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Why Pitching Is Like Dating

The 2015 ENGEN Pitch & Polish annual workshop and competition is coming up. Here’s what you need to know to pitch like a pro.

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You’re on your first date: You must make the initial impression the best one in order to lock in a second date: You employ all the skills you have at your fingertips; and voila!

Success:

  • Short-term goal for a second date: Secured
  • Long-term goal for a relationship that lasts: In progress

Related: Pitch Your Idea or Business to Potential Funders

Like dating, pitching your business or business idea to potential investors or possible partners also relies on a number of basic fundamental truths: Being confident without being cocky; being approachable without seeming desperate; being passionate without being immoderate; and having the facts and numbers at your fingertips; and voila!

Success:

  • Short-term goal for a second meeting: Secured
  • Long-term goal for a mutually beneficial relationship: In progress

When dating, certain fundamentals should be avoided, such as answering your phone, belching or arriving dirty. Likewise when pitching your business to a prospective investor, below are the basics of what NOT to do:

Avoid buzz words and jargon

These can sound the death knell of any new interaction. Use easy-to-understand language, crisp, concise and simple. Include actual anecdotes and humour; be witty without being corny or sarcastic; and never ever talk down to anyone because you think they won’t understand your ideas. Be genuine, be real, be sincere.

Go easy with the PowerPoint presentation

Yes, we all know that it looks good, sounds good, is professional and pleasing to the eye. But it’s you they want more of, rather than the accoutrements, just as when on a first date it’s the impression you make as a person rather than the clothes you wear, the car you drive, the art you own, that captivates the heart.

Rather ensure that the initial attention is focused on you and your ability to share your exciting venture; and only then bring on the PowerPoint, as the dessert rather than the main course.

Don’t ignore advice from those around you

You sound out your best friend about what you should wear, which restaurant you should visit – and even if you don’t take all the advice, it’s comforting to know that two heads are better than one and could work in your favour during the date. So too when preparing your pitching message, play it first to a captive but honest audience – family, friends, colleagues – that will criticise positively and help you see the errors that you missed because you’re too close. In this way you will gain perspective, confidence and practice.

From first base to home run

  • First base: you approach the date with a mixture of trepidation and anticipation, hoping there will be a connection. The initial pitch too, is nerve-wrecking, as you want to come across polished and succinct, listen and connect.
  • Getting to second base: will she/he be responsive enough for you to push ahead? Will the company show increased interest and commitment to invest, or at least want to know more, more detail, more faces?
  • Third base: will the connection deepen or is rejection imminent? Patience is the key ingredient during this stage. Hopefully there have been indications of joint moving forward – great excitement but muted till there is more confirmation.
  • Fourth base: You scored!  Birds of a feather, shared interests, common path – it’s working! You receive positive input and constructive feedback; introductions to other partners / stakeholders; supplying necessary and additional information; ready to forge ahead.
  • Home run: Marriage? Strong business relationship; contracts signed for commitment from both sides; agreement on necessary financing needed; both parties fired up with enthusiasm and ready to move forward.

You deserve to win. It all begins with the first pitch!

You’ve read all the above – you’re eager to start – so now the best way is to register for the 2015 ENGEN Pitch & Polish workshop and competition which is looking to discover the nation’s most promising local entrepreneurs by teaching them to polish their pitch.

This annual programme, in association with Engen Petroleum Ltd and longstanding media partner, SAfm, has impacted thousands of entrepreneurs and continues to reach and teach eager entrepreneurs.

Related: Government Funding and Grants for Small Businesses

While on the course you will learn business fundamentals and be shown how best to access funding through your ability to share your vision effectively.  Then, at the close, your polished pitch is ready to go.  You will also stand a chance to win prizes and money.

Register now to attend or compete. Sms PITCH to 45901 (charged at R1.50 per sms) or register online at www.pitchandpolish.com.

