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Three young entrepreneurs out-pitched dozens of other contenders to claim the top spots in the City of Cape Town’s first youth entrepreneurial challenge. Read more below:

The City of Cape Town and the Seed Academy last night announced the three winners of the first #YouthStartCT Entrepreneurial Challenge.

The competition started in March when young people were encouraged to pitch their business ideas for a chance to participate in the challenge. Since mid-April, 100 would-be entrepreneurs have been put through their paces by the Seed Academy to hone their business development skills.

A number of play-off rounds followed, whittling the group down to 26, then 12, and eventually the three winners who were announced last night.Ayanda Siboto’s Zimele Beauty Network, Lyle Dolman’s Arts Alternative, and Renchia Manuel’s Growbox were judged the most likely to succeed. They will now share in R200 000 worth of prizes courtesy of Altech and Sun International, who also sponsored the business training. Over and above cash prizes, they benefit from:
· one-on-one mentorship with sector-specific insights
· assistance with professional services such as accounting
· an assessment to identify critical success factors
· the creation of a customised action plan and road map for each business
· a four-in-one printer for each of the three winners, sponsored by the Cape Peninsula Organisation for the Aged and Nova Office Supplies

‘I have been blown away by the passion and commitment I’ve seen as part of this process. We are often left feeling a bit dejected about our country’s prospects, especially when we see the many challenges that our young people grapple with. This project has given me a renewed sense of enthusiasm and hope and I wish the winners and every other young person who participated in this challenge the best for the future,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Social Development and Early Childhood Development, Councillor Suzette Little.

All of the participants will have access to an 18-month support programme run by the Seed Academy. This includes alumni events, quarterly follow-ups and access to business support services.

‘Our objective was to make opportunities available to potential business owners who will in turn help us address the chronic issue of youth unemployment. I would thus encourage the participants to continue making use of the ongoing support. While their business might not have ranked in the top three this time around, there is no telling what could happen with ongoing guidance and mentoring. We could see a whole host of businesses flourishing and opening up job opportunities for others in the process,’ added Councillor Little.

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