“The ENGEN Pitch & Polish initiative invites entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs to participate in a full day workshop and competition, to build their businesses on firm foundations and values” urges Unathi Njokweni-Magida, the Head of Transformation & Stakeholder Engagement at Engen Petroleum Ltd.
“At Engen Petroleum, we continue to be a firm partner as this gives budding entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch and present their business or idea, to an audience, where the feedback loop creates an empowering learning environment. Engen believes growing and nurturing business skills for emerging entrepreneurs in South Africa will boost employment, improve education levels and help alleviate poverty. To accomplish this, we are proud to step up and support these future stars, to help propel them forward and become flourishing future employers,” explains Unathi.
As the 2018 workshops begin, below is some advice on the importance of values when crafting the perfect pitch.
It is highly unlikely that someone will invest in your business if your values do not align with theirs. As a real example, a billionaire once turned down the opportunity to invest in a rave business just as the rave scene was about to explode. Despite the lure of vast profits, the billionaire knew that raves attracted drug dealers and that large amounts of drugs were being peddled. This was completely contrary to his system of values and he declined to invest. The need for aligned values also holds true from the perspective of the investee. If, after pitching to an investor, you discover that she has shares in a textile factory in the East that makes use of child labour, would you still take her money?
So, how should you go about ensuring that your pitch reflects your values? Here are three helpful guidelines to assist you:
Have you ever sat down and really thought about the values which guide your choices in life? Have you ever considered whether they are good or bad values? A good value is something that you can control internally, for example, always taking responsibility for what happens in your life and your business, or always being honest (even if playing fast and loose with the truth would sometimes be easier). A bad value, on the other hand, is something that is controlled by external factors and not by yourself. An example would be wealth for the sake of wealth, or loyalty to the point of blindness.
Think carefully about your values and make sure you have settled on ones that you can control, such as a commitment to always learning, humility and self-respect.
Having settled on your values, you must examine them from every angle. After any pitch, a potential investor will ask questions about numerous aspects of your business or business model. Any answers you give must be congruent with the values encompassed in the pitch you have just made.
For example, if your pitch has touched on your willingness to learn and the fact that you never assume you know everything, it will not impress your potential investor if you come across as arrogant or a know-it-all when answering any follow-up questions.
It is also essential that your chosen values align with those of your would-be investor. If you are prepared to sacrifice your values for the sake of getting funding, it reflects poorly on you as a person and on your business. For example, if you value honesty and the potential investor offers you R100 000 more than what you’re asking for to hire her nephew as your marketing director, the offer will clearly be in conflict with your values. Also remember that any deal you finally strike with your investor should be congruent with your values.
Tracy Afonso, Nedbank Head of Strategy: Professional Banking and Small Business, says as money experts, Nedbank is committed to doing good and is proud to be part of this inspiring initiative with Engen and Raizcorp as a co-sponsor since 2016. “Unlocking the potential of the SME sector is key to economic growth and job creation in South Africa. We believe that this sponsorship aligns with our brand purpose to use our financial expertise to enable individuals, families, businesses and society to do good. As a business, we vote for and support small business in South Africa, and help them achieve their goals,” concludes Afonso.
While it may sometimes seem difficult to uphold your values in the face of a tempting deal, in the long term it will serve you well. As an individual and as a business, you will grow a reputation for being steadfast and true … and that is worth a great deal more than a quick buck!
For more information on ENGEN Pitch & Polish and the 2018 programme, please visit www.pitchandpolish.com.
Africa’s Top 10 Tech Start-Ups Selected For #Africa4Future Accelerator Programme
Airbus and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) have announced the top 10 African tech start-ups that will take part in the latest Airbus Bizlab #Africa4Future accelerator programme. They were selected after an open public pitch event in front of experts, potential investors, the media and other stakeholders in Kenya’s capital city.
#Africa4Future is a joint business accelerator initiative of Airbus and GIZ’s Make-IT in Africa initiative together with the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST), a non-profit seed fund and pan-African organisation that brings together startups, entrepreneurs and the tech community, and Innocircle, the South African-based innovation consultancy.
The top 10 start-ups were selected from 314 entries representing 19 African countries that were received when the challenge was opened last October. These were assessed by a panel of Airbus and other independent experts.
The programme aims to encourage and support entrepreneurship in Africa. The continent’s young and increasingly techno-savvy population is likely to be the driving force behind Africa’s socio-economic development. The competition identifies Africa’s own pool of talented entrepreneurs using innovative aerospace based solutions to tackle the continent’s most pressing challenges such as transportation, agriculture and healthcare.
As a global aerospace accelerator, Airbus BizLab is ideally suited to help African startups transform innovative ideas into viable and valuable businesses. In doing so, it increases the aerospace industry’s engagement with hardware and software innovators and entrepreneurs in Africa while helping to nurture the establishment of competitive entrepreneurial ecosystems on the continent.
The Nairobi event kicks off an intensive 6-month business incubation and accelerator programme involving technical, commercial and mentorship activities in France, Germany and South Africa. This includes workshops and coaching sessions with Airbus experts, GIZ’s Make-IT in Africa, MEST and Innocircle coaches.