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Entrepreneur Today

The Start-up Hatchery And Greater Tygerberg Partnership Launch Innovative Pitch Competition For Bellville Solutions

Entrants are required to submit their ideas in a 30-second WhatsApp video to 082 936 7544 before 24 May 2018.

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The Greater Tygerberg Partnership (GTP) and start-up incubator The Startup Hatchery are launching a pitching competition to surface innovative ideas that, when implemented, could lead to the improvement of Bellville in Cape Town’s northern suburbs. The winning idea will receive a package of business incubation, mentorship, business development support, marketing and branding collateral, legal and intellectual property advice and other prizes, including R5 000 cash.

Launching on 14 May 2018, Innovate Bellville 2.0 is open to new businesses that have been operating for six months or less, who are developing new innovative ideas that could improve public transport, create jobs, create inclusive public spaces, address homelessness, improve health and wellbeing, manage waste, facilitate mobility, attract and retain investment and regenerate the Bellville urban centre.

Related: 3 Actionable Insights To Make Your Investment Pitch Perfect

Innovate Bellville 2.0 forms part of the GTP’s living lab approach to the regeneration of the Bellville CBD, says Warren Hewitt, CEO of the GTP: “We want Bellville to be a test-bed for new ideas that can help us to build a vibrant, prosperous, inclusive city region. Innovate Bellville 2.0 falls directly into that approach. We’re looking forward to seeing the ideas that emerge, and seeing the winning idea implemented in a part of our city that stands on the edge of an exciting future.”

“Innovation starts anywhere,” says Tania Cunningham, Chief Digital and Marketing Officer for The Startup Hatchery, “but we were very excited at the prospect of focusing on finding innovative ideas that could bring about real change to a defined geographical area. Innovate Bellville 2.0 will offer the winning business a solid start in life, with a chance to see their idea become a reality in Bellville.”

Entrants are required to submit their ideas in a 30-second WhatsApp video to 082 936 7544 before 24 May 2018. Twenty semi-finalists will be selected from the WhatsApp pitches, who will each receive training and a pitch deck. From that group, a group of eight finalists will then be selected and invited to pitch their ideas to judges during a pitch event on 7 June.

For more information, contact pitchtank@thestartuphatchery.co.za

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Entrepreneur Today

Silulo Business Incubation Is Changing The Future Of Entrepreneurs

Silulo Business Incubation is a unique incubation aimed at empowering and assisting upcoming entrepreneurs.

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Launched in April 2018, the Silulo Business Incubation is a unique incubation aimed at empowering and assisting upcoming entrepreneurs to grow not only their businesses but also their confidence in the business space. The Incubation offers office space, boardrooms, training and conference rooms as well as eighteen shared office space for entrepreneurs in and around Cape Town.

Founder and Director, Mr Luvuyo Rani says: “We have always had a vision for this type of centre – a one-stop-shop where all entrepreneurial needs are catered for but our problem was always funding. With hard-work and dedication, we were able to make our vision a reality, which is exactly what we want to teach and instil for our entrepreneurs.”

The incubation will also offer networking sessions for aspiring entrepreneurs twice a month for two hours. This idea is to offer business insights as well as networking opportunities for entrepreneurs in and around Cape Town. Entrepreneurs will have the option to become members of the SBI Network where they are able to attend networking sessions of their choice. All networking sessions will cover different topics and training manuals will be offered after each session.

Related: Silulo Ulutho Technologies: Luvuyo Rani

Rani continues:

“The main challenge when it comes to this type of business is infrastructure and funding. Silulo is a pioneer and it can go anywhere, there are no boundaries in business. This is a flagship store. We want to replicate this in every province. Silulo’s success lies in partnerships and our business has a passion for empowering.”

Rani, a former teacher, together with his brother Lonwabo Rani started selling computers from the boot of a car more than ten years ago. Silulo Technologies now has 42 branches in three provinces: the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal and 22 franchise stores, some of which are owned by former Silulo employees.

