The second Go4Growth competition for SMEs, with prizes that include a free listing on the JSE’s AltX Exchange and millions of rands’ worth of business software and financial advisory assistance, opened for entries yesterday (10 June). 

The SAP initiative is supported by the JSE, Vunani Limited, Deloitte corporate finance advisory, Hasso Plattner Ventures and growth advisory firm Business Edge. It focuses specifically on SMEs that are showing good growth, and wish to fast track their future growth.
Companies from all industries are invited to join the initiative, as all companies that enter will have the opportunity to benefit from the offerings of the campaign.
The initiative offers companies the opportunity to accelerate their growth aspirations by various means including:
* Raising capital through a stock exchange listing;
* R1-million worth of SAP software;
* R1-millions worth of corporate finance advice from Deloitte & Touche;
* R9-million in subsidised Growth Assistance from SAP Growth Support services; and
* Priority access to the R350-million Hasso Plattner Ventures Africa Venture Capital Fund.
With new sponsors Deloitte corporate finance advisory and the Hasso Plattner venture capital fund, Go4Growth 2008 promises to be bigger and better than last year.
In 2008 there will be prizes for multiple winners and will include access venture capital funding from the R350-million in venture capital funding, as well as new-generation, industry-specific, best practice based business software and growth support services.
It also provides an opportunity for entrants to obtain an expert and independent assessment of their own strategy and operations – as part of the panel of judges’ process of compiling a short list of potential winners.
“The true value of the Go4Growth competition is that every company that enters, can benefit,” says SAP’s director of SME business in Africa, Derek Kudsee. “It’s about providing a combination of advice and practical support that really does help entrants grow their business operations.
“Go4Growth therefore has a high impact on improving the business sophistication of SMEs – creating a solid base of sustainable organisations that really can carry this economy forward, even in the kind of tough economic environment we’re experiencing now.”
Noah Greenhill, senior general manager, marketing & business development of the JSE, says that AltX is very successfully providing smaller enterprises with access to capital that they wouldn’t have had in the past.
“Growing the small and medium sized business is critically important for the future success of the South African economy and participating in this initiative is one mechanism of providing the means for SMEs to achieve this. The Go4Growth competition will provide one good company the opportunity of raising its profile, raising capital and listing on the JSE.”
Graham Perry, MD of Business Edge and global service provider to SAP Growth Support services, says: “Most businesses believe that SAP only helps large corporations, SAP Growth Support is designed specifically to assist the executive teams of SME organisations. Go4Growth is our way of introducing companies to SAP’s commitment to assisting companies to harness the real growth potential that exists within their business."
Deloitte M&A leader and partner, Robin Marsden, says that the decision to become a sponsor of Go4Growth was easy.
“The 2007 Go4Growth competition demonstrated to us that we could contribute to assisting SMEs to grow their businesses. Our global research shows that revenue growth drives shareholder value and corporate actions are a key component of driving revenues over time.”
Kudsee adds: “Over the years, SAP has learnt a lot about what makes companies great. By working alongside SMEs, we are able to give companies exposure to the way best-run businesses in their industries operate.
 “We want to do more than provide software, we want to provide support to SMEs in building themselves as best-run companies and we are therefore part of their growth.
“Getting SMEs to think big, to expect to use the best software, to aim for a listing and not think  ‘that’s too big and grand for little us’ or ‘we’ll just make do as we are’, is what Go4Growth aims for,” Kudsee adds.
"An initiative that offers such a diverse range of support mechanisms to SMEs as well as a choice in fund raising to finance the growth is uniquely positioned to produce success stories," says Andrea Boehmert, co-managing partner of Hasso Plattner Ventures Africa.
Sandy Pratt, MD of last year's winner SMEI Projects, says: “Winning the last Go4Growth competition has opened a variety of opportunities and prospects for our business and as such we would recommend anyone with a business that has real growth potential, like ours, to enter the competition.”
The rules of the competition and entry forms are available on