Have you got a business idea that you think could change the world? Do you have aspirations to break away and finally become your own boss? Have you been mulling over that gap in the market you noticed, and not sure what to do about it?
If you answered “yes” to any of the above, 2015 might be the right time for you to take the leap into self-employment as an entrepreneur.
Beyond your own desires, South Africa as a country needs entrepreneurs. The National Development Plan points out that small- and medium-sized businesses will play an important role in employment creation, and with this the economic future of the country.
It takes an idea, an aspiration or an opportunity to start a business. That, and a will of steel. 8 out of 10 new businesses in SA fail within the first two years for a variety of reasons. Challenges include skills issues, labour regulation, financial and cash flow constraints and even load shedding. Starting a business can also be a very lonely time as the initial push to get a product or service to a tipping point is more often than not a one-man or –woman job.
Being your own boss and having the freedom and flexibility to realize your vision are, to many people, priceless. Owning your own business means independence to many: Being the decision-maker on hiring’s and product offerings, calling the shots and bringing one’s individual creativity to the business. Where there’s risk there’s reward.
While the risk can be daunting, running a business should never be a solitary pursuit. Business is a social business, and entrepreneurs can gain enormous support from utilizing their networks. SAB has seen the value in connecting South Africa’s entrepreneurs, and is behind some of the country’s most exciting events in this regard.
SAB KickStart Awards
This exciting youth entrepreneurship programme aims to ignite a culture of entrepreneurship among black* youth between the ages of 18 and 35. The competition takes place over a year, completing around November, and provides intensive business skills training and business development support for promising young entrepreneurs. The final group of candidates compete for over R6 million in business grants and more benefits to further develop their businesses.
Over 22, 700 entrepreneurs have already benefited from KickStart and more than 3200 business have been started by KickStart participants.
SAB KickStart online
While the primary focus of SAB KickStart is its annual awards, its online channels are active throughout the year. Their website and social media platforms are brimming with inspiration, success stories, advice for startups and links to local events. Be sure to visit the website and sign up for the newsletter for regular updates and entrepreneurial inspiration.
Find SAB KickStart online at:
The Hookup Dinner
The Hookup Dinner is a great example of a regular and accessible entrepreneur-focused event that takes place in 11 cities around South Africa. It gives local entrepreneurs a chance to present their ideas, learn from keynote speakers, and network in their community. The event has proved so popular that it has expanded its reach to now include cities beyond South Africa in Ghana, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Kenya.
Find The Hookup Dinner (THUD) online at:
SAB Social Innovation Awards
If your innovative business idea is going to change South Africa socially then you should definitely consider entering the SAB Social Innovation Awards, which take place later in the year. These awards recognise sustainable social innovation that addresses a challenge faced by our beneficiary groups - women, the youth, persons with disabilities and persons in rural areas. A R1 million business grant is awarded to a sustainable innovation, either a product or process that addresses a challenge faced by its beneficiary group. In 2014 the developers of a flat-pack beehive system won first place, and previous to that, an eye health app was awarded the grand prize.
Find out more about the #SIAwards here.
Through all these initiatives we’re proud to be able to support entrepreneurs in working to make South Africa great. We invite all young local entrepreneurs to connect with us through SAB KickStart, The Hookup Dinner or the Social Innovation Awards and benefit from the opportunity for knowledge, skills development and connections.
Have you been taken part in or benefited from one of these SAB initiatives? Let us know in the comments below!
*Black is used as defined by the BBBEE Codes of Good Practice