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Standard Bank is proud to announce that four small enterprises that were selected as the winners of its boost competition for entrepreneurs in the North West province have successfully completed a 10-month incubator programme.

With each business learning various skills ranging from bookkeeping, financial wellness within the business sector as well networking skills that helps with engaging with fellow peers who are in the same business or industry as theirs. Standard Bank continues to monitor these businesses and assist as they make the exciting journey of owning and managing a business.

Launched in November 2020 in collaboration with the North West Development Corporation, the Standard Bank boost competition was designed to assist entrepreneurs in the province to establish sustainable businesses.

The boost initiative is powered Standard Bank’s enterprise development programme, which focuses on empowering businesses in South Africa with financial support and guidance.

Standard Bank received an overwhelmingly positive response to the competition following its launch, with thousands of entrepreneurs applying to pitch their small business concepts to a judging panel to stand a chance to win financial capital and receive business development training, facilitated by our chosen Business Development Service Provider Human Capital Learning Solutions (HCLS).

Businesses registered in the North West districts of Ngaka Modiri Molema, Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati, BojanalaPlatinum, and Dr Kenneth Kaunda were invited to apply. Applicants were also required to have a minimum annual turnover of R200 000 with a 51% or more BBBEE ownership.

Around 280 applicants were then identified, which the judging panel, comprised of executives from Standard Bank and the North West Development Corporation, filtered down to 12 hopefuls. After a six-month business development programme, facilitated by HCLS, nine SMMEs were then shortlisted for the final round.

These nine businesses presented their business model and ideas at the virtual ‘Shark Tank’ style sessions in their respective regions. The judging panel then identified one entrepreneur from each district who put the strongest pitch forward.

Metsana Kojane, a South African agripreneur empowering women and girls through beekeeping, was selected as the overall winner of the boost competition. Kojane received R100 000 in cash and R50 000 as capital to go towards the growth of her agriculture business.

Prior to entering the competition, Kojane said that she had faced challenges from a logistics perspective and the transporting goods to customers. Now, however, after receiving a cash boost from Standard Bank, she has been able to purchase a delivery vehicle to amplify logistics.

Kojane said that she was also grateful for the opportunity to participate in the 10-month business development programme as she was able to gain further experience in financial management and learn from and engage with experts who are masters in the field.

For Omphile Mathane, owner of Zawadi Project Management CC, which provides services to the hospitality and tourism industry, the monetary winnings and support came at a critical time. Mathane, who was identified as the second winner and received R50 000 cash and a R50 000 capital injection, says his businesses was hit hard during the pandemic, which adversely affected revenue and brought all plans for the business to a grinding halt.

“I was feeling stuck with few options for a way forward. However, the support has helped immensely to ensure our business survives; we have been able to cover operational expenses, work towards completing our accommodation block, and appoint an agency to help with digital marketing for a year.”

In addition to financing, market access is one of the key challenges that entrepreneurs face. This was the case for Gugu Tong, who runs Empire Travel and Tours, which is a 100% black owned travel management company.

Tong was the third winner of the boost competition and received R30 000 in cash and a R50 000 in financial capital for her small business. She says that the financial support and mentorship has empowered her with knowledge around marketing, go-to-market strategies and assisted her to develop marketing collateral.

Like many other businesses, Abel & Jane Diamond experienced challenges during the pandemic as they could not sell their diamonds mined to auction prices. The rough diamond market declined as demand dried up. 

Paseka Sehawa, who owns the business, delivered a winning pitch during the pitching session of the boost competition, and received R20 000 cash and a R50 000 capital injection to expand his diamond business. He says that mentorship has helped him to become a better entrepreneur: “I now know how to organise the books and interpret financial statements and it has helped me to realize other market opportunities within the diamond industry.”

Brenda Magana of Standard Bank says that the boost competition forms part of a wide range of initiatives that the bank has undertaken to grow entrepreneurship in the country. “At Standard Bank, we are actively involved and deliberate about providing universal services – within banking and beyond – that will develop and grow small businesses to create shared economic value in South Africa.”