Eskom champions entrepreneurs with disabilities
“Eskom is targeting more participation from small businesses owned by people with disabilities in its 2021 Business Investment Competition and Business Connect”, says Eskom Development Foundation (ESDEF) Chief Executive Officer, Cecil Ramonotsi.
“Eskom realises that entrepreneurs with disabilities face many more stumbling blocks than small businesses in general. The disabled community continues to be marginalised and, to this end, we are making a concerted effort to encourage this group of entrepreneurs to enter our 2021 Business Investment Competition which seeks to contribute to their growth and sustainability, as well as to help them thrive in these tough economic times,” explained Ramonotsi.
Eskom’s annual Business Investment Competition (BIC) has been running since 2008 and targets small businesses in the manufacturing, agriculture & agri-processing, construction & engineering, and trade & services sectors. The businesses must be in existence for two years or more to enter.
Studies show that although South Africa is advanced in terms of its policies to include people with disabilities in mainstream economic activity, the problem lies in implementation of the policies. “Of the 2.25 million small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) in South Africa, a small percentage is owned by entrepreneurs with disabilities, yet support has been minimal. Through our enterprise development initiatives and the Business Investment Competition in particular, Eskom seeks to contribute to realising a small business sector that is transformed and more inclusive of previously marginalised groups,” Ramonotsi added.
A 2018 study by the University of the Witwatersrand School of Economic & Business Sciences found that the top six challenges facing entrepreneurs living with disabilities include: lack of equipment and machinery, discrimination, lack of networking platforms, access to start-up capital, lack of government support as well as education and training.
“Through opportunities such as the BIC, we are actively working towards building the capacity of entrepreneurs with disabilities to further contribute to our economy, thus fast-tracking the elimination of poverty and inequality within our communities,” said Nthato Minyuku, Eskom’s Group Executive for Government and Regulatory Affairs.
Qualifying businesses are encouraged to enter at www.eskombic2021.co.za until midnight on 31 October 2021. Winners in each category will take home cash prizes, and the overall winner walks away with a prize that will definitely boost their business. All entrants also benefit from a two-day Business Connect workshop that focuses on building various business skills.
For support and assistance to enter, small business owners should email Grounded Media at [email protected]