Johannesburg, South Africa, September 21, 2010
– IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, along with IBM South Africa and Business Partners, invite young South Africans to submit their innovative business ideas to the Young Entrepreneur Business Plan Competition, which will reward winners with training and other prizes, while raising awareness about the support young entrepreneurs need to reach their goals.
The competition is sponsored by IFC, IBM South Africa, and Business Partners Limited, and is open to South African citizens aged 18 to 35 with a new idea for a business or an existing business less than two years’ old.
Entrants must register on the SME Tooklit website (
), a training product backed by IFC and IBM, by Oct 11 to receive an application form. Prizes include a 10,000 rand Business Partners’ mentorship voucher, laptops, and other items to be confirmed before the awards evening.
Saleem Karimjee, IFC Country Manager for South Africa, said, “This competition aims to support talented young South Africans, and encourage them to expand their knowledge of business by using the information and tools available on the SME Toolkit website. Along with our partners, IFC would like to see all applicants realize their business goals.”
A shortlist of no more than 20 candidates will be invited to a full-day workshop that will help them refine their business plans. The workshop will be arranged and hosted by Business Partners in October.
Six finalists will be interviewed by judges appointed by the competition’s sponsors. Up to three winners will be announced at a gala awards event in Johannesburg on November 16 to coincide with Global Entrepreneurship Week, which runs from November 15 to 21.
IFC runs a number of investment and advisory services programs across sub-Saharan Africa that support the growth of smaller businesses, helping them more easily access training and financing. Last fiscal year ending June 30, IFC dedicated more than $400 million in Africa to projects that strengthen micro, small and medium enterprises.
The SME Toolkit offers interactive tools that support small business owners and managers in a range of core business areas, including accounting and finance; business planning; human resources; legal and insurance; marketing and sales; operations; and information technology.
The Toolkit has been translated into 15 languages and allows businesses to access learning resources, get help on implementing sustainable business practices, and register for workshops. In South Africa, Business Partners is IFC’s SME Toolkit partner.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest development institution focused on the private sector in developing countries. We create opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives—by providing financing to help businesses employ more people and provide essential services, mobilizing capital from others, and delivering advisory and risk-management services to ensure sustainable development. In a time of global economic uncertainty, our new investments climbed to a record $18 billion in fiscal 2010. For more information, visit