The Lions’ Den

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Have you ever thought of an awesome business idea good enough for the TV show Dragon’s Den?  CAST’s Business Development Programme is starting our very own version of this competition called the “Lions’ Den” where local entrepreneurs from the township can apply to share their business ideas with a local panel who decide whether they are eligible for a loan.

Lindelwe Moyo, CAST’s Business Development Manager, had always thought about using the Dragon’s Den format for the Business Forum.  Last year CAST sent Lindelwe to the Denver Rescue Mission in the US, and he was able to shadow local banks and organisations dealing with micro loans to gain some new ideas.  Then when BEE funding came to the Business Development Programme, Lindelwe knew it was time to put the Lions’ Den into practice.

This is the way Lions’ Den will work:

1.  Introduction of the Idea to Entrepreneurs

This involves watching videos of the TV programme “Dragons’ Den” and giving entrepreneurs the opportunity to ask preliminary questions.

2.  Profiling & Public Voting

Interested applicants complete one page profiles of themselves and their business ideas. Fellow forum members also get a chance to vote for potential candidates. A business must get at least 5 votes or have proper documentation/recommendations to be considered.

3.  Business Bootcamp

Training & practice for entrepreneurs on how to handle interview questions.

4.  Loans Rewarded

Panelists will select 5 – 20 loan/grant recipients from eligible businesses.

5.  Post – Lending

Follow up visits to entrepreneurs (successful and unsuccessful).

After having presented the Lions’ Den to CAST’s business forum participants, many of the entrepreneurs are excited to apply, but some are intimidated by the competitive process.  The Lions’ Den is also open to entrepreneurs who are not already involved with CAST’s Business Forum, which really opens the doors for CAST to impact the greater community by allowing individuals to develop their businesses in order to provide for their families.

As Lindelwe explains, “This is an opportunity for CAST to make its mark.”

If the Lions’ Den interests you, please email Lindelwe at lindelwe@cast.org.za for more information about how you can get involved.

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