Supporting budding entrepreneurs in South Africa
For Diageo, it makes good business sense to invest in people who will make a difference in the communities in which we operate. On a personal level, we enjoy sharing our skills and experience with people who share our entrepreneurial outlook.
Our South African joint venture, brandhouse, has invested in a grassroots national entrepreneurship competition called Pitch and Polish for the second year running.
Contestants undergo intensive enterprise development training that shows them how to turn a business idea into a business success. They are judged not only on the strength of their idea, but how they present it – their tone and clarity of voice, their ability to engage the audience, and numerous other nuances that ‘polish’ the pitch.
With an unemployment rate of almost 25%, South Africa has one of the highest jobless rates in the world. Job creation is therefore a priority for the government, and it has asked business leaders to help. Brandhouse Managing Director, Gerald Mahinda, believes job creation in South Africa will come from entrepreneurs who start up SMEs. ‘This is why we are supporting the programme,’ he says. ‘Entrepreneurs are the economic future of this country.’
However, a lack of management, marketing and finance skills, and limited or no access to finance, can cut off this vital source of growth from the outset. So the Pitch and Polish competition gives would-be entrepreneurs the access, support and mentorship they need to succeed.
The winner of Pitch and Polish 2010, Ntombenhle Khathwane, says: ‘The business ideas presented in 2010 were so varied that it really shows what a great place South Africa is for entrepreneurs; there are so many opportunities. Every single contestant came out a better entrepreneur, and with a better idea of how to take their business aspirations forward.’
For more information, please visit www.pitchandpolish.com.