Youth entrepreneurship has considerably declined in South Africa, decreasing from 543 000 youth entrepreneurs in 2014 from 609 000 five years earlier, according to a recently report titled Social Profile of Youth 2009-2014.
To reverse this trend, experts have urged the youth in Africa’s second-largest economy to be equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to start and run a small business.
“Many youth possess an entrepreneurial mindset 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,” Christo Botes, executive director at Business Partners Limited, said last week.
To bridge the gap between entrepreneurial thinking and actually establishing a start-up business, the 2016 SME Toolkit BUSINESS/PARTNERS Business Plan Competition for Aspiring Young Entrepreneurs will once again provide the opportunity for young and ambitious entrepreneurs (18-35 years) to take the plunge by providing free business training, with the overall winners receiving cash prizes and mentorship sessions from leading business experts.
The SME Toolkit BUSINESS/PARTNERS Business Plan Competition for Aspiring Young Entrepreneurs enables hundreds of young entrepreneurs to gain valuable training in many aspects that starting a business entails, as well as create a platform that rewards budding entrepreneurs’ ideas and plans.
According to Botes, this competition differs from others in that there was much more on offer than one main prize for the overall winner.
The national prize includes R 25 000 (about US$1 660) in cash, mentorship worth R 12 000 (about US$830) and a smart tablet or similar.
“The platform’s real value lies in the guidance and assistance that every participant will receive when compiling their business plan – the starting point for any business,” Botes said.
The competition comprises of three phases, the first being a full-day workshop which equips all candidates with the necessary knowledge to compile a business plan.
All the essential elements of starting a business will be discussed, including financial management, marketing, legal considerations and employment issues.
About 900 young South Africans are expected to attend this competition this year, up from last year’s 400.
Participants draft and submit their business plans during the second phase, which will be evaluated by a panel of judges.
Eight regional winners will then be selected and each will be awarded mentorship sessions worth R 6 000 (US$400), which will assist them to develop their business plans further and get the businesses started.
The third and final phase of the competition culminates during Global Entrepreneurship Week, usually the second week in November, where one of the regional winners will be named the overall, national winner.