Go4Growth, South Africa's largest and richest business competition for small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs), had attracted more than 340 entries by the time the competition closed on 30 September.
The entrants stand a chance of winning a free listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange's (JSE) Alt Exchange as well as millions of rands' worth of SAP business software, venture capital funding from Hasso Plattner Ventures and business advisory assistance from Deloitte advisory services.
Go4Growth focuses specifically on SMEs that are showing good growth and wish to fast-track their future growth. The winners will be announced on 10 November at an awards ceremony at the JSE.
Derek Kudesse, SAP director: SME channel, says: "We are honoured to be able to partner with companies that are displaying exceptional acceleration in their growth trajectories. SAP has previously been perceived to be too big, complex and expensive. Through Go4Growth we are able to dispel these perceptions whilst demonstrating our commitment to the SME sector in South Africa. Ultimately we are providing opportunities for companies to become a best-run business."
In its second year of existence, the Go4Growth competition is a joint initiative by SAP, the JSE, Vunani Limited, Deloitte corporate finance advisory, Hasso Plattner Ventures and growth advisory firm SAP Growth Support Services.
Graham Perry, MD of SAP Growth Support Services, says: "A shortlist of finalists will undergo an enterprise situation assessment workshop, which will help us understand the businesses better as well as provide them with expert and independent insights into their own strategies and operations."
Perry says this year's 340 entries is significantly higher than last year's tally of 206. "While we hoped entries would exceed 400, we believe 340 is a good number given the current economic climate. We have also seen an increase in the number of larger organisations or mid-sized businesses that have entered this year.
"In addition, we've had responses from companies in various industries including financial services, IT, agriculture, mining and minerals and some other highly innovative enterprises," says Perry.
Assessment of entries has begun and Perry says there are two major criteria for potential winners. "Firstly the winners must demonstrate a high potential and commitment to growth and secondly be able to benefit from the prizes they're awarded," he says.