Small Businesses in South Africa: Green-Arch Innovations Wins 12th Engen Pitch & Polish Competition

Small Businesses in South Africa: Green-Arch Innovations Wins 12th Engen Pitch & Polish Competition with Game-Changing Aquaponics Concept. Gugwana, founder of Green-Arch Innovations, wins R1 million at the 12th Engen Pitch & Polish Competition, highlighting the importance of investing in small businesses such as his game-changing aquaponics concept.

Investing in small businesses is essential to the growth of South Africa’s economy, and Luvo Gugwana, the winner of the 12th Engen Pitch & Polish Competition, is a prime example of this. Gugwana is the founder of Green-Arch Innovations, a social enterprise that uses smart and sustainable food systems, such as aquaponics, to alleviate poverty and inequality in rural and urban settlements.

The annual competition, sponsored by Engen and co-sponsored by Nedbank, gives aspiring entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch their businesses and win the grand prize of R1 million. Nedbank’s Executive for Private Clients and Small Business Services, Alan Shannon, was one of the competition judges and described Green-Arch Innovations as a game-changing concept and an initiative that can address a key challenge in the country – food security.

According to Shannon, South Africa can rise to the challenge of food security by investing in pioneering small businesses such as Green-Arch Innovations. The company uses aquaponics, an integrated farming system, to grow fish and other aquatic animals while also producing fresh vegetables such as spinach, lettuce, and peppers. This approach not only caters to the needs of underserved communities but also offers a much-needed avenue for job creation.

Green-Arch Innovations has three systems across KwaZulu-Natal, Richards Bay, Tongaat, and the South Coast, and it has already created 45 jobs in these franchise systems for communities. With the injection of the R1 million prize, the company can work towards its goal of opening 50 franchises.

Nedbank believes that the growth of sustainable small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and entrepreneurship must be a macro-level priority. Supporting innovators such as Gugwana will undoubtedly have a positive ripple effect across every industry sector. SMEs are an important part of local economies, helping to create webs of financial interdependence that foster broad-based prosperity.

The Pitch & Polish competition aligns with Nedbank’s vision to encourage innovation and nurture local talent. During the competition, qualifying entrants attend comprehensive and interactive entrepreneurial training sessions while learning how to pitch like professionals. After the regional training session, contestants pitch their ideas or businesses to an audience, with many funders and investors invited to the final. Over the years, finalists have received millions of rands in investments and hundreds of thousands of rands in grants.

This year’s runner-up, Lucky Innocent Mnikathi from Ikhahlamba Trading Enterprises, aims to join the list of small businesses making big things happen. The company renovates high-rise buildings that are then used for student accommodation, and they currently have contracts with the Durban University of Technology. Once again, the aim is to benefit communities and simultaneously create employment opportunities.

Shannon, along with other judges, is pleased to back these amazing entrepreneurs and reiterated the need to continually do so with the many emerging trailblazers across South Africa. According to Shannon, “Nedbank believes that access to technology, training, and financing tools are the machinery needed for financial and economic emancipation.”

With every inspiring entrepreneur, such as Gugwana, entering the market, backed by their respective value chains and financial institutions, South Africa takes another essential step towards growing prosperity. Entries for this year’s Pitch & Polish competition open on March 13, 2023, and many inspired new entrepreneurs already have their eyes laser-focused on the opportunity.

Challanges Faced By Small Businesses In South Africa

Green-Arch Innovations recently took home the coveted prize at the 12th Engen Pitch & Polish Competition with their innovative aquaponics concept. Their win has shone a spotlight on the thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem in South Africa, which is home to a large number of small businesses.

According to the latest statistics, there are over 2.5 million small businesses in South Africa, with more being established every day. For those looking to join the ranks of successful entrepreneurs, the question is often asked: what are the most successful small businesses in South Africa?

Green-Arch Innovations Wins 12th Engen Pitch & Polish Competition

The truth is, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. The success of a small business depends on a multitude of factors, including the entrepreneur’s skills and experience, the market demand for their product or service, and their ability to navigate the challenges of running a business.

However, for those on a tight budget, there are still plenty of business opportunities in South Africa under R50 000. In fact, with just R2 000, it is possible to start a successful small business in South Africa. Some popular options include online businesses, catering services, and home-based beauty services.

For those with a slightly larger budget, there are even more possibilities. With R30 000, for example, it is possible to start a small retail business or even a small food business. The key is to find a niche that is in demand and that aligns with your skills and interests.

To help get started, it can be useful to consult a list of small businesses in South Africa. There are plenty of resources available, including a list of small businesses in South Africa PDF that can be easily downloaded and used as a reference.

It is worth noting that while there are many small businesses in South Africa, not all of them are profitable. In fact, according to some estimates, only around 20% of small businesses in South Africa are successful in the long term. This highlights the importance of careful planning and a solid understanding of the market before starting a business.

Small businesses in South Africa also face a number of challenges, including access to funding and navigating the complexities of VAT for small businesses. Additionally, the impact of COVID-19 has been felt throughout the entrepreneurial ecosystem, with many small businesses struggling to stay afloat.

Despite these challenges, there are still many success stories to be found among small businesses in South Africa. From small clothing businesses to small food businesses, there are entrepreneurs in every sector making a name for themselves and contributing to the growth of the economy.

Starting a small business in South Africa can be a challenging but rewarding journey. With the right skills, planning, and resources, it is possible to join the ranks of successful entrepreneurs in the country. Whether you are starting with R1 000 or R50 000, the key is to find a business opportunity that aligns with your skills and interests and to approach it with a solid understanding of the market and the challenges that lie ahead.


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