Picture: Screenshot
Picture: Screenshot

BOOSTUP Pitch Battle aims to strengthen entrepreneurial skills, showcase rising startups

By Floyd Matlala Time of article published Oct 2, 2020

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Johannesburg - As innovators met for their final day of the South African Innovation Summit (SAIS) event which took place over three days from 30th of September to 2nd of October, 16 tech creators from the SADC region battled out in SAIS’ BOOSTUP pitch competition which saw them win the hearts of the judges and investors, while also walking away with various prizes.

Through SAIS platform, which seeks to guide and help startup businesses make their mark in the global tech space, African tech startups companies looks to leverage on the BOOSTUP battle programme which strives to support early-stage start-ups using technology to solve societal challenges in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zambia by training entrepreneurs pitching and business skills that they can use to get their start-ups to the next level.

Violet Chepape, who runs the SAIS BOOSTUP project, said the aim of the programme is to strengthen participants’ entrepreneurial skills to help them to become more investment-ready and able to scale up.

“The BOOST UP South Africa team wanted to grasp the opportunity to let the South African startups participating in the programme to showcase their pitching skills in an engaging way as well as gain exposure in Africa's largest startup event, SA Innovation Summit. That's why the BOOST UP Pitch Battle was created”, she said.

“With this year’s pitch battle happening online, it will not only boost the startups' digital skills but also improve their collaboration and creative problem-solving skills, which are increasingly important in the changing corporate space” she added.

Although all 16 participants which included Zoomed Analytics, Hydro-IT, Oplene Group, Trezzeract, Phoenix, 94 Innovations, Langa Invention, Nubian Smarts, SOG Water Solutions, Uku’hamba (Pty) Ltd, Homepower, MALII, Seed to a Flower, Mzansi Connect Technologies and Learn Base, had set their eyes on the prize, only two participants will go head to head in public’s choice to win the hearts of the audience and walk away with various prizes.

Investors who look at investing in some of the participating startups stated the pointers which will draw their attention and make them want to put their money in these promising entrepreneurs.

Co-founder of Dazzle Angles Alexandra Fraser who is one the investors said her focus on these pitches is on what the entrepreneur is avoiding rather than what they are disclosing.

“Entrepreneurs must be able to adapt to the circumstances as often in a live pitch environment things change and this will tell me if the entrepreneur will be able to adjust and demonstrate entrepreneurial resilience if it happens that they experience any technical glitches”, she said.

Africa Trust Principal Lelembe Phiri said these entrepreneurs must be clear on the problems they are aiming to solve with their innovations and how they are planning to solve them.

“We live in Africa and as entrepreneurs we want to solve a lot of problems but one needs to have a unique focus on the issues they want to solve as what they are pitching the other person could easily imitate and that will make their idea less attractive to investors,” she added.

The first round which had a panel of five judges went live at 12:30 pm as participants went head to head to impress a panel of judges. These early stage startups battled out as they pitched their unique creations eliminating other competitors to proceed to the second round.The judges have scored the startups on the uniqueness of the problem and solution in round 1 and in round 2 the judges have scored the semi-finalists on their financial readiness.

The startup which will be announced the winner will further be enrolled in a Company Building Mentorship Programme after the Boot Camp for a duration of 3 months, including possible incubation in some of the programmes offered by the South African based Connected Hubs of the SAIS programme.


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