As part of its commitment to supporting innovation that drives entrepreneurship in Africa, Standard Bank sponsored the Festival of Entrepreneurship held during Global Entrepreneurship Week (16-21 November) in the Maboneng Precinct, Johannesburg. Here are the highlights from the start-up celebration themed ‘Collaboration is the New Innovation’.
1. Getting to grips with Gauteng Enterprise Propeller (GEP)
Day one introduced entrepreneurs to the GEP. Founded in 2005, its mandate from Government is to provide financial support, technical support and skills development to Gauteng-based SMMEs. GEPs Nomonde Zulu expanded on their growth finance programme, giving new hope to budding entrepreneurs in need of funding.
2. Google Hangout with the Youth Enterprising People (YEP) from the UK
On day two of the Festival, participants were able to connect with YEP – the UK’s version of hosts The Hookup Dinner, which targets young people between four and 19 years old – because you’re never too young to start a business. One of YEP’s most inspiring ventures is their fully-functional Youth Bank, which they run and fund themselves. Through a youth board, they are accountable to shareholders and are able to give loans to start-ups.
3. Jayshree Naidoo talks ‘Innovation Incubation for Entrepreneurs’ Innovation thought leader and champion Jayshree Naidoo, who sits on Standard Bank South Africa's Innovation Capability Team, unleashed her passion for innovation and incubation, reminding entrepreneurs that they must bring more than ideas to funders – they must use creativity to stand out from the crowd. And her insights did not disappoint: ‘An incubator is not just a physical space. It's a way of thinking,’ she proclaimed.http://bit.ly/1puG73X
4. How to spot an entrepreneur
‘The world doesn’t need any more good ideas – the world needs people who take action,’ said Paul Steenkamp – Head of Innovation Capability at Standard Bank. His no-nonsense guide to being and indeed spotting an entrepreneur hushed any excuse one might have for pursing the rocky road of entrepreneurship: ‘As Afrikaners say: “a boer maak a plan”, everything that you have, is everything that you need.’
5. Finding synergies between franchise development and enterprise development
If anyone knows the challenges of starting a small business, it’s Simone Cooper, Head of Enterprise Development and Franchising at Standard Bank. Among the reasons so many fail, she said in her presentation on day five of the Festival, are starting a business to get rich, ignoring changes in market environment, poor financial management and ineffective sales and marketing. Franchisees are able skip many of these hurdles thanks to the assistance, training, proven business models and joint advertising and promotion. Simone’s parting shot was to make sure you choose your franchise concept wisely and receive ongoing support.
6. Entrepreneurs get pitch perfect.
More than a networking event, the Festival of Entrepreneurship provided a real platform for entrepreneurs and SMEs to connect with corporates and investors and learn how to take their start-ups to the next level. One of the best illustrations of this was the daily Just Pitch 180 competition. Entrants had just 180 seconds to make their pitch to live panel of experts made up of Jayshree Naidoo, Philisiwe Twala (Gauteng Enterprise Propeller CEO), Lumko Mhlahlo (GIBS Enterprise Development Manager), Polo Radebe (Dragon Investor & IDF Managers co-founder) and Mojalefe Mohoto (Deputy Director General Department of Small Business Development). Receiving instant feedback from the judges may have been priceless but that doesn’t mean the winners walked away empty handed. In first place chef Sbu Xaba from Babooshka Hospitality won a design voucher from Standard Bank to the value of R40 000.00 and a Standard Bank Business account with R10 000.00 cash. Shermina Motlhasedi from Sher1 Accessories & Gifts came in second, and was awarded a free business development assessment from the Gauteng Enterprise Propeller. And Val Ezeani fromRadiovybe.com was awarded third place and exclusive GIBS Networking sessions.
The Festival of Entrepreneurship – powered by Standard Bank was jam packed with innovation, insights and inspiration not only for entrepreneurs but for the organisations looking to invest in them.