This evening, Eskom Group Executive for Government and Regulatory Affair, Ms Nthato Minyuku, will unveil this year’s competition winners of the Eskom Development Foundation’s 2021 Business Investment Competition (BIC).
The BIC, now in its 13th year, began in 2008 with the intention to recognise successful South African small, medium, and micro enterprises (SMMEs) owned by marginalised groups, including women, youth, people with disabilities, and black people in general. This year, the BIC had a record of 696 entries compared to 465 in 2020 and 222 entries in 2019.
The awards ceremony will be hosted virtually, for the second year running, due to the COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings. Winners will be announced in four categories, namely trade & services, engineering & construction, agriculture & agri-processing, and manufacturing, as well as the overall winner of the 2021 BIC.
The overall winner will receive R300 000, and each of the four sector winners will take home R131 250, whereas the first and second runners-up will receive R75 000 and R50 000 respectively. The prize money is intended for investment back into the businesses to facilitate the growth and expansion of their operations.
As an added benefit to participating in the competition, the finalists will attend a two-day Business Connect training workshop with industry heavyweights to be held from 20-21 January 2022. Through this workshop, Eskom aims to equip entrepreneurs with the essential business know-how they need to run successful and professional businesses.
“Eskom realises that access to funding continues to be a major barrier for entrepreneurs and has become even more restricted during the COVID-19 pandemic, as funders’ requirements become more stringent.
The prize money of the BIC assists small business owners not only to alleviate cash flow challenges but to invest the funds back into the businesses to help their business grow,” said Minyuku.
Immaculate Cleaning & Hygiene Services (Pty) Ltd, winners of the 2020 BIC Trade & Services category, used their prize money to send their site manager for training, invested in the proper equipment for servicing their corporate clients, and were able to pay salaries for two months in advance to alleviate the cashflow challenges often caused by delayed payments from clients.
“The overwhelming response from the youth sector impressed us in this year’s instalment of the competition, as youth-led businesses comprised 63% of the entries.
Entries from women-owned enterprises and small businesses owned by people with disabilities amounted to 26% and 12% respectively.
This participation by designated groups is encouraging, and is an indication that our efforts are reaching the intended beneficiaries,” added Minyuku.