May has been an exciting month for both entrepreneurs, with a number of exciting opportunities being announced, and enterprise and supplier development practitioners, with a number of new entrepreneurship development programmes being launched. It is common cause that ESD practitioners put months, if not years, into developing programmes that will enable entrepreneurs whilst aligning to the business strategy of the business behind the programme.
Entrepreneurs will do well to hurry and prioritise because a number of programmes will be closing this coming week. There are less than 12 hours left for entrepreneurs to apply to the exciting E-nnovate programme, which offers selected entrepreneurs the opportunity to travel to Seattle in July 2016. Entrepreneurs will get the opportunity to network with other entrepreneurs and possibly secure investors. The deadline is 22 May at 23:59.
Entrepreneurs also have the opportunity to participate in the SMME roadshow which will bring development opportunities and focused guidance to entrepreneurs and SMMEs in the cities of Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. Those interested in participating in the Johannesburg roadshow must register by Monday, 23 May 2016 at midday (12:00). The SMME roadshow organisers have also made it possible to participate virtually.
The newly launched mLab App Fund will be investing up to R500 000 in each start-up that is selected by their investment committee. South African entrepreneurs or businesses registered in and operating within South Africa can apply on or before 1 June 2016. At least one more application round will be opened later this year.
An excellent opportunity for entrepreneurs focusing on resolving social problems that affect women, youth, low income groups, disabled people and people living in rural areas is provided by the SAB Social Innovation Awards. Here, entrepreneurs, inventors and socially innovative organisations can win up to R1.2 million to invest in commercialising their invention. The deadline is 31 May at Midday (12:00).
Entrepreneurs in the seed stage of their entrepreneurial journey have the chance to realise global success by participating in the Seedstarts World competition. Here entrepreneurs have the opportunity to pitch their ideas in one of 3 pitching rounds to be held in Cape Town (27 May), Durban (8 June) and Soweto (14 June). Winners will participate in a national competition which leads to competing in a global competition. Last’s year’s global winner was South African Start-up Giraffe.
Innovative young entrepreneurs in KZN have an exciting opportunity to obtain funding and business development support from Inkunzi’isematholeni Youth and Business Competition. Entrepreneurs can apply until 31 July 2016.
The following opportunities, mentioned in last month’s blog and newsletter, will also be closing soon: The Entrepreneur of the Year Awards will be closing on 06 June 2016 and Start-up Tel Aviv will be closing on 3 June 2016.
Now you would think that would be all, but there’s more. Telkom has recently launched and is taking applications for its Telkom Propella FutureMakers Hub. Sasol has launched a manufacturing focused Sasol Business Incubator in Sasolburg, they are taking application from seed, start-up and growth stage businesses. Entrepreneurs in the Bio-Manufacturing sector can apply to the CSIR Bio-Manufacturing Industry Development Centre to get support with taking their processes and products to market. Additionally, the City of Johannesburg has partnered with Standard Bank to set-up the CoJ Working Capital Fund for SMMEs that have won contracts with the City of Johannesburg or any of its agencies.
Recently announced, the IDC Rescue Package valued at R20.7 billion will provide much needed relief for businesses that have been affected by the drought and a weaker global economy.
Opportunities abound, take advantage!
It is sometimes suggested that South Africa is awash with money dedicated to entrepreneurship and SMME development. If one looks at the sheer number of programmes presented on our website, then one is forced recognise that a fair number of initiatives are in place to support entrepreneurs. One of the main challenges is that entrepreneurs do not know about these opportunities and / or struggle to access them. It is quite tragic when a business must shut down because of something like Cash Flow Management when there are so many programmes focusing on addressing this and many other challenges faced by entrepreneurs.
This is why we’d like to highlight some of the opportunities available to entrepreneurs each month. That said, there are plenty of opportunities available to entrepreneurs all year round and it is likely beneficial for entrepreneurs to use this website to search for opportunities that are aligned to their business’ needs. We all know some entrepreneurs and indeed someone who is thinking of taking the leap. Empower them by sharing what you know!
Take advantage of these opportunities and / or encourage others to do the same. Let knowledge be power!
Opportunities Open this April
The Entrepreneur of the Year focuses on recognising and awarding entrepreneurs that have beaten the odds stacked against them to succeeded in spite of the challenges faced. Innovation is valued in this competition. Winners will not only gain recognition and media exposure, they will also receive cash prizes, mentorship and valuable networking opportunities. The deadline for entry is 6 June 2016.
An interesting new programme is the YouthStartCT Entrepreneurial Challenge from the City Cape Town. Entrepreneurs with ideas focusing on job creation and / or social development are invited to apply for this programme. Entrants must be based in Cape Town and must be able to illustrate that their business would be able to make a dent in unemployment in their community. The deadline has been extended from 15 April 2016 to 24 April 2016.
Start-Up Tel Aviv South Africa presents an exciting opportunity for a female entrepreneur in Hi-Tech to win a 5 day trip to the Digital Life Design Festival in Tel Aviv. The entrepreneur entering needs to be in the senior executive level of a start-up that is still in the seed stage. The winner will be able to attend various sessions at the festival, pitch to investors and receive mentorship and advice. The deadline for entry is the 3 June 2016.
Find more opportunities by searching esdsa.com
Three exciting opportunities have their deadlines this March! We'd like to encourage entrepreneurs to take a look and apply if there is alignment.
The Hack.Jozi entrepreneurship competition invests R5 million into the development of shortlisted and winning entrepreneurs that use digital solutions to solve problems faced by Joburgers. With a R1 million prize for the winner, you'll want to give this a go if you're in the seed or start-up stage, are based in Johannesburg and your concept or start-up is solving challenges faced by Joburgers. Quite exciting in this competition is that the top 100 will all gain in terms of training and coaching. The deadline is 25 March 2016. Read more.
An exciting new programme is the MTN Entrepreneurship Challenge. Its focus is on entrepreneurial teams that are developing digital or smart solutions that address problems faced on the African continent. The challenge targets the African student population because at least one team member out of 2 - 3 team members must be at student or a recent graduate of an African university. Teams across Africa are encouraged to enter. The dealine is 27 March 2016. Read More.
The Tholoana Enterprise Programme is open for applications for its 2016 round. Successful applicants will enjoy expert mentorship, skills training, support with access to markets as well as investment readiness support. This programme particularly encourages business that are run by or support women, youth, people living in rural and / or peri-urban areas and disabled people. The deadline is 31 March 2016. Read More.
The possibilities with these programmes and more are exciting. Entrepreneurship and especially Technology Entrepreneurship provide the opportunity for developing countries to leapfrog into a world where many challenges are solved and life is improved using solutions that match and / or surpass those of the first world. We hope that you or someone you know will take advantage of them.
Register to get updates and get long-term access to all programme information. We hope to keep you up to date with regards to new programmes as well as new thought leadership articles.
Our aim is to partner with you in maximising your success through the programmes available to support your business.