Supporting Entrepreneurs From the Bottom Up

Supporting Entrepreneurs From the Bottom Up


After an extensive search for South Africa’s hidden entrepreneurial gems, through pitching competitions and workshops held throughout the country in South Africa’s smaller towns, Annah Lelimo of Thabong Bakery in the Free State shone through in the finale of the 2011 brandhouse Pitch & Polish competition, held at the Fire & Ice Hotel at Melrose Arch last night.

After hundreds of entries, extensive workshops to assist entrepreneurs perfect their pitching skills and three rounds within the competition, it was down to three contestants, of which only one would walk away with the prizes: R25 000 in cash and R25 000 in unit trusts sponsored by 36ONE Asset Management. All three would leave with an abundance of knowledge and experience gained on their journey to this decisive moment.

The Pitch and Polish finalists

The three finalists were Annah Lelimo from the Bloemfontein event, who wanted to take her established baking company to the next level; Peter Maseko from Vereeniging, who wanted to make his community newspaper a household name; and Kevin Govender of Port Elizabeth, inventor of an innovative toothbrush design.

The judges, Norman Reyneker from Brandhouse Beverages, Allon Raiz of Raizcorp, and Tshepo Serokola, Raizcorp Entrepreneurial Scout listened to the three-minute pitches for a final time, asked questions and gave their feedback, before selecting Lelimo as the overall winner.

When asked what they would take away from the experience, all three contestants were in agreement: the learnings offered by Raizcorp and the competition’s facilitators throughout the process have given them renewed confidence in themselves to take their businesses to the next level, regardless of whether or not they won.

Judging criteria

  • The USP is clear and evident
  • The pricing strategy is clear and logical
  • The presenter considered the competitive environment clearly
  • The presenter has convinced me that there is a need
  • The presenter has convinced the judges that they can solve the need
  • The presenter convinced the judges that they can make a profit
  • Would the judges loan the entrepreneur R50 000?
  • The presenter spoke clearly and the judges and audience understood what was been said

brandhouse Pitch & Polish returns next year to continue the hunt for South Africa’s hidden entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneur Magazine is South Africa's top read business publication with the highest readership per month according to AMPS. The title has won seven major publishing excellence awards since it's launch in 2006. Entrepreneur Magazine is the "how-to" handbook for growing companies. Find us on Google+ here.