“Young entrepreneurs must step up to their role in revitalising the country’s economy and realising the National Development Goals of job creation and poverty alleviation,” the Eskom Development Foundation announced.
Eskom’s annual Business Investment Competition (BIC) is open for entries from 30 August 2021 and closes at midnight on 31 October 2021. This will be followed by a two-day entrepreneurship capacity building and networking event “Business Connect” for those who enter the BIC.
This year, like many young black entrepreneurs as possible with registered businesses that are two years or older, are encouraged to participate. Youth-owned enterprises require major investment and mentorship.
Thus, Eskom focuses on boosting, rewarding, and empowering growing businesses.
In the South African context, the development of black entrepreneurs is key to bolstering the country’s socio-economic growth and alleviating the prevailing poverty, crime, domestic violence, and other challenges within our communities,” explains Cecil Ramonotsi, Eskom Development Foundation Chief Executive.
Statistics South Africa reports that the unemployment rate increased to 34,4%, in the first quarter of 2021, and to 46,3%, among youth aged 15 to 34. “The National Development Plan anticipates that over 90% of new jobs to be produced by the year 2030 will emanate from small, medium and micro-enterprises.
It, therefore, goes without saying that this sector requires considerable investment from the public and private sectors to ensure sustainable and inclusive economic growth, particularly in the townships and other marginalised communities,” adds Ramonotsi.
Small businesses in the engineering/construction, manufacturing, agriculture/agri-processing, or trade/services sectors that are 100% black-owned are eligible to enter and stand a chance to walk away with a portion of more than R1,3 million in prize money.
The overall winner of the Eskom BIC will take home R300 000, each sector winner will take home R131 250, and the first and second runners-up will each receive R75 000 and R50 000, respectively.
“Eskom is well aware of the concerted effort required to ensure inclusive economic participation.
Our 2021 Business Investment Competition is intended to support black youth entrepreneurs with access to finance, as well as through skills and capacity building so that they are able to pivot the harsh economic environment brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Ramonotsi.
Launched in 2008, the BIC is an annual competition targeting black-owned small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) to acknowledge their contribution to the country’s economic growth and job creation, while providing their businesses with national exposure, financial support, and capacity building.