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Bidorbuy auction challenge for students

bidorbuy has developed its Auction Challenge, in which the students attend a workshop on auctioning; get a cash loan to buy items for re-sale; list the items on bidorbuy auctions starting from R1; receive payments and organise delivery; and reconcile their income and expenses (and get to keep any profits made).
It is designed to familiarise students with the logistics of the online selling cycle of sourcing goods, marketing, dealing with customers, delivery and reconciling accounts. The participants will have an opportunity to practice making quick, yet well thought through business decisions; to develop communication, creativity and negotiation skills; and to learn how to manage time, resources and budgets.

First challenge - small profit, big experience

The first challenge was taken up by the January 2010 generation of students of the University of Johannesburg Raymond Ackerman Academy of Entrepreneurial Development (RAA) in Soweto. Sixty RAA students created more than one hundred listings on the Crazy Wednesday R1 auctions. Even though only a few items actually made a profit, the challenge was considered a success:

“The exposure to selling on an online trading platform has opened a whole new world of possibilities to the participants,” says bidorbuy MD Andy Higgins. “Many students entered the auction challenge with a pre-conceived idea that you need a lot of money to start a business. We showed them that it is possible to become an e-entrepreneur with minimal capital, or even without any capital.

“For example, some RAA learners were quick to notice that they could list on paintings and artefacts created by members of their community on consignment and share the takings once the works were sold.

“It is very important to develop and nurture a mind-set like that. With our high unemployment rate, self-employment may be the only viable option for many South Africans. In that context, selling on a consumer-to-consumer trading platform like this can go a long way in alleviating our dismal employment situation. With some basic computer knowledge, internet connection and a lot of hard work, anyone can sell on bidorbuy - and probably earn more than they would in corporate world.”

Next challenge

In March 2010, fifty students of the Investment Society of the University of Cape Town (InvestSoc) will also take up the challenge and try to sell a variety of items on the Crazy Wednesday R1 auctions.

Chris Speller InvestSoc, MyBusiness project manager says: “MyBusiness programme started October last year to complement the InvestSoc project offerings. We had a number of great programmes, but none that specifically focussed on entrepreneurship. I thought our members could benefit from a programme that taught them practical skills they could use to try to transform their business dreams into realities.

“The auction company presented a great opportunity to develop this idea further, giving an opportunity and platform to students who may be brimming with great entrepreneurial ideas, but perhaps are unsure of how to go about turning those ideas into a workable business. This will present a great framework for students to leverage off and gain the confidence and ambition to go on to start successful businesses.”

Prize for most profit

For the March 2010 challenge, the auction house has been able to secure a valuable prize for the InvestSoc student who makes the most profit: a laptop and one-year internet access. Skyrove, an innovative internet provider, will donate the prize. It enables anyone to earn an income by creating his or her own internet hotspots and selling bandwidth to others at affordable prices.

“As an online trading platform, we always need more sellers, both individual and business, and South Africa needs more entrepreneurs,” says bidorbuy MD Andy Higgins. “Studies show that more qualified entrepreneurs are more likely to survive and prosper. That is why we are turning to the institutions of higher learning in our search for new talent. On our side, we can help those institutions take the progresses they made in the sphere of education for entrepreneurship one step further by exposing their student to the online selling environment.”
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