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 Square peg day

 

 A day to ignite and champion entrepreneurship

It is time to celebrate entrepreneurs, and once again champion their cause by honouring them.

Today marks the first year anniversary of the square peg movement, an initiative launched by Business Partners Limited (BUSINESS/PARTNERS) with the intent to inspire existing and aspiring entrepreneurs, and unleash the potential of South Africa’s and Africa’s entrepreneurs via funding, support and mentorship.

To celebrate the one year milestone – otherwise known as square peg day – BUSINESS/PARTNERS has invited South Africans to declare their commitment to entrepreneurship by taking photos of themselves in their place of work, and sharing these images on Twitter with the hashtag #iamasquarepeg. The company will award two mentorship vouchers to the value of R10 000 each to two of the participating #iamasquarepeg entrepreneurs that will enable them to access business expertise, skills and wisdom to develop their business.

Nazeem Martin, MD of BUSINESS/PARTNERS, a risk financer for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in South Africa and select African countries, says that the square peg movement entrepreneurship campaign reflects the crux of who the company aims to serve – the entrepreneur. “Entrepreneurs are the exceptional few individuals who see the world not for what it is, but for what it could be. They are the ‘square pegs in a sea of round holes’, and are the individuals that are brave enough to not only identify opportunities but take the leap and start a business.”

Martin explains that one of the key issues that inhibit South African entrepreneurs from capitalising on their abilities and strengths is the limited availability or lack of risk finance. He adds that access to sectoral knowledge and guidance is another hindrance facing entrepreneurs.

“The square peg movement aims to foster and entrench a culture of entrepreneurship through advocacy on behalf of entrepreneurs and by making finance and mentorship available to them.”

At the launch of the square peg movement a year ago, BUSINESS/PARTNERS pledged to not only increase its investment in viable SMEs via the launch of various specialised sectoral funds, but also to contribute to the much needed support services to entrepreneurs. To date, the company has launched five Funds, namely:

  • The Business Partners Manufacturing Fund that seeks to assist SMEs operating within the manufacturing sector and to stimulate the sector which has the potential to create much needed jobs in South Africa.
  • The Business Partners Education Fund which is an SME Risk Capital Fund aimed at providing existing and aspiring entrepreneurs in the educational sector with finance and support to meet the growing need to improve and expand the sector.
  • Two specialised SME Funds for the property sector: the Business Partners Property Fund and Business Partners Joint Venture Property Fund, which are both aimed at driving property ownership and enabling entrepreneurs to grow their equity base.
  • The latest Fund launched is the Business Partners Women in Business Fund that is aimed at increasing access to finance for female entrepreneurs. The Fund seeks to afford South African women a fair and equal opportunity to start, expand or purchase an existing business.

“We seek to achieve a greater development impact in the local SME sector with these new funds, and hope to enable entrepreneurs to seize the opportunities offered within the various sectors to generate wealth, grow the economy and create jobs,” say Martin.

Another initiative of the square peg movement was the launch of the BUSINESS/PARTNERS Entrepreneurs Growth Centre, a facility that provides free support and service assistance to local entrepreneurs via email or an expert call centre.

“Although square peg day is only celebrated on one day, we will continuously source new innovations to ignite the flame of entrepreneurship and encourage more people to become entrepreneurs, as we believe entrepreneurship is the most aspirational human endeavour of all,” concludes Martin.

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