Director and Co-founder, Lonwabo Rani says: “My brother always tells us to think about the bigger picture. It was that bigger picture that kept us going. Back in 2006, what you see today is exactly how it was when we envisioned it.”

About Silulo:

In 2017 Silulo reached a total of 35 000 students trained since inception. It trained 65 students through MIC SETA in both the Eastern and Western Cape.

Related: 10 Young Entrepreneurs Under 30 Share Their Start-Up Secrets

Rani and his two directors remodelled the business in 2017 by offering a walk in cellphone repair service (including the service of leading brands such as Apple, Samsung and Huawei) at one of the Silulo branches in Khayelitsha.

Rani, who was part of the Team South Africa to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland in 2018, has received numerous accolades for his social impact business.

He was also awarded a Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2016 among his many accolades.

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Entrepreneur Today

DJ Sbu Opens Academy To Develop Hustlers

DJ Sbu also known as Sbusiso Leope has partnered with the 3Sixty Financial Services Group (360 FSG) to positively impact thousands of young lives and families in South Africa with his own school, a learning academy. Aptly titled The Hustlers Academy.

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DJ Sbu also known as Sbusiso Leope has partnered with the 3Sixty Financial Services Group (360 FSG) to positively impact thousands of young lives and families in South Africa with his own school, a learning academy. Aptly titled The Hustlers Academy. Leope intends to develop the minds and the ability of thousands of young hustlers in the country and change lives.

The Hustlers Academy is an independent privately funded economic empowerment project spearheaded by Leope to address the overwhelming lack of jobs and incumbent graduates into the system on an annual basis. The 360 FSG is a well-established financial services company with a disruptive strategy that offers clients more benefits for their rand. The partnership represents a meeting of the minds and the hearts for the development of opportunities for young South Africans.

“We will train and educate young hustlers to either be entrepreneurs or corporate hustlers. Our training programme and academy curriculum will produce the best sales force this country has seen and develop the minds of Hustlers to understand how the world works and how to stand out. In partnership with 360 FSG we will develop entrepreneurs who start businesses and employ teams of hustlers within an 18-month period. ‘The Hustlers Academy’ will take in Hustlers for training nationally in multiple provinces providing a practical and theoretical intervention in the lives of those who are skilled and restless.” Said Leope.

Group CEO and Chairman of 360 FSG, Mr. Khandani Msibi is confident that ‘The Hustlers Academy’ will play a game-changing role in developing and changing the way corporates are structured in providing a ceiling for employees as far as earnings are concerned.

Related: 3 Start-up Funding Tips To Help Launch Your Company

“Our approach to empowerment is based on sustainability for the Hustlers who make it through the academy. We will develop people mentally as well as financially and make a serious change in their socio economic position. DJ Sbu has the potential to influence a generation and he shows this on a daily basis with his determination to succeed. We are matching his determination and passion for economic empowerment with our backing of the ‘The Hustlers Academy’project. We look forward to changing thousands of lives with a long term impact.” Said Mr. Msibi

‘The Hustlers Academy’ is active and running a pilot group of Hustlers through its programme in Johannesburg. The academy welcomes registrations on its webapp www.hustlersacademy.co.za. Starting from 1st June 2018 The Hustlers Academy will be taking in 50 – 100 hustlers per month.

Leope goes on to say. “In 2013 we started an educational company called Leadership 2020 which was designed to develop Africa’s richest asset – its people. I’m excited that we are able to realise our vision before the year 2020 with the launch of this initiative. ‘The Hustlers Academy’ will grow to add multiple courses, mentorship, and accreditations and even lead people to formal education if they so wish. This academy will make a tangible socio – economic difference in young South African lives. ‘The Hustlers Academy’ has no registration fees and requires no learning fees. It requires you, your time, your commitment and there’s #NOVILAPHING  – Lazy people will not make it.”

Registrations are online at: www.hustlersacademy.co.za

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