The 19 budding entrepreneurs finalists and some of their mentors at the Ilembe Chamber offices on Saturday 10 May
The finalists of the much anticipated annual Entrepreneur competition attended their first business traning session on Saturday morning.
From hydroponic cucmber farmers to fashion designers the 19 entrepreneurs selected by the Ilembe Chamber of Commerce, Industry & Tourism, will undergo four months of training and mentorship before the winners are chosen. The intensive business modelling training is endorsed by the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) and USA-based Massachusetts Institute (MIT), which includes group and one-on-one mentorship with chamber accredited mentors with invaluable business experience.
The finalists were selected from over a hundred entries and represent some of the most promising businesses on the Dolphin Coast.
This year, with the help of provincial government, The Entrepreneur 2014 will be rolled out provincially through four additional KZN chambers in Durban, Pietermaritzburg, Zululand and KZN Youth Chamber.
The winners from each chamber will then compete for the provincial title.
Finalists Duduzile Ncanana from Mandeni said she was very grateful for the incredible opportunity .
"I cannot wait for next week's training," said Ncanana.
Business mentor Chris Voysey said the programme is important for the economy of this country.
"We need small businesses to solve the problem of unemployment," said Voysey.
University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) lecturer Vikani Funda said he was pleased by the entrepreneurs passion towards the programme.
"It is always a pleasure to meet with entrepreneurs because this programme is not for me or the mentors, but for entrepreneurs. So the future of transmission is for the whole country," said Funda.
Funda lectured the finalists on the importance of self awareness in a business world.
Organisational psychologist and mentor Nirasha Dhaniram said entrepreneurship is the key to sustainable community and economic development.
"It moves people out of hardship and creates a better future," said Dhanira.
Chamber CEO Cobus Oelofse said the entrepreneur competition is the region's flagship in support of entrepreneurial development.
"The scope of the programme assists the participants not only with their business proposition but will also contribute to sustainable personal growth and development.
"It is a privilege for me to experience the buzz among the participants year after year," said Oelofse.
The entrepreneurs were eager to learn and after their first session they were already networksing and sharing ideas.
Fantastic prizes are up for grabs and each contestant will also receive money towards marketing their business.
Enterpise Ilembe, King Shaka International Airport, North Coast Courier, and the Department o Economic Development and Tourism are sponsoring the programme.
Courtesy of the North Coast Courier