Sponsored by MTN Business and supported by Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS), IDC, Business Report, the Blue Train, the dti and SABC2, the show was conceptualised by successful businessperson and entrepreneur, Ezra Ndwandwe.
It is aimed at both existing ventures that need re-capitalisation for growth and high impact business ideas requiring start-up capital. The twelve contestants have been selected and already there is an increase in the number of people showing an interest in the TV show online, with Facebook fans already taking some controversial positions on who should win the prize. Since the debate started, the fan base has grown at 100% each day.
Of interest to the media industry is Abongile Maqwazima from the Eastern Cape, who has an existing concept, Township Times, an interactive news and information publication, making use of social networking to enable engagement and exchange on issues of relevance and importance to people on their terms.
It was born of the need for people to reflect on their own stories, culture and heritage. It departs from the traditional model, seeking to uncover what is relevant to the community.
Township Times seeks to be a medium that celebrates diversity, facilitates historical awareness and an appreciation of culture, traditions and customs among the South African youth. It aims to demystify news and current affairs through interaction and reporting in the various local languages by making use of media convergence and appropriate technology to bring news in various formats.
The contestants were chosen from around the country from a pool of 25 000 entries, says Ndwandwe. The prize is a R5 million rand capital injection to a business or a business idea conceived by the most suave entrepreneur in the show, demonstrating a combination of street smarts and book smarts.
However, according to Ndwandwe, all 12 contestants are winners. "Our plan is to make sure that the other 11 contestants walk away from the show with an increased sense of purpose. We will empower them through various interventions to ensure that when they arrive back home, they are ready to turn their dreams into reality," he says.
"The show is a new idea, as a departure from previous reality TV shows, as the end of the show signifies the beginning of a new and exciting journey for its participants."