Standard Bank Launches new Campaign to help Young Part-Time Entrepreneurs make the Leap to Full-Time

Portrait of executive in spectacle standing with arms crossed in the office

Standard Bank has launched a new campaign to help South Africa’s budding entrepreneurs turn their side hustles into their main hustles by providing them with funding equivalent to as much as one year’s salary in order to encourage them to take the plunge and start their own business without the fear of losing their monthly income.

The `My Fearless Next’ Campaign is targeted at young entrepreneurs who are working nine-to-five corporate jobs but have started a small business on the side, either to earn additional income or to fulfil their entrepreneurial ambitions. The only qualifying criteria is that prospective candidates must be active Standard Bank account holders that have a running business.

The three-month `My Fearless Next’ campaign launched today and will run until 29 August. Six contestants will be drawn weekly and sent to a one day bootcamp. One winner will be selected each week and sent to the final round.

The overall winner will receive up to one-year’s salary, capped at R1 million, as well as mentorship from Standard Bank’s Entrepreneur Development Program.

“The campaign is not all or nothing,” says Cleo Zwane, Senior Marketing Manager for Business Banking at Standard Bank who adds that the 35 other finalists will also get access to training and mentorship as well as the bank’s corporate clients who are looking to partner with SMEs as suppliers or as part of their enterprise supplier development programmes.

Making the leap from a 9-5

“A lot of young entrepreneurs are working eight or ten hour day corporate jobs and running their small businesses after hours and on weekends,” says Zwane. “The result is that they are too afraid to quit their jobs and focus all their energy on their small business because they are reliant on their salaries. What we want to do is remove the risk of being without a salary and provide a platform for young entrepreneurs to take their next entrepreneurial step without having to labour under the fear of losing their income.”

Although 73% of South African adults believe that entrepreneurship is a good career choice and roughly half of them believe they have what it takes to start a business, only 9.2% actually do so, according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) 2015 Global Report. The result is that many budding entrepreneurs are forced to run their small business as a side hustle, as shown by an online survey conducted by Moneyweb in 2017 which found that a third of working individuals in South Africa earn more than R5000 a month in additional income from businesses they run over and above their main jobs.

“Standard Bank might be a 156 year old institution but in fact we also began life as a startup,” says Zwane. “What we want is to be a credible partner that can participate in an entrepreneur’s journey by providing funding, training and mentorship while also removing the burden of having to work ten hours a day for someone else in order to get by. In essence, we will be buying you time to focus on your business.”

Applicants can enter via an online application from June to July.

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