Polokwane: Aspiring entrepreneurs in Limpopo have a chance to realise their dreams with the launch of the 2012/2013 Business LaunchPad.
Existing businesses and people with ideas for small businesses will be given support, training and exposure to help them get off the ground, said Limpopo Economic Development Enterprise (LimDev) managing director, Tshepo Phetla.
“This year, several new innovations will be introduced to improve the programme’s effectiveness in building a culture of entrepreneurship in the province,” said Phetla on Tuesday.
He said two separate development programmes will be run – one for participants with business ideas and another for those with existing businesses.
“This will ensure that we deliver the appropriate support to these different stages of entrepreneurship. Those with business ideas will learn how to plan and start their businesses in such a way as to reduce the risk of failure, while those with existing businesses will learn how to grow their businesses and access funding,” he added.
Phetla said through the programme, LimDev will also publish a business opportunities book called “LimDev-Connect”. It will list the profiles and products of all the businesses which participated in the Business LaunchPad.
However, these participants must meet certain basic business standards.
The directory will be distributed free to hundreds of government and business buyers, officials and procurement offices.
He said the programme will also have a special team, including independent small business financial experts, who will assist finalists and winners in the competition, to apply for funding from various institutions.
“This direct intervention will help address one of the main stumbling blocks, which is the provision of funding to small business, where problems are often due to the lack of preparation on the part of the small business owner, who frequently does not understand the funding criteria and how to comply with them,” Phetla said.
Over the past two years in Limpopo, Business LaunchPad has provided training and support to more than 200 small business owners and individuals, groups and co-operatives with business ideas.
Phetla said numerous finalists and winners have been assisted with funding applications, and winners have received more than R400 000 worth of prizes and support to encourage their spirit of entrepreneurship.
“This year, the project will also be expanding its youth skills transfer programme by training four youth interns in project management, event management, promotional communication and project administration,” Phetla said.
Entry forms for the competition are available from all branches of LimDev, Libsa, Seda, NYDA and various other community centres and municipalities.
Anyone who wants to enter can also contact the project office on 015 295 5120.