We must continue to celebrate and support our entrepreneurs – says expert

2020 BUSINESS/PARTNERS Entrepreneur of the Year® competition is now open for entries

The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that there have been over 184 976 confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide with approximately 116 of these being in South Africa, at the time of writing. While this international disaster is impacting the health and wellbeing of citizens, it is predicted to have dire consequences for economies across the world, possibly more severe than the impact of the 2008 financial crisis.

As we are seeing with China, small and medium businesses will bear most of the brunt of this economic downturn. The March 2020 McKinsey & Company COVID-19 Briefing Note reports that while the economic activity has restarted in China, small businesses are facing labour disruption with fewer workers returning to work and consumer confidence down. 

As South Africa comes to grips with the COVID-19 pandemic and implements solutions to keep people safe and the economy growing, it is vital for the Government and the country’s citizens to continue supporting entrepreneurs and their businesses. This is according to Gugu Mjadu, spokesperson for the BUSINESS/PARTNERS Entrepreneur of the Year® competition who was announcing that the 2020 competition is now officially open for entries.

“As a recognised driver of job creation, entrepreneurship is instrumental to the economic recovery of South Africa, where unemployment currently sits at a record high of 29.1% and is likely to increase further as a result of the outbreak,” says Mjadu

The local entrepreneurial ecosystem will need to be extremely resilient and well supported in order to overcome the difficult challenges the country faces. We look forward to getting more details around the package of interventions that Government will implement to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 as announced by President Ramaphosa on Sunday, she says.

To honour and continue to support the dedicated South African entrepreneurs who have taken it upon themselves to be the change the country needs despite these difficult conditions – and in the face of increasing adversities – Mjadu encourages entrepreneurs to enter the Entrepreneur of the Year® competition sponsored by BUSINESS/PARTNERS, which is now officially open for entries.

Mjadu says that local competitions of this nature are not only important because they promote entrepreneurship in South Africa as a viable career path; but because they shine the spotlight on entrepreneurs in times when our economy needs it most.

“Platforms like this stimulate and support entrepreneurship by celebrating the successes of the fearless entrepreneurs who work tirelessly – often with little recognition – and contribute to growing the local GDP and creating employment – especially during these unprecedented times.”

Celebrating its 32nd year, the BUSINESS/PARTNERS Entrepreneur of the Year® competition comprises of six categories, and Mjadu invites entrepreneurs from businesses of all sizes to enter.

“The categories of the competition range from Emerging Business Entrepreneur of the Year® to Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year® and Medium Business Entrepreneur of the Year®. There are then additional prizes for the Job Creator of the Year and Innovator of the Year, as well as the coveted award for Overall Entrepreneur of the Year®.”

Prizes valued at over R 2 million can be won, which include cash prizes of R70 000 for each main category winner, and R200 000 for the overall winner. Competition winners will also receive valuable mentorship support, networking opportunities and national media exposure. Entrepreneurs interested in entering the competition can download entry forms online at www.eoy.co.za as well as interact with fellow entrepreneurs and entrants on the competition’s social media platforms www.twitter.com/@EOY_SA and www.facebook.com/EOY.SA. The closing date for the competition is 31 May 2020.

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