Learners with a flair for entrepreneurship displayed their innovation and business acumen at the final stage of the MANCOSA Schools’ Business Proposal Competition at the Mancosa [GSB] on 1 July 2015.
Finalists Mayur Maharaj, Shirdhar Singh and Tiffany Pillay proved their mettle and bagged the top three prizes, respectively. Ten learners from secondary schools around KwaZulu-Natal pitched their innovative business ideas before a panel of 6 judges and about 50 people in the audience in the second phase of the competition.
In February this year Grade 10 and 11 learners undertaking business studies as a subject were invited to enter the competition by submitting innovative yet achievable business plans. The competition was a community engagement programme by MANCOSA aimed at unearthing the entrepreneurial talents of learners and encouraging entrepreneurship among young people.
The panel of judges comprising MANCOSA academics and external stakeholders assessed business plans based on innovation, originality, viability and presentation.
“In the true spirit of entrepreneurship the ten finalists provided quality proposals and presentations either verbally, with power point slides, charts and creatively developed models demonstrating their unique business ideas.
“The question and answer session encouraged vibrant participation between participants, the audience and the judging panel which enriched quality decision-making,” said Professor Anthony Rippon, a MANCOSA academic who headed the panel of judges.
Mayur Maharaj, a Grade 11 learner at Star College Boys High, proved his talents in entrepreneurship with his enterprising business idea Mayur’s Power Flow which offers a sensor mechanism to households and businesses to monitor their supply and usage of electricity. Consumers using this product, attach the device to their electricity distributor box which switches off should users exceed their electricity quota for the day.
Mayur said his business idea was inspired by South Africa’s current load shedding woes. He wanted to create a product that would encourage consumers to minimise their electricity usage.
“It feels good to have won first prize. I thank MANCOSA for the opportunity to present my business idea. It is an overwhelming experience to have won a MANCOSA bursary,” he said.
Mayur hopes to one day start selling his product to consumers and reduce electricity usage said the field of entrepreneurship would suit him because he was keen to be his own boss and believes he has good marketing skills.
Shridhar Singh another Star College Boys’ High learner took second prize after displaying originality and a quality presentation when informing judges of his business plan Convenient Foods at Inconvenient Places. His business idea entails selling convenient and easily packaged bite size food to people waiting in long queues in a bid to appease their hunger.
Finalist, Tiffany Pillay, a Grade 11 learner from Apollo Secondary won third prize for her novel business idea Brasculine Pty (Ltd) that markets bras for males from the age of 13 to adulthood. Tiffany’s business idea emerged after she realised there was a market for bras for men who had “upper protrusions” (man breasts).
“I am ecstatic to have received the third prize. This achievement has left me feeling proud of myself. I am grateful to my parents. But I am ever so grateful to MANCOSA for giving me this opportunity and encouraging me to produce such an idea and business plan,” said Tiffany.
Tiffany is an aspirant entrepreneur who hopes to take her business plan to fruition in the future and hopes to see her target market benefit from the male bras.
The winner received a MANCOSA bursary to study a BCOM degree of choice and a tablet while their school management team will receive a day’s free leadership skills training.