Entrepreneurs learn how to pitch to investors

Small businesses will have a chance to learn how to pitch their ideas to investors on Saturday
Small businesses will have a chance to learn how to pitch their ideas to investors on Saturday
Image: 123RF/Bogdan Mircea Hoda

About 500 entrepreneurs will gather in Sandton, Johannesburg, on Saturday to learn one of the most crucial skills in growing a business - pitching to investors.

These entrepreneurs will be part of one of eight Engen Pitch and Polish workshop events over the next nine weeks.

Celebrating its 10-year anniversary, the workshop provides a platform for entrepreneurs to learn how to pitch their business ideas to investors.

These can be ideas for a start-up business or one to grow an existing enterprise.

The competition is run through a partnership between Engen Petroleum, Nedbank and Raizcorp.

From all the entry forms received, five are then shortlisted to pitch on the day. In Johannesburg and surrounding areas, 496 entries were received from entrepreneurs in various economic sectors.

"During the workshop they will get polished and they will pitch to a panel of three expert judges at the end of the day. The winner will then move to the second round of the competition," said Raizcorp project manager Bronwyn Echardt.

"They will have to spend three days with us at Raizcorp going through an intensive training programme in preparation for the second round."

Saturday's winner will get R6,000.

In the second round, all the winners from eight towns across the country compete against each other. Five are selected for the semifinal. Three of these go to the final stage. The ultimate winner walks away with R80,000 in cash.

While the competition is open to everyone, Echardt said there was an emphasis on businesses from previously disadvantaged groups. "What we look for is something that is interesting and different. For instance, in Johannesburg we could have received at least 50 entry forms for a hair salon. That isn't selected unless there is something that stands out [about the salon]. We look for something different and that is unique."

Echardt said the skill of pitching to investors was crucial to growing small businesses. "What we have found is that there are a lot of very good ideas out there and a lot of really good businesses. There is a lot of funding out there but the entrepreneurs do not know how to pitch to an investor.

"Just the basic questions that an investor wants to know is the same kind of questions that an entrepreneur needs to be able to answer for themselves if they are serious about their business."

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