SA Small Business Wins Big in Business Pitching Competition



Capetonians Pieter du Plessis and Viljoen de Kock, from GUDGU, manufacturers of sugar-free cordials have won big in South African’s biggest online pitching competition, winning R1 million in prizes – a sweet boost for their business.


The GUDGU owners will receive R650 000 in cash paid out over two years as they achieve the business milestones laid out in their pitch, and a bursary of R350 000 for a full two-year Raizcorp incubation programme as part of this year’s ENGEN Pitch & Polish Competition.


“This has changed our lives forever. We are so grateful to Engen, Nedbank and Raizcorp for the cash prizes and incubation opportunity. We are hungry for knowledge and guidance on how to make GUDGU a successful and fail-proof business,” says Pieter.


Runner up winner, this year’s wildcard contestant Gomolemo Motshwane, from Urban Mobility, takes home R100 000 in cash and second runner-up Ouma Tema of Plus-Fab gave it her all and won R50 000.


This year, South Africa’s entrepreneurial pitching competition and workshop programme, hosted in partnership with Engen, Nedbank and Raizcorp, came back with an all-new digital format and a staggering first prize worth R1 million in a post-COVID approach.


The ENGEN Pitch & Polish programme is a blend of competition, mentoring and learning. While contestants compete for the ultimate prize, the programme’s main aim is to impart entrepreneurial skills and knowledge – both to the contestants and to viewers as they learned alongside the 16 starting contestants.


Over three rounds of competition, the initial 16 contestants were whittled down to the final two. The competition has never been easy and this year the judges took it to a whole new level. Nkosincane Sithebe from ENGEN, Monique Chinnah from Nedbank and Allon Raiz from Raizcorp were tough on entrants – seeking out the best entrepreneurial talent.


A long time was spent in deliberation as the judges painstakingly went over the finalists’ financial and other documents,


Ultimately, though, it was Capetonians Pieter du Plessis and Viljoen de Kock who pitched their way to win.


Says Unathi Njokweni-Magida, Transformation and Stakeholder Engagement Manager at Engen, “ENGEN believes that 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 business leaders, to help propel them forward so that they are able to create jobs in the future. Given the wide commercial devastation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, it is imperative that corporate South Africa should consider increasing their support of emerging entrepreneurs during this critical time. To grow and sustain our economic recovery we have to support small businesses because for every job created, an average of five people can escape poverty and gain access to education, which is key for building an equitable and inclusive country,”


Monique Chinnah, Senior Manager of Segment Design and Development at Nedbank agrees. “It has been an absolute privilege for Nedbank to be a part of the programme again this year. We believe in going beyond just being financially invested – we are emotionally invested and want to contribute to the real growth of entrepreneurs. Pitch & Polish affords us this. On this journey, we have met the most inspiring entrepreneurs, who against every odd and especially over the past three months, have continued to strive for success and relevance. We encourage business owners to authentically consider how your offer stacks up on the market. There is a blueprint to running a business but bring your own uniqueness and wiring to the table, be brave to listen and eyeball your business to conquer differently.”


Says Allon Raiz, CEO of Raizcorp, “Covid-19 encouraged us to pivot our approach in this year’s competition. Taking it to a digital platform has allowed us to grow our entrepreneur reach from eight cities and small towns a year to the whole of South Africa. The viewer reach and engagement has been beyond our wildest expectations. We were hoping for viewing figures in the tens of thousands but, across our various platforms, we have actually had well in excess of two million.”