Now in its ninth year, ENGEN Pitch & Polish is a national entrepreneurial workshop and competition programme that – so far – has helped over 11 000 entrepreneurs improve the way they pitch their businesses to potential investors. (The programme is sponsored in partnership with Engen Petroleum, Nedbank, Raizcorp and Caxton Local Media.) With successful regional events held in eight towns and cities across South Africa since August, the programme culminated in a glittering final at The Venue in Melrose Arch, Johannesburg early November.
The objective of the ENGEN Pitch & Polish programme is to guide entrepreneurs in polishing their business pitches to attract funding. The value of a good pitch cannot be underestimated and is a necessary skill in multiple settings and environments.
Says Allon Raiz, founder of Raizcorp and the brains behind the Pitch & Polish concept, “A mistake that is commonly made by entrepreneurs is using the same pitch to potential investors and to potential buyers. There is a great difference between the two types of pitches and entrepreneurs need to understand this.”
He continues, “The concept of the ‘elevator pitch’ is very real – whether the elevator is metaphorical or actual. The attention spans of potential investors have decreased as the number of people pitching to them has increased. Investors are constantly inundated by pitches. For this reason, your pitch needs to be cogent, mature, different and compelling. It must hit all the right notes in the right sequence and in the right length of time.”
Prior to the final, in October all regional winners were flown up to Johannesburg to participate in two days of training at Raizcorp’s head office in Sandton. At the semi-finals, which were held following the training, three finalists were selected and delivered their pitches to the judges in the hope of being the 2018 ENGEN Pitch & Polish winner.
The winning pitch by Kanyo Langa from the Eastern Cape was delivered with precision, was seamlessly timed and expressed his business and financial requirements succinctly.
“We chose Kanyo as this year’s winner,” says Grace Govender, Head of Nedbank New Business and Sales Support for the Relationship Banking division, “because he was clear on the value proposition of his business, understood his financials thoroughly and showed humility with an ability to learn and grow.”
Second place was awarded to Robert Owen from Nelspruit for his environmental business which is doing important work by combating invasive plants. His pitch displayed the great potential of his business to have a positive impact on the environment, skills development and creating employment opportunities.
Third place went to Letshego Maele from Bloemfontein for his sports apparel line which is made from an exciting innovative material.
In addition to the cash injection the finalists won on the night, Inus Prinsloo (board member of Caxton Local Media) awarded the winner R20 000 in advertising.
Unathi Njokweni-Magida, Head of Transformation & Stakeholder Engagement at Engen Petroleum Ltd and a major driving force behind the success and impact of the ENGEN Pitch & Polish project, says, “Together, we are nurturing talent as our contribution to making a difference in this country, as it is these entrepreneurs who will be creating jobs and become beacons of light.”
For more information, visit www.pitchandpolish.com.
By Ndileka Swakamisa