The winners of the SME Toolkit-Business Partners Limited Business Plan Competition for Aspiring Entrepreneurs say their participation has helped them grow critical skills such as developing a business plan and marketing. The competition, which is now in its 12th year, provides aspiring entrepreneurs with the tools they need to get their businesses off the ground.
The winners of the competition include spice producer Zama Ngwenya, who was awarded an R30,000 mentorship voucher and R30,000 seed capital, and Bankies Matlou, who clinched an R10,000 mentorship voucher. According to Ngwenya, the competition gave her an opportunity to revisit her company’s business plan to make it more profitable and to make it possible to create employment.
She is the founder of Zama’s Creation Herbs and Spices, which is based in Lenasia South and was founded in 2020. She started the company by reselling spices, and when she saw that the business was becoming profitable, she decided to manufacture her own spices. She currently supplies spices nationwide and sells them online. Ngwenya told Vutivi News that her announcement as the winner took her by surprise.
“I was the only female among the finalists, and both the fact that I was the only female and that I was a finalist took me by surprise because I wasn’t expecting it,” she said. “The prize money will go a long way in me creating employment, as I give people the opportunity to resell spices to make a profit of their own.” Matlou, who owns Botle Sanitary Towels, told Vutivi News that the competition helped him restructure his marketing plan.
His company, which is based in Tshwane, was founded in 2019. “My experiences with the competition enabled me to go back to my marketing plan and tailor-make it according to the trends in the industry,” he said. The winner was selected from 510 participants, who had the opportunity to learn how to start a business through free marketing, access to mentors, and the opportunity to win money to help their businesses.
Business Partners Limited’s Executive General Manager David Morobe said he was pleased with this year’s participants. “Each year, I am more and more impressed by the quality of entrepreneurs in the country, and the resilience demonstrated by these dynamic businesspeople is both encouraging and inspiring,” he said.
“Through our competition, we at Business Partners Limited are playing our role in the collective responsibility that the public and private sectors must play in creating an economic and social environment that is conducive to the development of entrepreneurs and their ventures– and we urge other businesses to do the same.”