Brilliantly designed to create new entrepreneurs and help existing SMMEs, the workshops are free. The 2012 roll-out is supported by media partner SAfm
and sponsors Brandhouse Beverages, Engen Petroleum and Raizcorp, the company that develops entrepreneurs.
“The upcoming workshop and competition gives ideas-rich entrepreneurs their chance to develop essential skills and test their business models,” said Allon Raiz, business author and Raizcorp CEO.
brandhouse Pitch & Polish seeks out-of-the-ordinary business thinkers in out-of-the-way places by taking the event out of the major business centres to peri-urban South Africa.
The format contains both a workshop and competition element, but this year the learning and creativity will be taken to a new level. Participants take part in a free day-long entrepreneurial event with the winners going through to the next round that culminates in a semi-final and final. Contestants are given three minutes to “pitch” their business idea to the audience (participants), who then decide whether or not they would invest in them as entrepreneurs. A facilitator gives tips and guidance, helped by the audience, to “polish” the pitch until the contestants have a totally professional and in-depth presentation.
Each audience member will absorb new skills, think and see entrepreneurship differently, while contestants will be challenged to present their business or concepts and stand up to a grilling by business and communication experts.
A total of R150 000 will be given away as prizes, but it’s a win-win. Participants and contestants alike will benefit from the education in business, communication, presentation skills and finance fundamentals. brandhouse Pitch & Polish also helps to encourage an entrepreneurial culture by engaging the wider community.
Everyone leaves the workshop enriched! To thank everyone for their participation, and in addition to the priceless learning experience and opportunity, everyone enjoys a tasty lunch – also free – and will leave with a special gift from the sponsors.
The workshop-and-showdown is in Port Elizabeth on Saturday, 28 July, part of a first round of events that also takes in eMalahleni, Bloemfontein, Rustenburg and Retreat. The second round will be held in Umlazi, Vereeniging and Kimberley. This will set the scene for the semi-finals and the grand final.
Participation in 2011 grew 35% from 2010. Be part of the growth of entrepreneurs in South African and register now for this opportunity. Registration is easy, go online to www.pitchandpolish.com
, SMS “pitch” and your name to 41344, call on 011 566 2000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
. Closing date for registrations for Port Elizabeth is Friday, 20 July.
Despite the numerous business skills development programmes on offer from training institutions, the skills shortage remains a major crisis for South Africa’s small business community, which in turn affects the macro-economic environment. An article published by prominent SMME researcher Prof. Christian Rogerson entitled “Tracking SMME Development in South Africa: Issues of Finance, Training and the Regulatory Environment” indicates that, for small entrepreneurs, particularly those without a great deal of formal education, training programs are often poorly planned and fail to provide SMME owner-managers with the skill sets they need.
Other research by Prof. Gideon Nieman, a researcher based at the University of Pretoria, states that, “The supply-driven (rather than demand-driven) nature of these training programs has tended to result in the proliferation of programs that provide highly technical training on concepts that are appropriate for the operation of large enterprises – e.g. sophisticated marketing techniques – but which have little to do with the common challenges facing small entrepreneurs.”
In this context, the 2012 brandhouse Pitch & Polish event is a ray of hope for small business owners. Half-workshop and half-competition, brandhouse Pitch & Polish is a pioneering entrepreneurial training project developed by the internationally recognised South African for-profit business incubator, Raizcorp.
Raizcorp’s ongoing involvement with hundreds of small and medium businesses nationally in providing entrepreneurial skills development, business support services, and hands-on mentoring and guiding has enabled them to identify a major skills gap for potential and existing small business owners – an inability to package and present their ideas convincingly to potential investors.
In their presentations to investors, entrepreneurs need to be able to articulate their business ideas clearly, provide reasoned assessments of their viability, convey the strengths of their plans, and demonstrate an awareness of how external factors may impact on business growth. To empower entrepreneurs to achieve these outcomes, Raizcorp developed the unique Pitch & Polish integrated workshop and competition programme.
First presented in 2010, the annual brandhouse Pitch & Polish competition has rapidly established itself as a highlight of the year for the small business community nationwide. One of the strengths of the Pitch & Polish format, as well as contributing to its popularity, is that the audience learns as much as the contestants – everyone leaves the event enriched.
The format of the workshop and competition is based on contestants pitching their businesses or business ideas to an audience who have been primed to act as investors and bankers. Throughout the workshop, the facilitator, in conjunction with the audience, works with the contestants to polish their pitches.
The process highlights the current inadequacies and gaps that contestants have in their pitches. Through a combination of the workshop, audience participation, and the facilitator’s probing, contestants develop the skills required to produce compelling, well-rounded pitches, which are then assessed and judged by a panel of experts.
The immense appeal of the format is not only due to its highly accessible edutainment structure, which reflects the massively popular style of various reality TV shows, such as Idols
. Another significant factor is the entrepreneurial mindset itself: by nature, entrepreneurs tend to be highly competitive. The co-operation of the event’s sponsors, Brandhouse Beverages and Engen Petroleum, allow Raizcorp to make a glitzy, high-stakes competition the centrepiece of the event.
To ensure that the event has the biggest impact possible in the smaller, often impoverished communities in which it is presented, participation in both the workshop and the competition is free. This allows small business owners from any educational or socioeconomic background to benefit from Raizcorp’s internationally recognised entrepreneurial training methodologies.