3rd SA Premier Business Awards – Applications Open

The South African Premier Business Awards is annual event hosted by the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) in partnership with Proudly South African and Brand South Africa. The awards recognise business excellence and honours enterprises that promote the spirit of success and innovation as well as job creation, good business ethics and quality. These awards bring together all single sectored awards, among others technology, manufacturing and women in business.
The event is hosted by the Department of Trade and Industry.
Applications close on the 6 March 2015. Visit the website for more details, by clicking here.


There are ten categories (yes, 10 categories) which are listed and explained below:

Category and Rationale Criteria
1. Lifetime Achievement Award
This is a discretionary award to recognise an individual/s who have contributed significantly to the economic development of South Africa during their lifetime.
The Minister of Trade and Industry will consider an individual with a consistent and outstanding track record of no less than 30 years’ active involvement in business.
·         A South African entrepreneur who has succeeded and achieved major successes in business for a period of no less than 30 years.
·         An entrepreneur with a proven track record in business.
·         An extensive track record with regard to the mentoring of upcoming entrepreneurs and involvement in community projects aimed at uplifting the economic conditions of others and South Africa in general.
2. Manufacturers Award
The award recognises and promotes best practice and the important role of the manufacturing sector in South Africa’s economy with regard to sustainable job creation.
·         This award aims to recognise South African manufacturers that produce innovative products.
·         This category recognises an enterprise or organisation that demonstrates efforts to achieve world-class manufacturing standards, e.g. the 3 Sigma manufacturing standard.
·         The enterprise or entrant must provide evidence of benchmarking against world best practice to demonstrate the existence of innovative practices or best operating practice.
·         The enterprise or entrant must provide evidence of product innovation to meet customer demands.
·         The enterprise or entrant must provide evidence of product excellence and customer satisfaction.
·         The enterprise or entrant must provide evidence of the extent of its participation in skills development, upliftment of unemployed youth and/or unskilled citizens and the use of its enterprise development budget towards building local enterprises.

3. Exporters Award

This award recognises all export industry sectors, from services to manufacturing. It aims to encourage South African enterprises to participate in international business and markets and to ensure that their products and/or services can compete globally.
·         The entrant must provide evidence of its trading to foreign markets and must have been in business for two to three fiscal years.
·         The entrant must provide evidence that it is currently exporting and has export sales of at least 50% of their total turnover.
·         The entrant must demonstrate the expansion or creation of opportunities through its export activities.
·         The entrant must be able to demonstrate how it has promoted and/or increased the use of local suppliers for export activities.
4. Enterprise Development Support Award
The award recognises corporates that procure from small, medium and micro enterprise, in particular black- and women-owned enterprises.
·         The entrant should include an enterprise development strategy as supporting documents.
·         The enterprise or organisation must have a supplier development programme.
·         The enterprise or organisation should demonstrate the number of SMMEs they have procured from and the actual value spent (this should show growth in investment in SMMEs).
·         The enterprise or organisation should demonstrate their contribution towards capacity building and skills development of suppliers and new enterprises.
5. Young Entrepreneur Award
This award recognises 100% youth-owned enterprises trading in South Africa and recognises young individuals who demonstrate high levels of entrepreneurship and innovation.
·         The enterprise or organisation must indicate the number of years in business.
·         The enterprise should be 100% youth-owned and must be in the service or manufacturing sector.
·         The owners of the enterprise or organisation must not be older than 35 years and must demonstrate leadership potential.
·         A South African ID copy and company registration documents are required as supporting documents.
·         The entrant should provide a record of job creation and supporting documents.
·         Evidence must be provided to show a proven track record in developing and implementing unique business ideas.
·         The entrant must provide evidence of mentoring through the transfer of skills and a high involvement in projects aimed at empowering others.
·         The entrant must be able to demonstrate participation in community programmes that aim to make a difference in the community (positive social impact).
6. Investor of the year Award
This award aims to encourage the expansion of investment into the South African economy. It recognises efforts and commitments by local and global companies to create jobs and stimulate the economy through investment across all industry.
·         The enterprise must prove a valuable contribution towards job creation.
·         Evidence should illustrate increased local or foreign investment over a period of one year.
·         The entrant must be able to prove that jobs were created as a result of the investment in South Africa.
·         The entrant must be able to prove the degree to which the investment benefits the community in which it is situated.
·         Evidence must be provided to illustrate that the entrant procures from local manufacturers and to what degree.
7. Proudly South African Enterprise Award
This award is specifically aimed at enterprises that are registered members of Proudly South African. It recognises enterprises that manufacture or supply high-quality local products and/or services, are known for being proud members of Proudly South African and adhere to the four pillars of the campaign.
·         The member company should be responsible for creating or enhancing local employment opportunities and economic growth by demonstrating the number of local jobs created year-on-year and must provide evidence that it complies with fair labour practices and good environmental standards.
·         The entrant must demonstrate the degree to which it has utilised the Proudly South African brand in above and below the line activities.
·         The entrant must prove that it has promoted and increased the use of local suppliers, content and materials in its own operations and those of suppliers and partners (local sourcing).
·         The entrant must provide evidence and list the local and international quality management systems or standards with which it complies. It must demonstrate knowledge of and acquaintance with global best operating practices.
8. Play Your Part Award
This award aims to uplift the spirit of our nation by inspiring all citizens to contribute to positive change by becoming involved in and implementing social programmes. A nation of people who care deeply for one another and the environment in which they live is good for everyone.
·         The enterprise must clearly demonstrate that it has played a part in supporting or developing innovative community upliftment projects. Supporting documents must be provided.
·         The entrant must show the nature of its involvement in youth development and empowerment projects and programmes.
·         The entrant must share the values practised within the enterprise and the community.
9. SMME Award
This award acknowledges small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) as a key enabler of economic growth and employment in South Africa. The award targets SMMEs with less than 300 employees and a turnover below R100 million. The company must illustrate its sustainability and future potential to grow and create more local jobs.
·         This category targets SMMEs with less than 300 employees. Evidence of this must be provided.
·         The SMME must provide evidence of innovation of either a product or system of manufacturing and intellectual property protection.
·         Evidence needs to be provided to demonstrate competitiveness and the market share that the enterprise has captured or penetrated.
·         Product uniqueness must be demonstrated.
·         Evidence must be provided to demonstrate the degree to which the enterprise contributes towards job creation and must be quantified by showing the number of jobs created year-on-year.
10. Women Owned Businesses Award
This award acknowledges women-owned enterprises as a key part of economic growth in South Africa.
·         The enterprise/organisation should indicate number of years in business.
·         The enterprise should be 100% women-owned and must be in the service or manufacturing sectors.
·         The owner must demonstrate leadership potential and supporting documents must be provided.
·         Evidence must be given of a proven track record with regard to job creation.
·         The entrant must illustrate growth potential, mentorship of young women and skills development.
·         Evidence must be given of a proven track record in developing and implementing unique business ideas.
·         Evidence must be provided of mentoring through the transfer of skills and a high involvement in projects aimed at empowering others.
·         The entrant must be able to demonstrate participation in community programmes that aim to make a difference in the community (positive social impact programmes).

DTI Hosts Planning for Exports Training

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is hosting training in various cities to train entrepreneurs on exporting. The DTI invitation reads as follows:

The Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) invites both emerging and potential exporters to Planning for Exports training, the purpose of which is to prepare SMEs for the successful expansion of their businesses into international markets. Planning for Exports is a three-day course covering the following basic export skills: Export strategic planning; export logistics; export costing; packaging and labelling; feasibility analysis; and negotiation techniques. This training is geared to capacitate companies to be export ready, preparing them to meaningfully exploit export opportunities. There is NO COST for participating in this training. However, only those companies that have export potential will be selected. Please be aware that 50 companies will be accepted on a first-come-first-served basis. Please indicate the city in which you intend to attend. The venue will be communicated to you in due course. The training is scheduled to take place in nine cities as per the enclosed schedule. Interested companies/individuals should RSVP by telephone and/or e-mail using the attached form.

