Mpumalanga-based entrepreneur, Freddy Sibuyi, has been crowned the national winner in the 2017 BUSINESS/PARTNERS / SME Toolkit Global Entrepreneurship Week’s Business Plan Competition for Aspiring Young Entrepreneurs – a competition that saw hundreds of young aspiring entrepreneurs attend business planning workshops aimed at equipping them with the necessary skills and tools to turn their business idea into a reality.
This year the competition – aimed at individuals between the ages of 18 and 35 – received 700 entries, and over the course of five months, 18 regional workshops focused on teaching the complexities of compiling a business plan, as well as the basics of how to run a business efficiently, were held across the country. Following each workshop, individuals were encouraged to submit their business plans for judging, and from the 120 business plans received, eight regional winners were selected to be finalists in the national awards and compete for the overall winner title.
The 2017 winner, Freddy Sibuyi is the brain behind Freddy and Sons Maintenance Engineering (Pty) Ltd, which is based and managed from Lephong, Thulamahashe, Mpumalanga. The business will service the local municipality and the Department of Public Works, private businesses and residential clients and aims to cater to all their electrical needs ranging from electrical and mechanical engineering consultation, commercial and industrial electrical contracting, project management, or electrical wiring and air-conditioning services.
Speaking at the awards ceremony, held this morning in Johannesburg, Petro Bothma, Enterprise Development Manager at Business Partners Limited (BUSINESS/PARTNERS), says that while the quality of this year’s finalists made it difficult for the judges to select an overall winner, the passion and enthusiasm that Sibuyi exuded, coupled with a business plan that ticked all the right boxes, he had the edge over his fellow finalists.
“The information presented in his business plan was well thought through, presentable and made financial sense. But most importantly, it was reliable, implementable and his business has the potential to be viable,” says Bothma.
When selecting the national winner, the judges consider the quality of the business plan, the level of innovation, viability of the business concept, entrepreneurial ability and whether the aspiring entrepreneur is in fact ready to become a business owner in terms of leadership skills and suitability to mentorship.
Bothma adds that above these considerations, the judges also look for the undefinable ‘wow’, and Sibuyi ticked all these boxes.
For clinching the national title, 2017 Business/Partners/ SME Toolkit Global Entrepreneurship Week’s Business Plan Competition for Aspiring Young Entrepreneurs will provide Sibuyi with R25 000 in seed capital for his business, a mentorship voucher, a smart tablet and goodie bag. General Electric, a digital industrial company that operates in power, transportation, healthcare, energy connections and aviation will also sponsor a 12-month incubation and training programme for Sibuyi in order to grow his business.
This is in addition to the eLearning course that SA Businesshub provided to the aspiring entrepreneurs who submitted their business plans. For the individuals attending the KwaZulu-Natal regional workshop BizFarm provided online courses and short-term incubation programmes.
Now in its 8th year, Bothma says that the competition is not only increasingly gaining attraction amongst young entrepreneurs, but that the quality of business plans submitted year-on-year is improving, as well as the diversity of the business plans across various industries.
“We have also noticed a trend where these aspiring entrepreneurs come back to attend workshops even if they have entered in previous years – showing the grit and tenacity to succeed. In a country where youth unemployment is reported at over 65%, this is the most encouraging trend.”