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Young Techpreneur Awarded For Wow-Factor

The competition aims to encourage, assist and inspire South Africa’s youth to start their own businesses as a means to reduce the country’s high unemployment rate by promoting entrepreneurship as a viable career choice.

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Innovative techpreneur, Khomotso Malakalaka, was announced as the national winner of the 2018 SME Toolkit BUSINESS/PARTNERS Business Plan Competition for Aspiring Young Entrepreneurs – a competition that saw 800 young aspiring entrepreneurs attend business planning workshops across the country to equip them with the necessary skills and tools to turn their business idea into a reality.

The competition aims to encourage, assist and inspire South Africa’s youth to start their own businesses as a means to reduce the country’s high unemployment rate by promoting entrepreneurship as a viable career choice.

However, according to Petro Bothma, Enterprise Development Manager at Business Partners Limited (BUSINESS/PARTNERS), who was speaking at the awards ceremony held this morning in Johannesburg, in order to do this, it is crucial that aspiring entrepreneurs be taught the essentials of starting a business, such as developing a business plan.

“This year, the competition saw an increase of entrants, especially from the country’s smaller cities, which is testament to entrepreneurship becoming a more popular career path throughout South Africa and not just in the larger metros,” says Bothma.

“It is for this reason that 11 regional winners were chosen as opposed to the usual eight – with the exceptionally high calibre of the submitted business plans following the workshops, it was an extremely tough competition to judge.”

Related: 10 Young Entrepreneurs Under 30 Share Their Start-Up Secrets

Malakalaka was awarded the national prize for her business plan for her Polokwane-based online grocery shopping and delivery start-up, The GoodGrocer, which ultimately exuded the ‘wow-factor’, explains Bothma. “The GoodGrocer will offer services that take advantage of the growing customer demand for e-commerce by providing a convenient and high-quality service, whilst taking into account its customers’ lifestyle needs and catering to the essential requirement of hassle-free, easy, and convenient online grocery shopping.

“The business plan submitted by Malakalaka was an outstanding representation of her start-up, showing great attention to detail and ultimately, the viability of the business. Set to begin trading in 2019, Malakalaka ensured that all her bases are covered and that the foundation for her business is in place. This, combined with her passion and her enthusiasm all played a role in her win,” says Bothma.

When selecting the national winner, the judges consider the quality of the business plan, the level of innovation, viability of the business concept, entrepreneurial ability and whether the aspiring entrepreneur is in fact ready to become a business owner in terms of their leadership skills and suitability to mentorship.

For being crowned the national winner of the 2018 SME Toolkit BUSINESS/PARTNERS Business Plan Competition for Aspiring Young Entrepreneurs, Malakalaka will receive R25 000 in seed capital for her business, a mentorship voucher valued at R12 000, a smart tablet and goodie bag.

Now in its ninth year, Bothma says that the competition continues to be a great journey and that she looks forward to working with South Africa’s youth each year.

“The younger generation is filled with such passion, enthusiasm and hope, and our aim remains to continually support and channel this passion in order to help them to make their dreams a reality through the competition.”

Related: Funding And Resources For Young SA Entrepreneurs

Below is the list of all the 2018 regional winners; each won a mentorship voucher valued at R6 000: 

Ayanda Jiyane – Hair Reconstructioners (KwaZulu-Natal)

At present, Jiyane has been operating out of her home or by traveling to her clients’ homes. However, once Hair Reconstructioners has been more formally established, it will offer a variety of hair services, including braids, twists, freehand, hair relaxing, hair treatments, hair washing, and weaves. Additionally, within three years of operation, Jiyane aims to add a spa to the business’s model, as well as start a mobile salon. 

Frans Mpholo – Orange Berry ICT solutions (Free State):

Orange Berry ICT solutions is an internet café business which, once established in Kroonstad, will provide fast, reliable, and cost-effective internet access and services in the community; sell reasonably-priced, high-quality computer peripherals; increase the number of computer users in the area; provide locally- and internationally-recognised skills and training services; and attain and maintain a strong business presence in the province. 

Lucky Shabalala – Entertainment Neighborhood (Johannesburg):

Entertainment Neighborhood provides the use of video gaming facilities at R10 per hour to individuals from low-income households in the townships of Vereeniging. Shabalala started the company by using his personal gaming console which he set up outside a local hair salon. Today, Entertainment Neighborhood consists of eight PlayStation 4 consoles, eight UHD TVs, and 32 video games.

