Manufacturing SMEs are encouraged to enter the Eskom Business Investment Competition (BIC) which closes at midnight on 12 February 2021.
“Manufacturing is the fourth largest industry in South Africa and bolstering participation in this sector provides a ripple effect in boosting technology and engineering in the country. It also goes a long way toward creating jobs,” the organisers said. “Investment in the manufacturing sector creates an environment that supports other economic hubs that will improve the country’s productivity by increasing the ability to trade with other countries.”
The manufacturing sector had to contend with a shortage of raw materials, a shrunken workforce and, in some cases, a limited capacity for production due to the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.
Last year’s entrants were Bona Once Bona Twice, and sisters Kedibone and Kekeletso Tsiloane, founders of a 100% black woman-owned plastic brick manufacturer, Ramtsilo Construction and Manufacturing that emerged as the 2019 category winner.
Now in its 12th year, the BIC is run by the Eskom Development Foundation to boost enterprise development by creating a platform for South African small and medium enterprises to become part of a community of like-minded entrepreneurs.
The competition is open for registered black-owned small and medium enterprises across the country which have been operating for 24 months or longer.
“SMEs are the lifeblood we need to move our country forward,” said Eskom Development Foundation CEO, Cecil Ramonotsi. “It is in SMEs that we see how much creativity, passion and capability South Africans have.
“This competition takes all of these, puts them in one room where they get to see that they are not alone in their effort to realise their vision. For investors, it offers the opportunity to see what’s out there and where their support is needed, especially for those climbing out of this really tough year. So, we encourage SMEs who qualify to enter and take their chances.”
Winners in each category will take home R131 250. First and second runners-up in each category will win R75 000 and R50 000 respectively.
A report compiled by GEN 22 on Sloane, which offers startups funding opportunities and access to markets, notes that over 55 000 SMMEs in South Africa will not survive the COVID-19 global pandemic. A total of 92% of SMMEs’ business operations have been impacted and at least 42 350 of those working for these SMMEs will lose their jobs.
“This annual competition is that much more relevant this year, simply because our main purpose with the BIC is to boost enterprise development in a year that has seen small businesses challenged, stretched and some decimated,” Ramonotsi said.
All BIC finalists will have the opportunity to attend the Business Connect webinar taking place in March 2021, a platform aimed at affording businesses the opportunity to network with other small businesses as well as be exposed to business experts in different fields.
“Don’t miss out on this opportunity to potentially boost your business with resources that can help it recover from the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic.