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Cobus Oelofse – The Entrepreneur 2021 launching SMME’s on a path of growth

The iLembe Chamber’s 11th annual The Entrepreneur Programme and Competition was launched on Tuesday, the 18th of May 2021. Following its 10th celebratory anniversary in 2020, the flagship entrepreneurial development programme will revert to its normal competition format in 2021.

The competition has allowed the iLembe Chamber, with the support of its academic and professional partners, to establish itself at the forefront of entrepreneurial development and small, medium and micro enterprises (SMME) support in the iLembe District. The programme is widely endorsed and recognised. Over the past 10 years, 228 finalists have participated in The Entrepreneur programme – with participants reporting 50% growth in revenue following their participation in the programme.

In addition to enhancing the viability of the finalists’ businesses, these businesses have created 261 new jobs in the local economy at an investment of just over R2520 per job created.

Previous winners and finalists have excelled following their participation in The Entrepreneur Competition. Welile Gumede from Azowel Projects, based in Maphumulo, was placed first in UKZN’s Champions Programme, whilst Joyce Ncacana from Just Meats in Mandeni was selected to participate in the programme. Welile and Patricia Schroder (Reclite SA) were finalists in the Fair Lady/Santam Woman of the Future event, with Patricia being awarded the accolade in 2018.

Just Meats Butchery have flourished following Joyce’s participation in the programme. Just Meats has not only increased its footprint, with customers in the Ballito area and beyond, but also diversified its offering.

The iLembe Chamber’s The Entrepreneur is a business accelerator programme that aims to find entrepreneurial gems in the iLembe District, and develop and support them to sustainable levels of growth.

Competition entries will be invited over a period of six weeks with the first tuition session taking place on 31 July 2021. The 2021 competition aims to attract the best SMME talent in our district. Twenty SMMEs will be selected to participate in the competition.

The 2021 programme will run over a period of nine weeks during which competition finalists will be exposed to intensive business modelling, both through tuition and practical application, as part of a programme co-designed by the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) and USA-based Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Finalists will also be supported through mentorship by iLembe Chamber accredited mentors from a wide range of sectors and professions.

Apart from the business development funding and marketing collateral received by entrepreneurs, the competition provides an opportunity for the finalists to gain critical business skills, receive mentorship and training, and prepare a comprehensive business plan that will allow them to grow and develop their businesses.

The iLembe Chamber is proud to partner with Enterprise iLembe, Airports Company South Africa (KSIA), the North Coast Courier, Siza Water and ENGIE Peakers Operations in presenting this programme.

To enter the competition, candidates need to complete an application form that can be downloaded from The Entrepreneur website (www.theentrepreneur.net.za).

Entry forms are also available from the iLembe Chamber offices, and various competition entry boxes will be placed throughout the district.

For more information you can contact Sakhile Khumalo

T: +27 (0)87 354 6343

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