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09 March 2023: A poultry farmer, property investment specialist and digital printer were among this year’s cohort of winners in the annual Business Plan Competition for Aspiring Entrepreneurs. The competition, which provides local entrepreneurs with critical skills training and resources, culminated in an awards ceremony which recognised this year’s winner, two runners-up and six finalists.

Now in its 13th year, the Business Plan Competition is hosted by specialist small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) financier, Business Partners Limited, in collaboration with entrepreneurship content engine, SME Toolkit.

Every year, the initiative welcomes hundreds of applications from aspiring entrepreneurs across South Africa. Armed with a business idea and the basic building blocks of a new venture, these entrepreneurs are invited to attend an extensive training programme consisting of workshops, lectures, mentorship opportunities and group discussions.

Upon completion of the training programme, a panel of experts assesses the business plans of each applicant, arriving at a list of finalists and an overall national winner who is awarded a cash prize of R50 000 as well as a voucher for ongoing mentorship.

Commenting on the results of the 2022 competition is David Morobe, Executive General Manager for Impact Investing at Business Partners Limited, who believes that this year’s finalists “have what it takes to build a resilient and thriving business in South Africa”.

As he advises: “This year’s group of winners are diverse in their talents and abilities. We saw entrants from multiple sectors including real estate, fashion and farming. The innovation we’re seeing from emerging entrepreneurs is immensely encouraging and a testament to the unique ability of South African entrepreneurs to solve problems through creative solutions.

We are confident that these businesses will join the fray of small businesses who play such a central role in growing our country’s GDP and solving broader issues such as youth unemployment, poverty and inequality. . A huge congratulations goes out to all of them – we look forward to working with them as they turn their ideas into successful business ventures.”

The overall winner of the 2022 Business Plan competition was Samkelisiwe Sithole, the founder of 100% black, female-owned poultry farm based in the rural area of Molweni, situated just outside of Hillcrest in KwaZulu-Natal. The farm was established in 2021 to combat rising levels of poverty and unemployment in the region, while tackling the issue of food security and broadening access to GMO-free food for low income communities.

Cindy Mkwanazi of ChemKhowa, a manufacturer of effective, affordable and environmentally friendly cleaning agents, was the first runner-up. ChemKhowa is a township-based business, established to provide South African consumers with eco-friendly alternatives to detergents and cleaning products. Its expanding product range includes degreasers, drain cleaners, liquid hand soap and oven cleaner. She is awarded a cash prize of R30 000 as well as ongoing mentorship.

The second runner-up is Emmanuel Maripanye, owner of RIPS E Printing – a sole proprietorship that provides a direct-to-client and B2B printing service across a wide range of products including corporate gear and promotional items. As a “one-stop-shop” for digital printing needs, RIPS E will be looking to expand into large-format printing including vehicle branding and signage. He is awarded a cash prize of R20 000 plus a mentorship voucher to guide his expansion plans.

The rest of the finalists will each receive a R10 000 voucher for ongoing mentorship.

As Morobe concludes: “This competition has become an integral part of the entrepreneurship landscape in South Africa and through it, we hope to continue  contributing towards activities that are essential for growth, job creation and social progress.

About the Author: David Morobe

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David Morobe is our Executive General Manager for Impact Investing. He has been working with small and medium business entrepreneurs for more than 25 years and has amassed considerable experience from the various positions he has occupied. Even after working with entrepreneurs for so many years, David still appreciates the opportunity to be of service to their needs, recognising that they play a very important role in the socio-economic development of our country. His greatest fulfilment is seeing SMEs grow and sustain both in good and challenging times, thereby creating wealth not only for themselves but also for those in their employ. He is our go-to-spokesperson for our SME Confidence Index, SME sector policy and trend matters, mentorship, and business leadership articles.