The Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) has announced that it is extending the deadline for entries for the Seda Small Business Stars business plan competition from 31 January to 29 February 2012. The competition, which was launched by Seda in October 2011, offers aspirant and existing entrepreneurs an opportunity to make their entrepreneurial dreams a reality.

Says Mr. Koenie Slabbert, COO of Seda: “Although interest has been beyond expectations with several thousands of entrants registering, many have indicated they require more time for thorough market research and to work on their financial projections.”

Participants can enter any kind of business idea or an exisiting business in any industry. More than R4-million’s worth of cash and business support prizes await the 40 winners.

Once the entries have been judged after the closing date, up to 300 finalists from around the country will be selected to present their business idea in person to provincial panels. From there, the 40 national winners will be selected. There are four special award categories for the Best Woman Entrepreneur, Best Entrepreneur with a Disability, Best Youth Entrepreneur and Best Job-Creating Entrepreneur.

The competition organisers also announced that in addition to the on-line entry system, printed entry forms would also be available from any Seda or National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) branch, for those without computer access. A printable entry form would also be available on the competition website.

“Everyone wins,” says Slabbert. “The prestige and credibility of being selected as a finalist or winner could catapult an entrepreneur or their business to a completely new level. And even if participants aren’t selected as finalists or winners, they are able to walk away with an actual business plan, and a much stronger understanding of the business planning process. The learning gained in developing a business plan is invaluable for anyone who owns or wants to start a small business.”

To assist participants with any queries they may have, and to take interested individuals through the competition entry process, Seda will be hosting information workshops in each of the provinces between 23 January and 17 February.

To enter the competition, or for more information about dates and venues for the provincial workshops, visit or follow Seda Small Business Stars on Twitter or Facebook. Entries close on 29 February 2012.

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