Students in the bidorbuy Auction Challenge

(23 February 2010) In 2010, the largest South African online marketplace is teaming up with institutions of higher learning to help develop entrepreneurial skills among South Africans.

To that end, bidorbuy developed its Auction Challenge, in which the students:

  • Attend a workshop;
  • Get a cash loan to buy items for re-sale;
  • List the items on bidorbuy auctions starting from R1;
  • Receive payments and organise delivery;
  • Reconcile their income and expenses (and get to keep any profits made).

The Auction Challenge is designed to familiarise students with the logistics of the online selling cycle: sourcing the goods, marketing, dealing with customers, delivery, and reconciling the 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.

The bidorbuy Auction Challenge was first taken up by the January 2010 generation of students of the University of Johannesburg Raymond Ackerman Academy of Entrepreneurial Development in Soweto. Sixty RAA students created more than one hundred listings on the bidorbuy Crazy Wednesday R1 auctions.

Even though only a few items actually made a profit, the Challenge was a success:  “The exposure to selling on an online trading platform has opened a whole new world of possibilities to the participants”, says bidorbuy Managing Director 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 very well list on bidorbuy paintings and artefacts created by members of their community on consignment, and share the takings once the works get sold.”

“It is very important to develop and nurture a mind-set like that”, adds Higgins. “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 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.”

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

Chris Speller InvestSoc, MyBusiness Project Manager says: “MyBusiness program was born in October last year to complement the Investment Society project offerings. We had a number of great programs, but none that specifically focussed on entrepreneurship. I thought our members could benefit from a program that taught them practical skills they could use to try and transform their business dreams into realities. 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. MyBusiness program and the Crazy Auction Challenge present a great framework for students to leverage off and gain the confidence and ambition to go on to start successful businesses.”

For the March 2010 challenge, bidorbuy has been able to secure a valuable prize for the InvestSoc student who makes the most profit: a laptop and one-year internet access. The prize will be donated by Skyrove, an innovative internet provider. Skyrove enables anyone to earn an income by creating their 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 Managing Director 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.”

Read more about the RAA students and the bidorbuy Auction Challenge.

Read more about the MyBusiness InvestSoc students and the bidorbuy Auction Challenge.

About bidorbuy

bidorbuy is South Africa's largest online marketplace. Established in 1999, the company has created a safe and convenient way for people to buy and sell goods online. As a virtual trading place that brings buyers and sellers together and allows them to buy and sell virtually anything at a fixed price or in an exciting auction format, bidorbuy has created a thriving online marketplace.