For further details, about training in your area, please download the brochure and application forms below.
Download Invitation 
[download id=”7134″]
Download Application Form 
[download id=”7136″]

Hack Jozi Challenge – For Startups That Make A Difference

The Hack Jozi Challenge is a boot camp for start-up entrepreneurs brought to you by Seed Academy,  Joburg Centre for Software Engineering at Wits University and the City of Johannesburg.  The challenge has R 5 million worth of prizes available, in cash and kind.  The aim of the bootcamp is to:
  •  Fostering skills, innovation and entrepreneurship in the broad area of digital technology.
  • The programme is in support of capacity development, job creation and enterprise development.
 Details on the application process is covered in this short 1 minute video.
 [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z1JzZaI4FSY]


The organisers answer all the questions with the following:
Anyone can enter. Entrepreneurs could either be individuals or teams, preferably with the relevant technical capabilities, an opportunity for entrants to formulate partnerships to improve their ventures.

What kind of Startup is required?
Startups must use a digital technology to address a need in the community.

How does the funding work?
Once selected, participants will be awarded membership to Jozis digital hub plus a cash amount. Support will also be provided in the form of technical requirements and mentorship. The Top Selected Awardees will also receive one year free hosting credit for their business applications from IBM.
More details on applying can be found on the Hack Jozi Challenge website. Click here. 
Applications close on the 27 February 2015.
(P.S.  Hack Jozi has an awesome logo)

Local success need not be an alien concept

ENTREPRENEURS can learn a lot just from visiting and trading with other businesses and so can those making public policy.
But this critical street-level perspective is missing with government officials in the wake of recent attacks on foreign-owned spaza shops, seemingly unable to explain whether foreign-owned shops are super profitable, if they pay taxes and whether they should be formalised.
I recently went to a foreign-owned spaza shop in Yeoville, Johannesburg. The shop owner willingly sold me a soft drink, but was reluctant to share stories.
Yet even a quick glance around the shop was revealing. A machine dispensed prepaid electricity and airtime. Items of fresh produce were sold individually, as were pieces of chicken. Advanced payment systems for certain services sat cheek-by-jowl with the traditional method of selling single servings.
The setup reminded me of tactics outlined by CK Prahalad in his book The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid.
Another example: on a Sunday afternoon, we needed to repair a school uniform — which was no problem, because we had a choice of about a dozen tailors in Fordsburg.
After a couple of quick quotes and the compulsory haggling, we had a repair completed professionally and within half an hour. The business we chose had one person dealing with customers and two tailors working through a large number of garments.
This business intrigued me. Three people employed in a small shop, with neat fittings, the requisite equipment and doing a brisk trade.
It is the type of business envisaged by the National Development Plan, which sees lower-skilled service businesses as employment generators. The tailors would not take kindly to being described as such — indeed, they could probably produce a bespoke suit — but their niche is for repairs done inexpensively and for day-to-day women’s outfits. If you wanted a bespoke suit, you would find a specialist around the corner, and next to him someone displaying his summer collection of evening wear for women.
Crucially, these tailoring businesses are thriving, despite the enormous job losses in the clothing and textile industries and tough negotiations on a minimum wage in the sector.
These ventures raise questions —  significant policy questions —  especially if the number of such businesses can be increased to reduce unemployment.
In townships, besides collective buying and the selling of single servings and prepaid technology, an important service is the provision of credit, often interest free.
For some it is about practising the Islamic prohibition on charging interest, but more generally it is a time-honoured way of doing business.
This practice is supported by monthly transfers from the state through social grants, remittances and salaries in these communities, and an acceptable default rate on payments.
These informal credit agreements are an important part of operating in South Africa’s townships.
One could get wrapped up in the seeming exceptionalism of foreign-owned stores, but the Gauteng City-Region Observatory has revealed that the majority of informal businesses in Gauteng are owned by South Africans. And success is not foreign to them.
Moreover, one should remember that, for a range of reasons, many foreign-owned businesses are not fully formal. But the kneejerk response to formalise them must be questioned. The Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation argues for a two-pronged strategy: formalising larger businesses and allowing microenterprises to remain informal.
This could be an optimal strategy for our government and is a policy recommendation worth considering.
Around the world, governments are encouraging immigrant entrepreneurs. The education and entrepreneurship Kauffman Foundation recently offered guidance to national, state and local governments in the US on attracting talented expats, specifically in the technology sector. And a “start-up visa” to support the relocation of businesses is already available to entrepreneurs in Chile, France and Canada, with other countries adopting similar strategies.
The common refrain in South Africa is that immigrant entre-preneurs are only involved in retail, so do not bring anything “new to the table”.
But these entrepreneurs are also involved in light manufacturing, making products such as washing powder, sweets and mattresses.
Often they are importing technologies and processes developed in other countries to serve poorer consumers. These experiences in manufacturing are an important area of study, especially because the government has a commitment to creating 1000 black industrialists.
The attacks on foreign-owned shops in Gauteng are clearly xenophobic. Underlying them are assumptions about the profitability of foreign-owned businesses and a sense that the economy does not offer locals any opportunities. But aspirant entrepreneurs can learn by observing successful businesses owned by South Africans and immigrants.
This would be enhanced by addressing the root causes of violent protest: resilient and high levels of inequality in wealth and opportunity in South Africa.
In addressing this underlying challenge, better public policy will be developed from us all having more of a street level perspective.
This article first appeared in the Sunday Times: Business Times on the 8 February 2015.

