Johannesburg, Saturday 9th September 2017 – Approximately 370 entrepreneurs were enthralled as best-selling author and TV talk-show host, Justin Cohen, kicked off the Johannesburg round of the ENGEN Pitch & Polish programme by telling them that “build it – and they will come” is a lie!
“The truth,” said Cohen emphatically, “is build it, pitch it, and – maybe – they will come!”
Now in its eighth national tour, the ENGEN Pitch & Polish workshop and competition is designed to teach entrepreneurs the vital art of pitching their business or business idea. This year’s facilitator, Justin Cohen, is a leading expert on the topic of pitching for business. And if the response of the audience, in Johannesburg, is anything to go by, this year’s programme promises to bring even greater learning and guidance than ever before. ENGEN Pitch & Polish is a collaboration between Engen Petroleum, Nedbank, and Raizcorp, and is supported by media partner Caxton Local Media.
Justin’s philosophy of pitching to win was dramatically underscored when he told the audience that big pharmaceutical companies spend more money marketing and pitching life-saving drugs than they do on actually developing the drugs! “Just because you have a product that you think will change the world, does not mean you do not have to find a way to communicate and educate the public,” explained Cohen. The ENGEN Pitch & Polish workshop is designed to underscore the belief that pitching is not selling; pitching is educating and communicating.
The rapport, created by Justin’s engaging style, set the tone for a safe environment in which contestants could pitch, receive constructive and honest feedback, learn from it, and re-pitch.
Key Pitching Lessons:
- Tune in: Are you addressing your customer’s needs?
- Be optimistic: Become a rejection specialist and, when rejected, ask yourself: “How can I make this better?”
- Solve problems: Bring value to the world and focus on the customers’ needs.
- Cultivate presence: The number one advantage, when pitching your business, is energy and enthusiasm.
- Find your purpose: Being an entrepreneur is not a job or a career; it is a calling! Treat it as such.
- Be of service: To sell is to give. Entrepreneurs create something wonderful and serve people with it. Pitching is the art of communicating this!
Over 150 applications were received to compete in the 2017 ENGEN Pitch & Polish event in Johannesburg. Four contestants were carefully pre-selected by a panel while a fifth contestant was chosen, on the day, to give the delegates a further opportunity to have their voices heard.
Meet the Johannesburg Contestants:
- Noughty Maluleke – Chicken supplier
- Nkosinathi Hadebe – Shoe designer and manufacturer
- Masego Mohajane – Medical engineering products
- Hloniphile Manana – Chocolate-maker in the shape of body parts (business idea)
- Lebohang Molapo – Online tutorial platform
Throughout the day, pitches were sharpened and polished – thanks to clear guidance from Justin, combined with inquiring questions from the delegates. By pushing the contestants to improve, learn, define the problem, and present the solution, the inspired delegates were simultaneously applying the principles to their own businesses and ideas!
The programme culminated in the competition segment, where the five contestants could pitch their business or business idea to the judges. The judging panel was made up of Mntu Nduvane from Engen Petroleum, Regina Gounden from Nedbank and Dave Mills from Raizcorp. This year, the judges’ questions and feedback were explained to all present, and used as a learning platform, with Justin guiding the way. The ENGEN Pitch & Polish programme continues to grow thanks to Engen Petroleum, Nedbank and Raizcorp along with Caxton Local Media.
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The winner of the ENGEN Pitch & Polish Johannesburg event, who proceeds to Round 2, is Masego Mohajane with her medical engineering business.
Congratulations to all for attending – and taking action as this is the secret to building your business!
For more information visit www.pitchandpolish.com.
In this picture (from left to right):
- Justin Cohen
- Mntu Nduvane
- Noughty Maluleke
- Masego Mohajane
- Nkosinathi Hadebe
- Hloniphile Manana
- Lebohang Molapo
- Regina Gounden
- Dave Mills
- The annual programme is called: ENGEN Pitch & Polish
- Engen Petroleum Ltd is the headline sponsor
- Nedbank is a sponsor
- The programme is a Raizcorp initiative
- The national media partner is Caxton Local Media
- For editorial purposes, the spokesperson and project manager is Bronwyn Echardt from Raizcorp
- The PR Contact is Jodi Lynn Karpes from GreenQueen Communications.