Anticipation was palpable as the finals kicked-off for Engen Pitch and Polish 2017 where finalists were given their last chance to pitch their business idea.
Hosted at The Venue in Melrose Arch, Johannesburg on 30 November, supporters gathered to cheer on the finalists: Renschia Manuel from Cape Town, Bruce Diale from Polokwane and Refilwe Matsaneng from Bloemfontein.
Now in its eighth year, sponsored by Engen Petroleum, in association with Nedbank, Raizcorp and media partner, Caxton Local Media, Engen Pitch and Polish searches for the country’s entrepreneurs, brave enough to pitch, fail, receive feedback and start again – all in the hope that their perfect business pitch attracts further funding and growth.
Brainchild, Allon Raiz, chief executive officer of Raizcorp, saw a need to develop small business owners through priceless knowledge and business wisdom. Raiz advised, “As investors, we need to know that as an investee you are able to listen to critique and advice.”
Over the three-month-long programme, each finalist had to win over the judges to progress to the next stage. Each had three minutes to pitch their idea while ensuring to cover all aspects such as why, funding, competition and future expansion. Judges asked a round of difficult but essential questions to establish who better polished their pitch.
Matsaneng who created an all-natural hair product said they are hoping to reach out to other target markets such as men and children. Renschia, who has created a home-grown vegetable growing box, spoke about her humble beginnings and how that inspired her to take her future into her own hands. The third finalist, Diale, designed a structure that allows for vegetables to be grown above ground, said, “Food security is a number one issue in our country; I’m fighting to make sure it becomes a reality.”
In the end, only one could win, although the competition is less about the finals and more about helping individuals who may just have an idea, grow infinitely. Facilitator for the evening, Justin Cohen, capped it off well, “These stories are meant to inspire and marvel young entrepreneurs.”
Renschia was placed third, with Matsaneng second, leaving Diale the privilege of grabbing first place with his company, Brucol Global Development.
An elated Diale said, “I am very humbled, excited and happy. I will use the prizes to get a better office, a better website and make a better product.”
Already Diale helps multiple non-profits while he grows his business by utilising the beneficiaries to promote his product.
Among the enormous cash prizes from Engen and Nedbank, Diale received a R20 000 advertising campaign from Caxton Local Media.