Awards to recognise South Africa’s top township entrepreneurs

A total of R1-million is on offer to Gauteng’s best township entrepreneurs. The inaugural Township Entrepreneur Awards — which includes 50 000 entrepreneurs in the South African province — hopes to showcase, recognise and reward forward-thinking township businesses in the region.

Gauteng MEC for Economic Development, Environment, Agriculture and Rural Development Lebogang Maile, who is currently calling for nominations, explained the importance of the awards:

We have inspirational stories of township entrepreneurs breaking through hostile and adverse conditions of the apartheid system, which effectively criminalised and stifled black enterprise and building formidable brands and industries.

As argued in a recent Ventureburn article, South African townships can become hotbeds for innovation.

“We have to break the paradigm of townships only being consumer-driven service economies to townships as productive sites and thriving commercial centres,” said Maile in a press statement.

Moipone Molotsi from the University of Johannesburg’s Centre for Small Business Development reiterated this, saying that “townships are no longer just offering services but there is a shift to a greater focus on productive economic activities, manufacturing, product development and innovation.”

Read more: Why it’s important for SA startups to adopt a social impact mindset

There are fifteen categories in the competition, thirteen of which require the submission of an entry form for consideration. Three specialist categories are open to businesses owned by young people, people with disabilities and women.

To qualify for the competition, participants must amongst others be South African citizens residing in Gauteng, own a registered business, have a tax clearance certificate, financial statements, an annual turnover of less than R2 million.

Businesses also need to be active in the transport, automotive and components, construction, real estate, furniture and timber, food and beverage, tourism and creative industries, retail and finance as well as service driven sectors like car washes, restaurants, and beauty parlours.

The prizes for the awards are designed to address the peculiar challenges facing township businesses by offering:

  • Cash injections up to the value of R1 million
  • All expenses paid learning trip to some of the world’s leading innovators with strong entrepreneurship culture
  • Mentorship and incubation provided by established businesses across various trades and sectors as well as
  • Business tools to enhance performance and output

The launch will officially announce the Call for Nominations which will close 2 November 2015, followed by a rigorous adjudication process and interviews for finalists. The process will finally lead up to the actual awards ceremony, which will be take place 20 February.

Image by LSG05 via Flickr



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