Tuesday, 28 September 2021

Johannesburg: The Eskom Development Foundation calls on black entrepreneurs in the manufacturing sector to enter its annual Business Investment Competition (BIC).

Launched in 2008, the BIC is an annual competition targeting black-owned small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs), giving them a platform to showcase their service offering, capacitating them with business skills, and granting them an opportunity to network and market their businesses on a national platform.

To participate, the businesses must be in the engineering/construction, manufacturing, agriculture/agri-processing or trade/services sectors, and have been in operation for at least 24 months.

Now in its 13th consecutive year, the competition’s prize money totals R1,3 million. The overall winner will receive R300 000, and the winner of each sector will take home R131 250, whereas the first and second runners-up will each receive R75 000 and R50 000 respectively.

Manufacturing is South Africa’s fourth-largest industry, contributing 14% to South Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP). Eskom is calling all small businesses in this sector to seize the opportunity that the Business Investment Competition presents, as it is aimed at contributing to their development and sustainability.

“Although statistics show a 1,6% growth in the manufacturing sector in the first quarter of 2021 compared with the 4th quarter of 2020, showing signs of economic recovery, we are realise the impact that COVID-19 has had on this sector over the past year, particularly the small players that require greater assistance to stay afloat.” said Cecil Ramonotsi, Chief Executive Officer of the Eskom Development Foundation.

In the report on the survey of the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA’s) Impact of Covid – 19 on Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises since lockdown, released in September 2020, the respondents cited the challenges that the pandemic posed to the small business sector, as lack of revenue generation (26%), cash-flow challenges (22%), and the inability to generate sales (14%).

“Eskom’s Business Investment Competition not only provides a cash injection to entrepreneurs to sustain their businesses, but also, through our Business Connect workshops that the finalists participate in after the competition, we build their capacity with business skills to help them navigate the challenging economic terrain that the pandemic created.” added Ramonotsi.

“Despite the challenges that the Covid-19 pandemic created, we were able to reinvest the prize money received from the 2020 BIC into the business by getting an electricity upgrade in our factory to increase our production capacity.” said Tshepo Mazibuko of KI Recycling, manufacturing-sector winners in the 2020 Business Investment Competition.

“Our Corporate Social Investment approach at Eskom has shifted, particularly in relation to enterprise development, to interventions aimed at creating an enabling environment for black industrialists to emerge and thrive.” said Ramonotsi.

If you are a qualifying black-owned small business in the manufacturing sector, do seize this opportunity!

Enter at www.eskombic2021.co.za until midnight on 30 October 2021.