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Port Elizabeth entrepreneurs excel at the ENGEN Pitch & Polish workshop

BY Greenqueen

Celebrating five years of polishing entrepreneurial pitches, the ENGEN Pitch & Polish 2014 programme was attended by eager entrepreneurs at the first event, held in Port Elizabeth.

Engen Petroleum Ltd, in partnership with business incubator, Raizcorp, and media partner SAfm, as well as local partners, Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber and SEDA and Kingfisher FM joined forces to bring the fifth annual Pitch & Polish workshop to Port Elizabeth. The workshop and competition continues to be a highlight for entrepreneurs, where they can have their ideas brainstormed, tested and challenged – and ultimately to polish their pitch.

Almost 300 people filled the Feather Market Convention Centre with a keen interest in learning how to pitch their businesses successfully. The day began with delegates watching a clip, which captured the essence of events from previous years, setting the scene of what could be expected.

Stephen Reid, Business Incubator Manager from Raizcorp facilitated the workshop and competition and guided the delegates throughout the day. It was soon evident that the workshop is an active process where each individual is stretched and pushed towards a deeper understanding of entrepreneurship and their business.

Myth 1:        Pitching is easy.
Myth 2:        Being a delegate at an ENGEN Pitch & Polish workshop is a passive act of listening and note-taking.

It was a gruelling day of pitching for Asa Mazomba, Loyiso Gongqa, Luvuyo Ponase, Lezáne van Niekerk and Siphamandla Javu. They shared the stage and braved the audience-come-investors’ polishing and difficult questions. Their initial 30 second pitches were fleshed out to become well-rounded three minute pitches delivered to judges, Lungile Dumse, Human Capital General Manager, Engen Petroleum Ltd; Glenton De Kock, Project Manager, Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber and Vernon Naidoo, Manager: VW Community Trust. Throughout the day, delegates diligently filled in their worksheets to compile their individual pitches.

Characteristic to this format, is that entrepreneurs are given feedback on their pitches, there and then. The truth, whether harsh or positive, is shared in the moment so that the kinks can be ironed out and the brightness turned up.

Through to Round 2, from Port Elizabeth, are Asa, Luvuyo and Siphamandla.

A few key learnings from the day included the importance of:
•         Research
•         Being understood
•         Knowing your value proposition
•         Identifying who your target market is – it is not “everyone”
•         Portraying yourself professionally

“It is remarkable what can be achieved in eight hours. Those who have invested the time in being here today, are walking out knowing which area of their business needs work.” commented Glenton De Kock, the Project Manager from the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber.

After the event, the contestants were inundated with support, feedback, ideas, business cards and sincere encouragement from their peers.

This winning formula of workshop-and-competition makes ENGEN Pitch & Polish one of the most stimulating business events of the year – where everyone leaves victorious and with tools to become a successful entrepreneur!

For more information or the opportunity to pitch on SAfm visit www.pitchandpolish.com.

 July 03, 2014
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