Moloko Goodwill and Michael Manaswe – PUREPONICS AQUAPONICS (North West):

Aquaponics is a sustainable agricultural practice combining hydroponics (the growing of plants in water) with aquaculture (the farming of aquatic organisms). Through this practice, Goodwill and Manaswe aim for PUREPONICS AQUAPONICS to produce and supply affordable, organic fish and vegetables to restaurants, supermarkets, grocers, schools, and other health- and eco-conscious institutions and consumers. 

Nyaniseka Mxinwa and Noluthando Yolanda Funani – Buyel’mbo Innovative Services (East London):

Founded in 2016, and based in East London, the company’s services include the supply of processed timber to commercial clients, local retailers, and events coordinators, as well as the supply of untreated poles to various clients in the bigger Eastern Cape region.

Puseletso Patience Phoku – Panache Entertainment Agency (Mpumalanga)

Established in 2015 and based in Mbombela, Panache Entertainment Agency’s primary services include the recruitment and job placements of models, as well as establishing partnerships with marketing companies and sales representatives of local and international brands requiring brand activation services and promotions.

Shaidat Aroyewun – 1in Town (Port Elizabeth)

At present, Aroyewun designs and manufactures small clothing orders for family and friends. However, once the business is established, 1in Town will stock and supply a variety of fabrics and material designs to designers and tailors in Port Elizabeth and surrounds. The company will also design and make clothing for children aged 10 and lower, unique and custom-made burkas for Muslim women, as well as various types of caps. 

Siphelo Sikolisi, Thembile Ndlondlo, Khululwe Tintelo, and Mphindeleli Qalazive – AutoPrecision Engineering (Western Cape)

AutoPrecision Engineering will largely be owner-operated and managed, with each of the owners being responsible for various business operations including marketing and sales, occupational health and safety, project management and machinery maintenance, as well as administrative functions. Once established, AutoPrecision Engineering’s services will include cylinder head reconditioning, cylinder reboring, crankshaft grinding, and cylinder head skimming, among others.

Takalani Magoro and Maemu Tshivhase – Sky Base Projects (Pretoria)

The concept for their company is to offer three main services: low-cost home staging (rearranging the property’s existing furniture), de-cluttering (removing unnecessary items from the property), and cleaning, which includes garden maintenance. Although based in Pretoria East, Sky Base Projects will cater to customers throughout Gauteng.

Thatho Maleka – Smart TKT (TKT BrowLash Boutique) (Northern Cape):

Founded in 2018, the TKT BrowLash Boutique is situated in Magojaneng Village in Kuruman, and is positioned to provide modern women of all ages with reasonably-priced, convenient eyebrow and eyelash services, including micro-blading. In addition to these services, Maleka’s boutique also sells retail beauty care products.

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Inspiring A New Generation Of Learning – Education As A Basic Human Right

Access to education isn’t a privilege, it’s a basic human right – Mzwandile inspires a new generation of learners.

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Raised by his aunt and uncle after his parents passed away at a young age, Mzwandile Harmans attended a poor school in Cala, the heart of the rural Eastern Cape.  It was his matric year; but with limited resources at Masikhuthale Public Secondary school, the pass rate was low and the learning environment less than ideal for conscientious learners.

Then one day a teacher came round to talk about Engen’s Maths and Science Schools (EMSS) programme, and everything changed for this talented young man who was determined to realise his full potential.

“We were given a chance to take a test to qualify for the EMSS Cala programme. The programme offered supplementary classes in maths, science and English, which ran every Saturday morning, but was 25 kilometres away,” remembers Mzwandile. “Fortunately, I took it seriously and I got in.”

Making the long round trip every weekend to attend the programme saw a steady improvement in Mzwandile’s  maths, chemistry, and physics marks, so much so that he was awarded a full Engen scholarship to study Chemical Engineering at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT).

Mzwandile later impressed with his tertiary studies and after two-years was offered a one-year internship at the Engen Refinery in Durban, which he passed with distinction. On graduating from CPUT, he landed a two-year employment contract with Engen, as part of the company’s graduate development programme.

Today, Mzwandile is permanently employed as an Environmental Technician at the Engen Refinery.  “I am so grateful to Engen for all of this,” says Mzwandile. “I never thought it could happen to me.”

Engen’s Head of Transformation and Stakeholder Engagement, Unathi Magida says access to education is a fundamental human right.  “This resonates particularly with Engen as a company, as we believe in the value of education and know how important it is to ensure that young people have the opportunity to realise their full potential.”

