The South African Breweries (SAB) has announced the Top 15 national finalists for this year in its youth entrepreneurship programme, SAB KickStart.
SAB KickStart is recognised as one of the leading private sector programmes of its kind in South Africa.
The group of young business owners were selected from a group of 60 shortlisted entrants whose business applications were judged by an independent panel of adjudicators late last year. This followed a programme of business skills training, a key component of the SAB KickStart offering.
The finalists will now undertake a rigorous six-month long programme of business mentorship specifically tailored to their business growth needs to ensure they become sustainable over the long term and drive job creation. Each business is allocated a mentor, who is carefully selected by SAB.
More than 700 aspiring entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 35 years from across South Africa heeded the SAB KickStart call-to-entry in mid-2012, each of them hopeful of an opportunity to reap the rewards of the programme. SAB Kickstart has assisted more than 3500 youth-owned businesses since its inception in 1995.
Over and above the training, mentorship and business development support (BDS), the 2013 finalists are also provided with grant funding which was determined based on their individual business needs. The Top 15 businesses are as follows:
The Class of 2012 Top 15 are the first to participate in a re-engineered SAB KickStart programme, which focuses specifically on supporting the development of high impact and sustainable youth-owned businesses.
“We believe this shift in focus for SAB KickStart will make a tangible impact on the challenge of youth unemployment in South Africa. It is only through the creation of high impact business that true job creation will be achieved,” says Hepsy Mkhungo, SAB Head Enterprise Development and Community Partnerships.
While SAB KickStart has yielded many successes over its 18 year existence, SAB believed that the changing economic and small and medium enterprises (SME) landscape called for a critical look at how these elements and other challenges influenced or impacted on emerging entrepreneurs and to address these as effectively as possible to ensure sustainability. This was also critical to ensure that, as part of SAB’s Enterprise Development strategy, a robust ecosystem is created for these youth businesses.
“Many entrepreneurs have difficulty in taking their business from survivalist or micro-level to high impact and sustainable. This is due to a number of challenges including a lack of access to funding, training and experience; and it is this that we aim to address through SAB KickStart’s revised offering,” says Mkhungo.
The strengthened SAB KickStart programme provides entrepreneurs with a comprehensive package of business support that goes beyond simple financial assistance. It encompasses four specific areas – business skills training and grant funding as short term interventions; and Business Development Support, including mentorship and access to market as a long term intervention.
The 15 finalists will move to the final stage of SAB KickStart, in which the top three businesses are selected during a national awards ceremony, later this year. The three businesses will be provided with additional grant funding and an extended programme of individual business mentorship.
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