Mabuse Sekgothe fits and maintains gyms. Maputle Tsoka makes oral prostheses for people with cleft palates. Didi Mohapi provides a mobile diagnostic service to hospitals and clinics.
What do they have in common? Each of these talented entrepreneurs has won funding to launch their business, thanks to our KickStart program – and they’re far from alone.
Since the scheme began in 1995, it has supported more than 25,000 people all over South Africa, giving them the support they need to start their businesses or to take their existing businesses to the next level.
South African Breweries came up with the idea because it wanted to contribute to poverty reduction and instill a culture of entrepreneurship by giving ambitious young entrepreneurs encouragement and practical help to get the business of their dreams off the ground and onto greater heights.
It has since evolved into two schemes – KickStart Ignite for new starters and KickStart Boost, which supports the expansion of established businesses in industries identified by the South African government as having the most potential to create jobs.
Ignite is run as a competition for budding entrepreneurs and innovators aged between 18 and 35, giving them the chance to come away with a share of a R1.2million ($87,000) grant fund.
Mabuse, Maputle and Didi are among the latest beneficiaries. Mabuse’s Makitshine Technologies won top prize of R400,000; Maputle’s Evolutionary Innovations claimed second place and R300,000; and Didi’s MHP Labs came third to receive a cheque for R200,000.
Sizwe Mavuso, of Imma CC – who has invented a system to help tackle water shortages – came fourth to claim R150,000, while Mahlatse Ncha’s herb farm, Lily Southern Suppliers, and Phuti Lamola’s soya soup company, Phuti Food Manufacturing, shared the R150,000 fifth prize.
They were among 18 finalists whose businesses ranged from security to education and from plastic furniture to car-wash systems.
Meanwhile, last year, KickStart Boost worked with eight finalists, providing them with business-skills training, development support, mentorship, grants and low-interest loans.
In the end, Inga Vanga’s green building quantity surveying company won the top prize of R500,000, after he used KickStart’s help to increase capacity and streamline processes.
Second place and R400,000 went to Praveshen Naidoo, of environmentally friendly lamp and bulb disposal firm e-Waste Africa, which invested a R1million loan in expansion and new equipment. Thuli Radebe, of exhibition stand and shop-fitting company Eyam Projects – which opened a new warehouse and distribution center – claimed R300,000 for third place.
These great success stories give us just a glimpse of the rich vein of talent KickStart has tapped over the past two decades – and, no doubt, there are plenty more to come.
You can follow the money on the program’s new website, www.sabkickstart.net