The top ten entrepreneurs in the Workspace/MiWay entrepreneur competition, which aims at growing small businesses to successful companies, will go through to the next round and are expected to compete for five places from which the winner will be chosen.
The competition offers South African entrepreneurs a chance to win everything required to run a company in a prime Johannesburg business district for one full year.
“There has been great excitement over the past four months. As every single new entry came in, we would clap our hands and cheer,” said Mari Schourie, chief executive of The Workspace.
“It was a tough job judging all the entries to reach the top 20 submissions,” she said. “Before having to find the top 10. We’ve had really strong entries submitted by people with good business knowledge. You can see the willingness to work hard and the great amount of effort they have put into their initiatives.”
Schourie said judges saw “wonderful ideas and fabulous business minds and quality people with big dreams shine through the entries”.
Schourie said she wished she could tell President Cyril Ramaphosa, who supports the growth of small business as an economic driver, “the ideas and the passion that these business owners have is inspiring and should be focused on more”.
The prize on offer, worth over R350,000 will help set-up the winning entrepreneur for a period of 12 months, giving them a boost to help build their business.
Morné Stoltz, head of business insurance at MiWay, said the theme that ran throughout the entries was that entrepreneurs wanted to make a difference and contribute to positive change in South Africa.
“Many of the submissions focused on technical and developmental fields,” he said.
“Entrepreneurs recognise gaps in the market and see the potential for growth. Getting into the top 10 was not at all easy.”
Stoltz said South Africa had a “great bunch of entrepreneurs” and that standing together to give them a platform to launch was an exciting opportunity.
“To grow our economy we need to help with skills development and give whatever assistance we can,” he said.
Part of the finalists’ road to the top includes a skills development programme for the top 10 entrants ahead of their important date to pitch their business plans to the judges.
As Schourie pointed out, it is vital to encourage South African citizens to act on their dreams and passions because “it can be a great success; they just need to make that leap”.
The competition will run between June 21 and September 13. (via African News Agency)