Gauteng entrepreneurs stand the chance to receive cash injections of up to R1-million, as well as mentorship and incubation provided by established businesses across various trades and sectors, by entering the province’s first Township Entrepreneur Awards.
The initiative was launched on Monday following consultative engagements between the Gauteng government and over 50 000 entrepreneurs across 65 townships in the province, aimed at showcasing, recognising and rewarding township business excellence. This included small businesses focused on transport, automotive services and components, construction, real estate, furniture and timber, food and beverage, tourism and creative industries, retail and finance, as well as service-driven sectors such as car washes, restaurants and beauty parlours.
Gauteng’s MEC for Economic Development, Environment, Agriculture and Rural Development, Lebogang Maile, speaking at the launch, called for entries while pointing out that the awards would build and cement confidence in township-based businesses. He said: “We have inspirational stories of township entrepreneurs breaking through hostile and adverse conditions of the apartheid system, which effectively criminalised and stifled black enterprise and building formidable brands and industries.”
“We need a new generation of successful township business people who are engaged in various sectors of the economy, producing the very goods that our households consume on a daily basis. We have to break the paradigm of townships only being consumer-driven service economies to townships as productive sites and thriving commercial centres,” he added.
Director of University of Johannesburg’s Centre for Small Business Development, Moipone Molotsi, further added that townships were no longer just offering services especially since there had been a shift to a greater focus on productive economic activities such as manufacturing, product development and innovation.
“These awards will encourage and boost the confidence of entrepreneurs who are already in the business of producing and manufacturing,” she enthused.
The competition would have 15 categories, 13 of which required the submission of an entry form for consideration. Three specialist categories were open to businesses owned by young people, people with disabilities and women.
To qualify for the competition, participants must be South African citizens residing in Gauteng, own a registered business, have a tax clearance certificate, financial statements and a yearly turnover of less than R2-million. Nominations would close on November 2, followed by a rigorous adjudication process and interviews for finalists. The awards ceremony would be held in February 2016.
This article first appeared on Polity.org.za HERE