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2021 Engen Pitch & Polish Top 8 revealed

The first round of the 2021 Engen Pitch & Polish competition, which is co-sponsored by Nedbank and powered by Raizcorp, has concluded. Of the 16 starting contestants, only eight will return in the second round of the competition which will see the winner walk away with a prize valued at R1m.
Andile Sasanti, the owner of Sasanti King
Andile Sasanti, the owner of Sasanti King

While eight of the contestants had to say goodbye, they were able to draw valuable lessons from the learning and individual mentorship they received from Raizcorp during their time on the programme.

Says Esmarie Venier of Resthill Memory Care, “It’s been incredible. I know how to polish my pitch and I learned an enormous amount from Silas [Raizcorp mentor], that you can’t just go on the fluffy stuff. You’ve got to go on the percentages and the rands and cents in order.” This sentiment was echoed by Nkosana Mtimkulu of South Western Dairy who remarks, “I know what to do to take my business forward. My guide Dave was awesome. I know exactly where my business will be in 12 months’ time.”

The eight contestants who go on to the second round come from three different provinces and represent a broad range of industries. They are:
  • Sydwell Sihlangu, the owner of Eco-Agro Enterprise, hails from Mpumalanga. Passionate about mushrooms, Sihlangu uses technology that enables lower-cost mushroom production as it uses less water and no electricity or fossil energy.

  • Bontle Tshole of Baaa Health is from Fourways, Gauteng. Baaa Health is on a mission to provide healthy, delicious fast-food alternatives to health-conscious consumers. Her products include juices, smoothies and energy balls.

  • Lynton Naicker owns DOPs Rewards and is based in Gauteng. DOPs is a gamified digital rewards programme that incentivises customers to purchase from and remain loyal to particular brands. It changes the way brands and their consumers interact with one another.

  • Andile Sasanti, the owner of Sasanti King, is from Soweto in Gauteng and he is driven to make South Africa healthier by manufacturing vegetable drinking yoghurts with flavours that include moringa and other indigenous herbs.

  • Ouma Tema from Pretoria, Gauteng is the owner of Plus-Fab, a fashion line for the fuller-figured woman. Her attire is aimed at modern, fashion-savvy women who want clothing that not only fits but that also embraces their curves.

  • Keletso Lekwakwe, the youngest contestant at just 22, is the owner of Password Kid and hails from Gauteng. His business offers innovative child-safety technology to parents and schools to prevent unauthorised people from abducting children during collection times at schools.

  • Partners Viljoen de Kock and Pieter du Plessis hail from the Western Cape and co-own GUDGU. This proudly South African company manufactures sugar-free cordials and syrups that don’t compromise on taste. Their products are also vegan, diabetic, keto and banting friendly.

  • Carla Botha, also from the Western Cape, owns Ace Consortium. As someone who is passionate about creating employment and developing skills, Botha’s business manufactures high-quality and affordable leather goods such as belts, wallets, bags and accessories.

These hungry entrepreneurs will continue to polish their pitches with the support of their individual Raizcorp business mentors as well as a special learning programme and, in the final round, will encounter an entrepreneurial curveball in the shape of a wildcard contestant.

Anyone can enter as the wildcard and have the opportunity to take on the two finalists for the first prize worth R1m.

All previous episodes of the 2021 ENGEN Pitch & Polish programme are also available to watch on the website.

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