Eskom is making a call to 100% black women-owned small and medium businesses to enter this year’s Business Investment competition (BIC) and automatically have access to attend a two-day “Business Connect” event.
This year’s BIC opened on 30 August 2021 and is closing at midnight on 31 October 2021, on www.eskombic2021.co.za.
The competition, which has been running for a record 13 years, is open to 100% black-owned registered South African businesses operating in the engineering/construction, manufacturing, agriculture/agri-processing, or trade/services sectors. The collective prize money up for grabs in the BIC is more than a whopping R1,3 million! The overall winner will get R300 000, each sector winner R131 250, each runner-up will get R75 000 and each second runner-up, R50 000.
Eskom recognises that female entrepreneurs continue to struggle with access to financing and mentorship compared to their male counterparts. “Through the Eskom BIC and Business Connect, we are offering a solution and equal opportunity for women-led small and medium businesses to access business skills and funds,” he adds. “Our enterprise development interventions seek to empower small businesses owned by previously disadvantaged individuals, particularly women entrepreneurs who lead around 47% of South Africa’s small medium and micro enterprises,” expresses Cecil Ramonotsi, Chief Executive of the Eskom Development Foundation (EDF).
“Women entrepreneurship is a major contributor to socio-economic growth, particularly in townships and rural areas by way of job creation and poverty alleviation,” explains Ramonotsi. Research has shown steady growth among women entrepreneurs over the years, and although statistics show that women-owned businesses account for a lower percentage of non-performing loans, presenting a lower risk for business financiers, the funding deficit still prevails for female entrepreneurs.
“The severe economic impact of COVID-19 further puts pressure on women entrepreneurs who were already pressed for funding before the pandemic and has seen financiers become more risk-averse. It is against this background that Eskom is rallying behind female entrepreneurs with efforts aimed at boosting and sustaining them to weather the storm,” adds Ramonotsi.
“Through the Business Investment Competition, Eskom seeks to address the four challenges sited by female entrepreneurs: access to funding, access to mentorship, access to business tools, as well as a network of expertise. This is achieved through the BIC, as well as our Business Connect two-day training workshop BIC entrants attend after the competition,” explains Ramonotsi.
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