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Sky-rocketing your business to new heights

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IF you are a small Black-owned business in the clothing and textile, automotive or chemical industries, you are invited to enter the 2021 Business Accelerator Programme and put yourself in the running to win seed capital for your business. 

In addition to cash prizes for the applicants in each sector, Megan Wuite, Head of the 2021 Business Accelerator Programme said that selected finalists will also be given a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity to participate in a three-month hands-on mentorship programme with some of South Africa’s top business leaders. Upon completion of the programme, entrants also stand the chance to unlock procurement and preferential loan funding opportunities.

Wuite said the programme’s objective is to develop high potential Black SMEs as strategic suppliers to industrial lead enterprises through market access, standards upgrading, and capital investment interventions.

“South Africa is filled with talented entrepreneurs with worthy business concepts, however, they don’t always have the expertise and resources they need to unlock growth potential,” she said.

The programme has been running for three years in the Durban Chemical Cluster and the KZN and Cape Clothing and Textile clusters and, according to Wuite, its methodology has a track record of positive results across South Africa.

“So far the programme has unlocked over 250 jobs and R3 million in new market opportunities in the clothing and textile sectors, and over R2 million in preferential loans in the chemical sector. Based on this success, we’re thrilled to announce that the automotive sector has come on board for the first time this year.”

The Business Accelerator Programme for the clothing and textile sector is open to all black-owned start-ups and established SMME’s in Kwa-Zulu Natal and the Western Cape.  The Business Accelerator Programme for the chemical sector is open to all BEE candidates from Kwa-Zulu Natal. For automotive, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal based businesses may apply. To enter, interested parties need to submit their business case and/or innovative projects by completing an online application by Friday 22 October 2021.

From there each Cluster, in partnership with sector leaders, will screen and select candidates to join them in an online workshop as well as host them in two one-day, face-to-face events.

“The full-day, highly-interactive pitch support, face-to-face session is an extraordinary opportunity for the entrants to network and learn from leading businesspeople and fine-tune their business pitches which they will present to a panel of judges at the second full-day event that is modelled on the ‘Dragon’s Den’ concept. From there the winners and some selected candidates will also be awarded the business mentorship programme” Wuite said.

“We understand that it takes more than money to turn an idea or innovation into a viable growing business. That’s why we’ve leveraged experience, expertise and partnerships to create a winning accelerator platform that is proven to take small businesses to the next level.”

Clothing and Textile entrants can enter here:       (Western Cape applicants)   (KwaZulu-Natal applicants)

Chemical sector entrants can enter here:    (KwaZulu-Natal applicants)

Automotive sector entrants can enter here:  (Eastern Cape applicants) (KwaZulu-Natal applicants)


Dates of events:

2 November: Capacity Building Online workshop (all sectors)

11 November: Clothing and Textile Cluster Pitch workshop (Durban)

17 November: Clothing and Textile Cluster Dragon’s Den (Durban)

24 November: Clothing and Textile Cluster Pitch workshop (Cape Town)

25 November:  Clothing and Textile Cluster Dragon’s Den (Cape Town)

29 November: Automotive and Chemical Cluster Pitch workshop (Durban)

1 December: Chemical Cluster Dragon’s Den (Durban)

2 December:  Automotive Cluster Dragon’s Den (Durban)

Entries close on Friday, Friday 22 October 2021.

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