Innotribe Startup Challenge

Innotribe Startup Challenge comes to Africa. Be certain to get your entries in before the 22 February 2015.
The challenge is focussed on Fintech companies. Writing on Silicon Cape, Kevin Johnson, Innotribe Startup Challenge Manager encourages applications as follows:

The Innotribe Startup Challenge is free to enter, unlike other challenges. We don’t charge for companies to pitch, and it’s open to startups as well as more grown-up companies who are still under the radar. It’s dedicated to FinTech entrepreneurs, this means that the judges we recruit, the audience we attract are the people you need to reach as they know any idea coming out of Innotribe will be relevant to them.

Entry into the competition provides applicants with the following advantages:

  • Feedback – Your application will be reviewed by a seasoned team of judges, and you will receive feedback even if you are not selected.
  • Exposure: if you make it through the selection process, you will be invited to one of our regional showcases, in London, Cape Town, Singapore or New York, to pitch your idea to a room of relevant people who will be assessing your presentation. Using the innotribe.com media channels, blogs, Twitter, and LinkedIn, we will expose your ideas to our 20,000+ followers, before, during and after the showcase.
  • Coaching: Refine  your pitch, and improve your business with help from Innotribe team .
  • Networking: An opportunity to attend Sibos, a major financial services conference. This provides networking opportunities, plus exhibition space.
  • Cash prize:  An early stage startup make it through the regional showcase, and win the Grand Finale, they will be awarded a cash prize of $50,000 USD

The successful applicants will be announced in April 2015.
To apply, please click this link to apply.
The video below provides background on this contest, and provides a sense of what is expected.


Growing Hands Entrepreneurs Training – 2015 Schedule

The popular training programme run by Growing Hands has released its scheduled. The schedule for upcoming sessions are listed below:

  • Session # 4: Financial Management Made Easy- Free and abundant cash flows for your success! Kerrbyn Ramballie (21 February 2015).
  • Session # 5- Leading a Start-Up venture, Understanding leadership in the small business environment and learning about your key role as a leader! Mohammed Salim Aziz 28 February 2015.
  • Session # 6 – Cracking the Code with Immunity to Change. Overcome your Personal Resistance to the Change You Genuinely want – Become successful in what you want to do. Ntsiki Ndumela (7 March 2015)
  • Session # 7 Stellar Business Plans to Secure Capital for Your Business – Jeremy Lang (14 March 2015)
  • Session # 8 Why Digital Marketing is a must for Start-Up Ventures – Haroun Pochee B. Com C.A (SA) (21 March 2015).

The lineup of presenters is exceptionally strong, with the presenters having experince and the theory to provide an incredibly useful session.
Please find attached the full programme, by downloading it below.
[download id=”7100″]