Trade and services sector key for our business empowerment programme - Eskom

BIC and Business Connect targets 100%-black-owned small and medium businesses

Trade and services sector is key for Eskom’s business empowerment programme

8 October 2021  

On 30 August 2021, Eskom launched its 2021 Business Investment Competition (BIC) and Business Connect, targeting 100%-black-owned small and medium businesses, including those in the trade and services industry sector.

The BIC is a competition running until midnight on 31 October 2021 and is aimed at boosting growing businesses with financial support, whereas Business Connect aims at empowering BIC entrants with business skills, mentorships, and networking. It is also an opportunity for the BIC winners to market their products, services, and corporate brands.

Currently in its 13th year, the BIC targets businesses in the engineering/construction, manufacturing, agriculture/agri-processing, or trade/services sectors that have been in business for at least two years. The overall winner walks away with R300 000; the sector winners each receive R131 250, and the first and second runners-up receive R75 000 and R50 000, respectively. This totals R1,3 million in prize money.

According to the Small Enterprise Development Agency’s (SEDA’s) SMME Quarterly Update report (Q1, 2019), small, medium and micro enterprises have produced 10,8 million jobs, 41,3% of them in the trade and services industry. The South African economy is driven by the trade and services sector, which contributes over 22% to the gross domestic product (GDP), followed by general government services at 17%, and then the sector of wholesale, retail and motor trade, catering, and accommodation at 15% (Stats SA, 2017).

“We are mindful of the fact that, in South Africa, the vast majority of SMMEs operate in the trade and services sector. Our efforts are aimed at ensuring that these enterprises will develop and soon join the big players, and also that we contribute to their sustainability,” said Eskom Development Foundation Chief Executive, Cecil Ramonotsi. “The tourism and accommodation industries have been among those hardest hit by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the economy. The Business Investment Competition is but one avenue to help small businesses find their bearings,” added Ramonotsi.

Zanele Stole, Director of Sophiatown-based Immaculate Cleaning & Hygiene Services (Pty) Ltd, winner of the 2020 BIC Trade and Services category, and who won R131 250, had this to say; “Our business is going strong. We have an ongoing contract that employs seven people and are about to sign a major contract this month. The BIC prize money enabled us to take our site manager for training, invest in the proper equipment for servicing our corporate clients, and we were able to pay salaries for two months in advance to alleviate the cash-flow challenges often caused by delayed payments from government clients.”

Eskom’s Group Executive for Government & Regulatory Affairs, Nthato Minyuku, said: “Eskom is proud of the strides it has taken through the Business Investment Competition towards empowering small businesses from previously marginalised communities over the past 12 years.  Such efforts not only ensure the growth and sustainability of the small business sector, but also contribute to job creation while taking us a step a closer to closing the inequality gap.”

Power up your trade and services business by: entering the BIC via www.eskombic2021.co.za from 30 August 2021 until midnight on 31 October 2021.

Issued by Madelline Kadzinga, Foundation Project Marketing and Communication Manager, Eskom Development Foundation, 8 October 2021