Last week, City Press asked readers to send in their business ideas. Here is what the DIS team had to say about two of those ideas.
“First and foremost, we will look at what they’ve got,” said Van Vuuren. “Do they have a business plan? Are they ready to submit an application? Often with young people, you will find they’re not ready.
“We want to make sure young people get into the IDC, but we cannot in any way reduce the requirements or criteria,” said Bartlett. “We would rather help them get to that level.
“What we look for in a business plan are management, marketing, technical and financial skills – which are all critical requirements.”
Mothekgi is 22-year-old graduate from Pretoria who wants to create an avocado-based spread.
She has experimented with preservative methods and wants to address the cost of avocados, as well as their seasonality.
She is asking for help with testing facilities, nutritionists, her business plan, incubation support, as well as equipment and mentoring.
“The questions we’d have to ask is: Exactly what does she want to do in terms of processing the avocados?” said Ntlangeni.
“The second thing is whether she has done research on who she will sell the avocados to and how that selling is going to happen. Are there any retailers’ standards or health requirements to abide by? This needs to be included in a business plan. Once that is in place, we can engage and advise her,” he said.
“There are competencies the IDC does not have; for instance, health-related food knowledge. We would then, with Mothekgi, go to someone like the SA Bureau of Standards, to find out what this product needs. It will also be important to know where the avocados will be sourced from – the sourcing is essential – in terms of quality and quantity,” added Van Vuuren.
“If you want to supply to retailers, you have to give comfort to them on quality and quantity. Then there is packaging and labelling, then logistics.”
Lenny is a 27-year-old from Limpopo, currently studying arts management and marketing at the University of the Witwatersrand.
He wants to start up a beverage business, focusing on bottled water and 100% fruit juices.
He has done research and has a sense of the purification and labour-intensive bottling technology he wants to use, as well as some distribution partnerships he could pursue. He also has money saved up, which the IDC likes to see.
“We like any entrepreneur who is willing to put some skin in the game,” said Van Vuuren.
“He indicates that he needs support with his business plan – that he has done some market research and needs some assistance there.
“We’d love to engage him and discuss the level at which he has developed his plan,” said Van Vuuren.
“Similar to Mothekgi, we would want to be very sure what the products are that Lenny wants to take to market.
“Has Lenny had any discussions with retailers? As investors, knowing he can make the product is not enough.”
In general, entrepreneurs should come to the party with a good sense of the market in terms of what they want to do.
“If there is a product, there must be a consumer of that product; if there is a service, there must be somebody who wants to use that service,” said Ntlangeni.
“We always encourage young people, before they venture into business, to at least do research on whether there is a need for their product or service in their own communities.”