Chwayita Mareka, Engen’s Head of Human Resources, says the company’s investment in young talent has focused on the Maths and Science Saturday Schools because they understand the bigger country agenda.

“As Engen, we try and play our part in helping to develop South African’s talent pool, as there is a scarcity of Science, Maths and Engineering skills. We offer bursaries for students to go to universities in these fields and we look after them, especially if they are from disadvantaged communities,” says Mareka.

“Later, they come into Engen as graduate trainees as part of our graduate development programme wherein we assign them a mentor that exposes them to the real business,” she adds.

Mzwandile’s journey is just one of many inspirational Engen stories that will be shared as part of a new TV series that aims to create a positive narrative around South Africa’s success stories.  The SA INC. TV series which launches on 7 April is a partnership between Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA), Brand South Africa and producers, Regency Global.

“At Engen, we strongly believe that a country which is educated is a country that will prosper. We are pleased to play a part in helping to develop South Africa talent, especially our young learners based in rural areas,” says Magida

To watch Mzwandile’s story please visit the website: https://regency.global/engen/ and the following hashtags: #JourneyWithEngen #BusinessBelieves #SAINC #humanrightsday #awesomesouthafrica #sustainability #livesouthafrica #weheartsa.

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How SMEs Can Stand Out From The Crowd

A recently released SME Landscape Report: An Assessment of South Africa’s SME Landscape: Challenges, Opportunities, Risks & Next Steps’ 2018/2019, revealed that 40 percent of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) find that the industry that they operate in is extremely competitive. It also states that considering the low growth environment, this is likely to continue further into the future.

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To assist struggling entrepreneurs, Byron Jeacocks, Regional General Manager at Business Partners Limited (BUSINESS/PARTNERS), says that it is imperative for SME owners who find themselves in this predicament to determine and implement tactics to remain competitive in saturated industries. “A good example of how to do this, is Business Partners Limited’s client, Prashun Sharma, owner-manager of glass and aluminium company, Aluminium Doctor, who was faced with an overtraded industry teeming with informal operators when he started his business seven years ago.”

“This was because the glass and aluminium industry suffered a contraction following the Soccer World Cup construction boom in 2010, and as a result, many tradespeople were retrenched and subsequently started up their own informal glass and aluminium installation operations to make ends meet,” Jeacocks adds.

Explaining how he ensured a competitive edge in his business, Sharma, who was also retrenched from his senior management position at a large aluminium company, says that when he started his company he decided to make it formal, compliant and professional. “I wanted to incorporate my corporate and managerial experience to differentiate my business, and to elevate this, I enrolled in a business management degree.”

“My degree covered everything from strategic management, supply management, first-line management to directorship and it touched on everything from listing on the stock exchange down to conflict management and change management. This really prepared me for business and I believe it was a key ingredient to my business’s success,” he points out.

However, Sharma says that when starting their businesses in a saturated industry, entrepreneurs should not feel despondent if the process is slow at the beginning. “At first in my journey, there seemed to be no difference between Aluminium Doctor and the rest of the informal businesses in the industry, but I continued to lay a formal foundation, whilst consulting with my lawyer and accountant to make sure these foundations were sound. I also started to develop professionally made marketing material, a website, formal email addresses and a fixed phone line.”

Aluminium Doctor’s breakthrough came a year and a half into the business, when it won a substantial contract with the building of the Durban ice rink, says Sharma. “This is when I knew that it was time to formalise my business premises and I found a 1000 square metre factory in Brairdene, Durban.”

However, in order to purchase the building, I needed to obtain funding and I believed that it was clear from the financials that the company could afford to buy the building, but the banks were not sure whether our fast growth was sustainable. “I was then introduced to Business Partners Limited which considers finance applications based on the potential of the business, and also on the capabilities of the entrepreneur rather than just on the balance sheet and age of the business.”

Commenting on this, Jeacocks says that Sharma’s management style and his commitment to furthering himself as an entrepreneur by studying business management was also a contributing factor to the approval of his business’s property finance loan,” comments Jeacocks.

“Today, seven years since he started, Sharma’s careful attention to his business’s formal foundations is still paying off. Just in the last twelve months, in an extremely challenging economy, Aluminium Doctor grew by 35 percent, and the business now has a presence in KwaZulu Natal, the Eastern Cape and Gauteng where it will soon establish a permanent sales office in an expansion that is only possible for a formal, well run organisation,” Jeacocks concludes.

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Celebrating The Best Of The Best In Black Business

The 2019 Black Business Quarterly (BBQ) Awards, held at Emperor’s Palace on Friday, 15 March 2019, celebrated the champions of transformation of the South African economy.

