iLembe entrepreneur competition entries open

North Coast entrepreneurs can ready themselves – the iLembe Chamber of Commerce’s Entrepreneur Competition is open for entries.

The 12th edition of the competition – launched last Wednesday – has some exciting new developments, chief among them being that the programme will again be run in person this year.

Those attending the launch at the iLembe Chamber offices heard a talk from co-founder and director of ShopLi SA, Venushka Viranna, who was recently recognised by making the Forbes Africa top 30 list in the under 30 category (technology).

Twenty budding entrepreneurs will be selected as finalists, joining what is now a well-honed programme developed in conjunction with the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

This aside from access to development funding and marketing opportunities which will be presented during the 10-week programme.

iLembe municipality speaker, Dolly Shandu, lauded business accelerator programmes such as The Entrepreneur 2022 initiative as catalysts in creating local employment opportunities.

In its 12 years of operation, 248 community-based programmes have participated, with 50% growth in revenue reported after involvement.

“Business accelerator programmes, such as The Entrepreneur, are direct contributors to curbing the job crisis in our country. By working with local SMMEs to deliver positive outcomes, we believe the iLembe model is sustainable for the entrepreneurs who participate,” said iLembe Chamber CEO, Cobus Oelofse.

Programme finalists alone have created 261 new jobs in the local economy at a cost of R2 520 per job retained or created.

Although the entrepreneur model is quite unique to the iLembe region, it is designed in such a way that it can be scaled to be duplicated as a business accelerator countrywide.

“It is of critical importance that we maintain the depth and quality of the iLembe programme, whilst not overloading it, so the next ambition would be to rather duplicate the model in other areas,” he said.

Entries are open for this year’s competition, after which the 20 finalists will be picked. The first tuition session will be held on July 30.

To enter the competition, candidates need to complete an application form that can be downloaded from theentrepreneur.net.za.

Entry forms are also available from the iLembe Chamber offices and various competition entry boxes will be placed throughout the district.

For more information, contact Sakhile Khumalo at 087 354 6343 or email [email protected].

The iLembe Entrepreneur programme is run in partnership with The North Coast Courier, Enterprise iLembe, Airports Company South Africa, Siza Water and ENGIE Peakers Operations.

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