share of more than R400 000 in cash, as well as laptops and Seda business support to the value of up to R60 000 each.
Special prizes will also be presented to the best woman entrepreneur, the best youth entrepreneur, the best disabled entrepreneur and the best ‘job-creating’ entrepreneur.
The competition is open to any South African citizen over the age of 18 with a business idea or existing small business. From the 17th of October, candidates will be able to register on the competition website, and download the business plan template to prepare their entry. On-line entries will open from the end of October. Entries close on 31 January, 2012.