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Established in 2002, the BBQ Awards 2019 honoured the best of the best in black business. South Africa’s top black business owners and rising stars arrived to the red carpet for a night full of glitz and glamour. Celebrity TV presenter, socialite, radio personality and Idols SA judge Somizi Mhlongo led the festivities as the evening’s programme director. He was joined on stage by A-list celebrities and prominent politicians.

Jeff Radebe, Minister of the Department of Energy, celebrated 25 years of South Africa’s democracy in his opening keynote address and emphasised the importance of transformation.

“Transformation is well recognised as a change management strategy, which aligns people, which aligns processes and technology initiatives, irrespective of the industry you come from, in order to survive and evolve in this business environment. Changing the structure of the South African economy will result in it being more inclusive, more sustainable… with opportunities for all, integrated value chains, and less barriers to entry. In South Africa, the transformation agenda is very critical in all our endeavours and all our decisions.”

Radebe congratulated the winners of the 15 transformation categories on this recognition of their inspiring dedication:

  • Platinum Award: Dr Nobuhle Judy Dlamini, founding chairman of Mbekani Group, is an entrepreneur, author, and philanthropist. Her passion for creating and adding value to society and humanity provided her with the overall platinum award for the evening, as well as the Comair Outstanding Woman of the Year Award.
  • Hennessy XO Businessman of the Year Award: Sthembiso Elton Nkomo, CEO of Abalandi Risk Management, was recognised as a professionally qualified, dedicated, and respected professional in the forensic investigation and security services environment.
  • The Innovation Hub New and Innovative Business Award: AET Africa, a manufacturer and supplier of energy efficient and clean technology products, developed various products targeting the commercial and residential sectors.
  • Emperors Palace Community Builder of the Year Award: Emmanel Bonoko, Founder of EBonoko Holdings and a social entrepreneur. He founded EBonoko at the age of 21 with the aim of serving others and fostering leadership, youth empowerment, and entrepreneurship.
  • Dormehl Phalane Property Group Transformation Champion of the Year Award: ICT-Works, an organisation that provides innovative technology solutions. At its core it also enhances the lives of millions of people.
  • Best Employer of the Year Award: Maredi Technologies CC, an 100% black owned ICT infrastructure solutions provider for the private and public sector.
  • Trade & Investment KZN Young Business Achiever Award: Pravashen Naidoo, Founder and CEO of e-Waste Africa, established Africa’s first light bulb recycling business at the age of 30.
  • Bentley South Africa Public Sector Visionary Award: Dr Ayanda Vilakazi, CEO of Lama Marketing and Advertising (Pty) Ltd. He published numerous articles on how to improve services and operations in South Africa. As a seasoned Executive he has expertise in corporate governance, financial management and budgeting, enterprise risk management and strategic development.
  • BET New Entrepreneur Award: Ms Thobile Nyawo, Director of Nyawo Civil construction. The 19-year-old construction entrepreneur founded her company in 2015 with no start-up capital.
  • CSI Ubuntu Award: Vukani-Ubuntu Community Development Projects, a non-profit organisation that is the largest mineral-beneficiation organisation in the jewellery sector in South Africa and a network off grassroots development projects across the country.
  • NHBRC Iqhawe Mentorship Award: Musa Zulu, Creative Director of Valhalla Arts, as well as published author, international artist, celebrated motivational speaker, and prominent disability activist in South Africa.
  • NYDA Outstanding Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award: Muhammad Simjee, Founder and CEO of A2D24 with a passion for building gadgets and writing software.
  • Nedbank Group Individual Transformation in Leadership Award: Karen Rademeyer, Fundraiser and Communications Manager at Go for Gold, having worked in the non-profit sector for 17 years She is passionate about education: Go for Gold as a dynamic Education-to-Employment programme that recruits school students from some of South Africa’s poorest communities and transforms them into technically qualified graduates.
  • LTE Holdings Best Established Black Business Award: Thata uBeke Manufacturing (Pty) Ltd, which offers turnkey solutions by designing, developing, manufacturing and assembling electronic and electro mechanical components for a variety of applications including aerospace, telecommunications, mining, commercial, and military specifications.

The BBQ Awards continue to be South Africa’s most prestigious transformation awards. For more information on the 2019 BBQ Awards, visit http://www.bbqawards.co.za/ or follow them on Facebook (@BBQAwards) and Twitter (@BBQ_Awards).

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