Meet the winner of the 2014 GEW-BUSINESS/PARTNERS-SME Toolkit SA’s Business plan competition for young aspiring entrepreneurs
Aspiring young entrepreneur, Sibusiso Mnyameni, was announced as the national winner for the 2014 Business Partners Limited/SME Toolkit SA Global Entrepreneurship Week’s Business Plan Competition for Aspiring Young Entrepreneurs at an awards ceremony held in Johannesburg on 19 November 2014.
Now in its 5th year, the competition, which is open to individuals between the ages of 18 and 35, aims to have a positive impact on promising South African entrepreneurs by bridging the gap between simply having an idea, to actually launching a start-up business.
Mnyameni, an entrepreneur based in Pretoria, was selected as the overall winner of the national competition due to the innovation he displayed in his unique product offerings. Mnyameni is the owner of Inyanda Innovation, the business that developed the ‘Storo’, otherwise known as ‘a shop on wheels’ for informal traders. He conceptualised the product after noticing the various occupational challenges faced by informal traders, in that they do not have a single product that integrates their requirement to store, haul and display their goods for retail.
The competition received over 400 entries from across the country, and all entrants were invited to attend a one-day business workshop in their respective regions which covered the intricacies of a business plan, as well as other functions associated with operating a business, such as compiling a marketing plan, cash flow management, financial reporting, and the importance of networking. After hosting 12 workshops across South Africa, 103 business plans were received from entrants, and seven regional winners were then selected to be considered for the national title.
The six other regional winners / finalists for the national award include:
- Free State / Northern Cape winner, Boniswa Mohitli, plans to start a recruiting company in Kimberley and the larger Northern Cape area. She passionately believes that through the establishment of her company and the hard work she plans to put into the venture, she will be able to assist in alleviating unemployment in the Kimberley area;
- Limpopo winner, Maphuti Mokwele, aims to initially set up a service oriented travel and tourism business in Polokwane and later expand into the rest of Limpopo;
- Gauteng (Greater Johannesburg) area winner, Mosha Senyolo, intends to use her experience in the industry to start her own practice as a Consulting Quantity Surveyor;
- Western Cape winner, Nolubabala Dube’s business concept is to offer simple and understandable financial advice and planning to assist South Africans in keeping good financial status and building wealth;
- Eastern Cape / KwaZulu Natal winner, Samkelo Mqukuse’s concept is based on his experiences as a long distance bus commuter and plans to rent out mobile cellphone charges to long distance bus commuters;
- Mpumalanga winner, Nhlanhla Silinda, aims to establish a go-kart racing track and entertainment centre in Nelspruit, with an end vision to get children off the street and into a safe environment.
According to Lionel Billings, Head: National Consulting Services at BUSINESS/PARTNERS, when selecting the overall winner, the judges considered three key areas - business skills and whether, with mentoring, the entrepreneur could apply their expertise to the specific business, industry risk and whether the business plan addressed these risks, and lastly, if the business plan and financial projections were realistic and achievable.
He says that while all the regional entrepreneurs showed exceptional promise, and that they displayed the required focus and dedication needed to reach this stage of the competition, Mnyameni has worked tirelessly at getting his concept to prototype level and is close to releasing the product to the market.
Billings explains that Mnyameni’s concept of ‘Storo’ not only addresses all informal traders’ requirements in one, namely that it operates as a stow-away lockup, as a trolley on wheels and that it expands as a counter, but in true entrepreneurial fashion, he has also identified an opportunity to include a development aspect to the product. “Sibusiso realised that these survivalist informal traders cannot afford to buy the Storo, and has therefore approached brands that target the lower income market, convincing them to purchase Storos for the traders as part of their annual enterprise development or socio-economic spend. In exchange, the Storo will be branded with the company’s logo and information, and will therefore allow the brands to engage and connect with the target market, especially in areas such as taxi ranks and stations.”
Billings says that a business plan remains a hurdle for many aspiring entrepreneurs, and that assistance and knowledge is needed to draft a comprehensive plan. He points to research conducted by BUSINESS/PARTNERS in the planning phase of the company’s Entrepreneurs Growth Centre, which shows that there is a great need for advice relating to a business plans and cash flow management. “Too many entrepreneurs’ dreams aren’t realised simply because they do not have access to the right resources. The competition therefore strives to discover and assist aspiring young entrepreneurs fulfil their entrepreneurial dreams.”
Each of the regional winners received a R5 000 mentorship voucher from BUSINESS/PARTNERS, with the overall winner receiving an additional R10 000 mentorship voucher, a cash prize of R20 000 and a mobile tablet sponsored by BUSINESS/PARTNERS, as well as a 12-month subscription to SMEasy, a Business Management and Accounting System, the design of a logo, business card and letterhead by Creative Portal Online, and a gift bag from IBM South Africa.