BY: Amanda Mkhize.

As small businesses have continued to play a vital role in sustaining the South African economy, aspiring entrepreneurs require assistance with being equipped with the skills to help nurture their future business ideas and opportunities. The World Bank estimates that SME’s account for 90% of all businesses worldwide and 50% of employment. Indeed, small businesses are essential to the future and well-being of the country. Up-and-coming small business owners need to be given the tools that will equip them with the drive and determination to succeed in an ever-changing landscape. The power of an entrepreneur is the power to create one’s own wealth in an economy where job opportunities are not always easily available.

Since its inception, the Play Your Part Ignite campaign aims to ignite and fuel the entrepreneurial spirit within aspiring entrepreneurs and guide them with the instruments needed for their businesses and ideas to thrive. The intention of the Ignite programme is to empower young entrepreneurs to fine-tune their business ideas, as well as give them the skills to pitch their ideas effectively. The Play Your Part Ignite campaign was first launched in Gauteng and the second session took place in Polokwane, Limpopo.

Each Play Your Part Ignite campaign begins with a business masterclass presented by a current Play Your Part Ambassador or industry leader which then leads into the student brainstorming and pitching session. The business pitching sessions allow for the students to contextualize the information picked up in the masterclass and present their unique business ideas. The Gauteng pitching session has seen one of the most successful outcomes Play Your Part Ignite campaign and the subsequent networking and mentorship opportunities thus far, with entrepreneur, Portia Mavhungu gaining access to funds that her company, PRD Logical Solutions (Pty) Ltd,was in great need of. Through Portia’s mentorship opportunity with the Chief Executive Officer of The Health and Welfare Sector Education and Training Authority (HWSETA) Elaine Brass, who was also part of the judging panel in the Gauteng session. PRD Logical Solutions was able to secure funding for their unique product, the Para tube. The Para tube is a seating device that retro fits into a wheelchair which has a built-in toilet and biodegradable bags allowing the individual to use the toilet without having to leave the wheelchair.

The upcoming Play Your Part Ignite pitching session will be taking place at the ANEW Resort Hunter’s Rest in Rustenburg in the North-West Province and will be presented to a group of budding entrepreneurs. The Play Your Part Ignite programme will showcase the Ignite masterclass, which will be presented by Chilu Lemba, and the Ignite business idea pitching session. The Ignite masterclass assists the budding entrepreneur with preparing for the business pitching session by introducing how to tell a great business story with all the relevant and essential information. A panel of judges will then adjudicate the pitching sessions, after which the first, second and third-place winners of the cash prizes will be announced.

The Play Your Part Ignite campaign provides key guidance and business acumen that aspiring entrepreneurs in the region might not necessarily have access to. The engagement also serves as an interactive platform for South African youth to get excited about being small business owner as well as the confidence to carry their business ideas into existence.


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