THE ESKOM Development Foundation has called on black entrepreneurs in the manufacturing sector to enter its annual Business Investment Competition (BIC), which is running from 30 August 2021 to midnight on 31 October 2021.
Eskom announced that 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.
“Eskom’s BIC not only provides a cash injection to entrepreneurs to sustain their businesses but, through our Business Connect workshops in which the BIC entrants participate after the competition, we also build their capacity with business skills to help them navigate the challenging economic terrain that the pandemic created, we call it powering up” said Cecil Ramonotsi, Chief Executive Officer of the Eskom Development Foundation.
Eskom has called on all small businesses in this sector to seize the opportunity that the BIC presents to contribute 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 fourth quarter of 2020 and is showing signs of economic recovery, we 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,” Ramonotsi said.
In the report on the survey of the National Youth Development Agency’s (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%).
“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 BIC.
“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,” Ramonotsi added.
If you are a qualifying black-owned small business in the manufacturing sector, seize this opportunity by Entering at www.eskombic2021.co.za until midnight on 30 October 2021.