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Pitches were polished

The Bloemfontein leg of the Engen Pitch & Polish workshop and competition took place on Saturday, 27 July, and attracted a record number of entrepreneurs.

Since its inception ten years ago, Pitch & Polish has taught over 15 000 entrepreneurs how to pitch like a pro.

This year, the Bloemfontein event was made possible by Engen, Nedbank and Raizcorp, as well as the local branch of the Small Enterprise Development Agency.

The workshop took Engen Pitch & Polish takes participants and five contestants through a dynamic pitching workshop by Justin Cohen, a business strategist, international speaker and world-leading expert on business pitches.

He emphasised eight important aspects of pitching for investment. During the workshop, delegates and five pre-selected competitors were.

The first half of the workshop ended with contestants’ first round of practice pitches.

Each was asked to deliver a 30-second pitch as a basepoint to measure against their final competition pitches later in the day.

The first contestant, Neo Lesako, who has a technology innovation and development business, learned the impor­tance of succinctly explaining the value of a business to its customer.

Malani Modise, whose business manufactures salt products, realised how critical time-management is in conveying the salient points.

He also learned that it is acceptable to ask for clarification, as this demonstrates listening skills.

Puseletso Saul, who makes fashion accessories, learned the value of preparation.

She achieved the third place for her pitch.

Mpho Mosholi, a partner in a craft cider business, attained the second place.

He discovered that for some businesses, particularly those in the start-up phase, outsourcing versus owning equipment mitigates the initial risk until the proof of concept has been established.

The winning pitch was delivered by Kedibone Tsiloane, who produces bricks made from plastic. She delivered a confident and well-rounded pitch.

The top-three contestants each took home a cash prize.

Tsiloane will receive further training at Raizcorp in Johannesburg during the second phase of the programme, as well as the chance to progress to the semi-final and become the ultimate 2019 Engen Pitch & Polish winner receiving further cash injections and prizes.

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