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Grow by entering competitions

Cape Town offers many exciting and varied events and competitions for young people.   The big question is, “Why should young aspiring entrepreneurs actively look at entering competitions?”

Here are 7 reasons and brief stories, to illustrate the value of competitions.

  1. Participating in competitions offer many advantages over winning a prize. Perhaps the most profound is that of networking and linkages. Yandisa Langa, owner of Mountain enterprises has won a few competitions in his time. Yet one of his best business deals, came not from winning a prize, but rather from a company that attended the same event. They appreciated his expertise with tunnels, and asked him to relocate it for them. He did this with his normal passion and super attitude, and left behind a pleased client.
  2. Participating in competitions also provides a platform for honest, constructive and valuable feedback. Input from adjudicators, facilitators and fellow competitors, helped Kristal Kruzer and Keziah Hardenberg of Limitless Tuition to clarify and focus their offering to add serious value to others. They have been operating their exciting business for 10 months now. “As entrepreneurship is truly a lonely journey, it is peers who understand the rigors the most”
  3. Many of the entrepreneurial  competitions add substantial building blocks of learning.    Marshall Petersen of UR Home online entered a City event. The concentrated learning he and his team received, helped identify tools and strategies to focus and grow their growing and value adding business.
  4. Events like Pitch and Polish also provide a platform to quickly test the business concept and business  model. I first met up with  Avukonke and Anathi Mncono at the 2017 Cape Town leg of Pitch and Polish. They showcased their idea of smart travel luggage at the event (Smartie). They have attended quite a few more competitions since then, with iterations of their idea and clarifying their target market. They see 2019 as the year they will launch this innovative product.
  5. Events like the City of Cape Towns #YouthStart CT and our own internal Poster and Pitch competitions, offer local young people a fair opportunity to win substantial prizes of cash, product and/or support in their often lonely and scary journey. In June last year,  Nkosiyapha Msezane of Phaya Cycles, “rode off” with first prize for his business idea.  (Poster and Pitch 2018)He has subsequently gone on to launch this tourism friendly business in November last year.
  6. Budding entrepreneurs often struggle to connect with the marketplace, yet attending key events can open some weighty doors.    Andre Williams, owner of AW engineering, entered the rigorous SAB Kickstart.  His journey saw him reach the top ten, but also receive invaluable media and key market exposure.
  7. All entrepreneurs, whether they sell a product or service, need to hone the skill of pitching. They are, after all, constantly selling the value of their product/service.   Attending some competitions, where a pitching component is added, can seriously encourage confidence, communication and clarity. Marvin Hart, owner of Phoenix Irrigation, has used exposure from three different competitions to help hone a powerful and compelling business pitch.

Each competition, whilst similar, may also offer a different value add. For example, it may help young people to articulate their business idea; or it may be in a specific vertical , as within App development; it may also accelerate broad business learning and business think.


Here is a great competition, for young people to enter……

The YouthStartCT Challenge is an accelerator programme for start-up entrepreneurs, delivered in support of youth capacity building and job creation. The main aim is to encourage entrepreneurship and contribute to skills development and innovation in Cape Town.

The competition is open to Capetonians aged between 18 and 35. Individuals are given the opportunity to focus on a specific challenge and develop innovative business ideas that will benefit their community.  See www.capetown.gov.za/youthstart .

Here’s to many more young people starting their entrepreneurial journey!


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