The competition, which is run by business financier Business Partners Limited, is now in its 12th consecutive year and is dedicated to providing aspiring entrepreneurs with the tools they need to get their business off the ground.
All entrants have the opportunity to learn how to start a business through free training, access to mentorship and the opportunity to win a cash prize to help fund their business. The competition called for aspiring entrepreneurs of all ages to enter, saw entrants of a very high calibre with impressive ideas across the board.
After a grueling judging process, Zama Ngwenya, the owner of a newly established seasoning and spice business, has won the 2021 SME Toolkit Business Partners Limited Business Plan Competition for Aspiring Entrepreneurs, beating out 510 entrants.
Ngwenya, who previously owned a shuttle tour business, started Zama’s Choice Spices & Herbs after the advent Covid-19 and its subsequent lockdowns that forced her to close her tourism business down.
However, after taking the top spot in the competition, she’s been given a second chance at entrepreneurship with a R30,000 mentorship voucher and R30,000 in seed capital. Through her online spices and herbs wholesale business, Ngwenya now sells her products nationally and has plans to approach local retailers to stock her spices.
Bankies Matlou, owner of Bontle Sanitary Towels, a start-up business dedicated to providing natural and long-lasting sanitary wear solutions to lower income and developing communities, scooped the second runner up title. Matlou and his team are passionate about empowering women and young girls, ensuring they will never be limited by their monthly menstrual cycle.
Other notable entrants included Jamie Wilks of Wilks Vision, Tshepang Electrician’s Tshidiso Travolta Lebaka, Mohlolo Katsana of Independent ICT Consultant and Arnold Visagie of AEJ Logistics.
David Morobe, the executive general manager for impact investing at Business Partners Limited commented: “Each year, I am more and more impressed by the quality of entrepreneurs in our country, and the resilience demonstrated by these dynamic businesspeople is both encouraging and inspiring.
“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.”