The nailbiting conclusion to the successful 2016 George Municipal Dragon’s Den competition was announced on Friday 22nd April by Carli Bunding-Venter, LED Manager of the George Municipality. Myrtle Barnes of Playtime Productions was excited and overwhelmed at being selected the winner.
“It has been a really tough competition with good competitors. I was shocked to be announced as the winner because I did not expect it. When I got up this morning I thanked God and asked his favour on me. In the semi-finals the dragons gave me tough questions and I went back to my presentation and changed it. I believe that is what made the difference, “ said the elated Myrtle.
Executive Mayor, Charles Standers congratulated the Ms Barnes and all of the participants and thanked the George Business Chamber, TEN-SA, ABSA and SEDA for their partnership in the project.
“Projects of this nature offer a platform for our upcoming businesses to accelerate their growth. Fundamental to this growth is the ability of our entrepreneurs and smaller businesses to rise, join the playing fields and use every opportunity that exists to propel themselves forward. They are the front runners in our growing economy, the game changers that will lead our city into the new dispensation of profound economic growth and development,” said Ald. Standers.
R120 000 was made available for this Mayoral Entrepreneurship Project which provided training to three groups of 30 entrepreneurs. The top 6 participants of each group received additional support training and were then given the opportunity to pitch their business ideas to the panel of “Dragon’s” on Friday 22nd April 2016. Carli Bunding-Venter, LED Manager noted that participating in the project in the role of a Dragon proved to be a highlight and fitting end to her time at the George Municipality.
Winner Myrtle Barnes was awarded a cash prize for investment into her business and will also receive other non-financial business support such as registration and assistance with SARS compliance, implementation of an accounting programme and marketing, webpage development.
Johannes Viljoen of FarmFresh Direct came second and said, “It was a challenging time the past few weeks. I’m very happy with the outcome, though I didn’t get first place. I believe if you win, you deserve it.”
Marlon Vorster, Insomniac Party Bus was excited to receive third place.“ I am happy for what the Mayor and the Business Chamber is doing for the community and I want to thank them. We learned so much over a course of six weeks and I am just grateful to be part of it,” he said.
Dr Willie Cilliers-Chairman of the George Business Chamber said that it was with great anticipation and pleasure that the Business Chamber facilitated the “Mayoral Entrepreneurship Training” this year.
“The importance of developing Entrepreneurs to become valuable contributors to the Economy should not be under estimated and to this end, the Entrepreneurial development programmes will continue in future.”
Dr Cilliers noted that the competition amongst the 18 finalists was exceptionally strong with only 10 points separating the top 8 participants. Each of the Entrepreneurs showed a unique offering which will surely contribute to their success and create opportunities for employment within their developing businesses.
The Business Chamber will continue support to the entrepreneurs who took part in the programme and it is hoped that all people with an entrepreneurial spirit will be encouraged to embrace the opportunities that are available to them and to make a difference to the lives of their families and communities,” said Dr Cilliers.
The success of the Mayoral Entrepreneurship Project and previous Entrepreneur Training workshops has initiated interest from Trias, a Belgian based organisation that supports one million small entrepreneurs in fourteen countries. The George Business Chamber is privileged to have been one of three Chambers in South Africa to have been approached to facilitate future Entrepreneurial Workshops with the support of Trias. The Business Chamber shall certainly engage with interested stakeholders and other parties as soon as the way forward is decided.
On the photograph are:
Front Row: - Mzi Baleni, Regional Manager, Enterprise Development, Absa Business Bank, Eastern Cape, Panel Judge, Carli Bunding-Venter, LED Manager, George Municipality, Panel Judge; Dr. Willie Cilliers, Chairperson George Business Chamber; Alderman Charles Standers, Executive Mayor of George, Lianda Landman, Business Advisor, SEDA Eden, Panel Judge; Richard Shumi, Chairperson Thembalethu Business Partnership, Panel Judge.
Back Row: Gordon Barends, G4 Cupboards (finalist), Fozia Philander, Fozia’s Roadhouse (finalist), Paul Maguire, Wilderness Picnics (finalist), Koba Oosthuizen, Phapamani IT Café (finalist), Max Oerder, TEN-sa, Business Advisor & Facilitator; Myrtle Barnes, Playtime Productions (winner); Marlon Vorster, Insomniac Party Bus (third place); Johannes Viljoen, FarmFresh Direct (second place) and Arné Rossouw, Business Brilliant Teens (finalist).
Last published 05 May 2016