The programme will culminate with Demo Day events at the biennial Paris International Airshow and a special event in Germany from 19-26 June, when finalists will launch their products, define their collaboration with Airbus and announce their investment commitments in front of representatives from across the aerospace industry.
1. Astral Aerial (Kenya) – using drones for humanitarian cargo transport, surveillance and emergency response.
2. Cote d’Ivoire drone (Ivory Coast) – locally-manufactured drones for various applications.
3. Elemental Numerics (South Africa) – applies computational fluid dynamics techniques to the design of machines and components, ranging from aircraft to heart valves.
4. Lentera Limited (Kenya) – applying remote sensors to monitor and transmit environmental data to enable more efficient and smarter farming.
5. Maisha ICT Tech PLC (Ethiopia) – deploying locally built drones for delivering medicines, blood and healthcare items to remote and rural areas.
6. MamaBird (Malawi) – provides a platform to help Governments, NGOs and other organisations deliver vital life-saving supplies to remote communities.
7. Map Action (Mali) – a solution offering real-time online urban mapping to identify problems affecting water supplies, hygiene and sanitation.
8. MobiTech Water Solutions (Kenya) – an online real-time water monitoring solution that allows businesses, homes and water-service providers to manage their available water using an app-based dashboard and instant messaging.
9. Track Your Build (Nigeria) – a novel infrastructure management tool for construction and operations.
10.WiPo Wireless Power (South Africa) – offers reliable and convenient wireless power chargers for businesses, conference centres, airports, restaurants and other venues for the charging of mobile devices, laptops and drones.
Related: 21 Steps To Start-Up Success
Top Sectors For SMEs In 2019
“As such, SMEs in the construction, communications and electrical fields are all likely to benefit from supply and sub-contracting agreements over the coming years.”
While the South African economy has been underperforming for a number of years, the first positive signs of turnaround started to become visible by the second quarter of 2018, and by the end of the third quarter, data supplied by Statistics South Africa showed that the economy had indeed grown by 2.2 percent, compared to the previous quarter. This uptick is expected to have a positive effect on business confidence in 2019.
This is according to Jeremy Lang, regional general manager at Business Partners Limited (BUSINESS/PARTNERS), who says that certain business sectors have already seen an increase in opportunities for small businesses and start-ups.
“While these sectors will not be without challenges, the following four industries are likely to offer the best opportunities for small and medium enterprise (SME) owners to grow their enterprises in the coming year.”
The World Travel and Tourism report 2018, revealed that the direct contribution of the travel and tourism sector to South Africa’s GDP has been projected to rise from R136bn in 2016 to R197.9bn by 2028 – set to make up a total of 3.3 percent of the country’s total GDP, says Lang.
“Although this sector experienced some setbacks in 2018, such as the drought in the Western Cape and stricter visa regulations for children entering the country, both the water restrictions and visa regulations have been relaxed and the sector is once again poised for growth,” he says.
Statistics South Africa has credited this industry with being the biggest driver of growth in the country’s GDP, having expanded by 7.5 percent in September 2018, says Lang. “To bolster this, Government has made a concerted effort to stimulate small business growth in this area with initiatives such as the Black Industrialist Programme and the SA Automotive Masterplan.”
He adds that businesses in the manufacturing sphere could therefore likely see significant opportunities in the form of outsourcing contracts and new partnerships with large corporates.
“The debate around land expropriation has occupied most of the discussions surrounding the agricultural sector in 2018, with some questioning growth prospects of this sector. However, this industry has a lot of growth ahead of it, as demonstrated by its 6.5 percent growth over the last three months of 2018,” explains Lang.
“Further to this, the industry is also already taking significant advantage of seven climatic regions in South Africa, with the export of a wide variety of high quality fruit and vegetables increasing substantially,” he points out. The recent outbreak of foot and mouth disease that has resulted in the suspension of the country’s FMD-free status will however significantly impact meat exporters.
In terms of opportunities for SMEs, he says that these may most likely be found in the rural and underdeveloped regions, where the need for resources like efficient transport, state-of-the-art cold storage, better irrigation and private power generation will be key to making agriculture projects more productive and competitive in the export market.
Data and information technology
Connectivity and information technology infrastructure are both crucial to business and employment growth in South Africa, says Lang.
“With many municipalities and the Western Cape government committing to providing all of its residents with free data as part of a plan to expand public Wi-Fi network access, it is clear that this is also becoming a high priority on a state level.”
It has also been reported that South Africa is awaiting the arrival of three international data centres, and large players in the communications sphere, including Vodacom, Telkom and Vumatel, are making huge strides in drastically growing the country’s fibre optic backbone, he adds. “As such, SMEs in the construction, communications and electrical fields are all likely to benefit from supply and sub-contracting agreements over the coming years.”
In conclusion, Lang says that as South Africa’s economic growth has started to turn around, business owners should keep their ears to the ground as 2019 is highly likely to be a year of opportunity.
Herman Mashaba To Talk On City Of Jo’burg Job Creation Initiative
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