Two entrepreneurs are in the running to win R15 million to invest in their startups and have won an all-expenses paid trip to Rwanda to represent South Africa in this month’s Get in the Ring Africa finals.
Shalton Mothwa, owner of Epoch Microchip, and Justin Coetzee of GoMetro will compete against other African entrepreneurs on September 18.
The Get in the Ring South Africa challenge, a business pitching competition, forms part of the Global Entrepreneurship franchise that hosts the annual Global Entrepreneurship Week each year in November.
The South African finals took place in Cape Town and Johannesburg in July and saw entrepreneurs face off on topics such as achievements, financials and investment propositions.
The challenge culminated in a “freestyle pitch” where the entrepreneurs were able to impress judges and validate why they should win.
Hosted by startup initiative Silicon Cape, the competition was open to startups under five-years old from all business sectors.
Coetzee, fought off 80 contestants to be selected as the Cape Town winner.
His business GoMetro is a Cape Town-based social network for transport users. GoMetro’s app connects users to transport operators for communication on any changes or delays in public transport schedules. He has launched a similar app, Go Gauteng, in Gauteng.
Says Coetzee: “Besides having a shot at a R15 million investment, going up against other strong startup companies and coming out on top was also a highlight for us. It (winning) validated our initial vision and traction.”
He believes GoMetro came tops because the startup was one of the few participating companies with a product that had the potential to reach millions of people in hundreds of cities around the world.
Coetzee says the pitching format of the competition was very helpful and beneficial.
“Not only does it help you to keep your delivery simple and to the point, but I have also been able to secure and follow-up on a number of business leads with people I met in the audience.”
Mothwa meanwhile beat more than 100 contestants to be crowned the Johannesburg winner of the competition.
Mothwa’s Epoch Microchips specialises in long-range wireless charging for electronic devices through the use of ambient radio waves. He believes the business won because of its technologically innovative idea that addresses the current global problem in both consumer electronics and sustainable energy.
“I was also clear and articulate during the pitching battles, everything was said within the allocated time of 30 seconds.”
Mothwa says winning the local competition has boosted his team’s morale.
“I am more confident and calmer when pitching for business or talking to potential investors because of my experience in the competition. It has also opened up doors for us with the City of Tshwane.
After word got out of Epoch winning the Joburg leg of the competition we got an immediate positive response from the City of Tshwane.”
He says focus is the most important element when preparing for a pitching competition.
“Get different people involved. For example, market research and financials should be done by separate people. Then get a business analyst in to see if this makes business sense.”
The winner of the African final will join their international counterparts in Rotterdam on November 21 to compete for investment funding up to $1 000 000 (R15 000 000). The next Get in the Ring South Africa challenge will run from July next year.