The LaunchLab Ideas Programme’s bi-annual Pitching Den is kicking off on participating Western Cape campuses: the University of the Western Cape; Stellenbosch University and the University of Cape Town.
The contest provides a platform for aspiring and emerging entrepreneurs to pitch their business ideas…and stand a chance of winning their share of R50,000.00.
The pitching kicked off at UWC (Business Innovation Centre, behind the Physics Building) and UCT on 14 April and runs until 16 April 2015, and then runs at Stellenbosch University from 21 – 23 April 2015 at the Nedbank Launchlab in Stellenbosch. The final judging event will be hosted at the Nedbank LaunchLab on 6 May 2015. The contest is open to all aspiring entrepreneurs, student and non-student alike – anyone with a savvy and innovative idea is welcome to pitch…and stand a chance to win.
“We want to create opportunities that expose bright entrepreneurial minds. LaunchLab’s Pitching Den is a great platform for aspiring and emerging entrepreneurs to test the viability of their business ideas and to gain access to a valuable entrepreneurial network,” says Philip Marais, the CEO of LaunchLab.
The pitching process works like this:
Participants sign up and enter a viable business idea by doing an informal pitch in front of a camera at one of the participating universities.
The entry videos are then filtered to choose the best ideas – the winning videos go through to the Final Pitching Den at the Nedbank Launch lab in Stellenbosch.
The final pitches are assessed by a panel of expert judges (experienced entrepreneurs, academics and representatives from the local investor community), who will provide feedback and choose the best ideas.
Entrepreneurs with winning ideas will win seed funding and incubation support services like mentorship and space.
Although any business idea can be pitched in the Pitching Den, the LaunchLab is putting out a personal challenge for aspiring entrepreneurs to pitch ideas in one or more of the LaunchLab’s new focus areas: Payments & Big Data, Paid Media, Clean Technology, Agricultural Technology and Education Technology.
This Pitching Den is a collaborative effort to promote entrepreneurship among their respective students, and their surrounding communities.
According to Charleen Duncan, the Director of the Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at UWC, this kind of university collaboration to drive student entrepreneurship is essential in order to make a positive contribution to economic development in South Africa. “At UWC, we understand the importance of being active participants in building the entrepreneurial ecosystem,” she notes. “This contest is an opportunity for us to spark entrepreneurship amongst our students and to actively create the next generation of job-creators.”
“When we take hands to jointly look after our emerging business leaders, we can achieve far more than pursuing smaller individual efforts and create much stronger networks and results,” adds Anita Nel, CEO of Innovus, the industry interaction and innovation company of Stellenbosch University. “Consequently, we will attract the best students and researchers to the Western Cape, supporting it to become an innovation region in which our own spin-off companies will flourish.”
Marcus Gowransky, the Secretary General of the Commerce Student Council at UCT, believes the Pitching Den provides a platform for students to further develop their careers and personal growth. “The Commerce Student Council values its partnership with LaunchLab,” he says. “The Pitching Den is an amazing opportunity for students at UCT to showcase their business ideas and to further develop their entrepreneurial skills.”
For more information on the LaunchLab Pitching Den or to sign up, visit www.launchlab.co.za/events or email SignUp@launchlab.co.za. Follow the LaunchLab on Twitter (@TheLaunchLab) and like the Facebook page (www.facebook.com/TheLaunchLab) to stay in touch with the latest news and updates and to read more about the companies in the LaunchLab.
Don’t miss this opportunity to make your business idea a reality – book your pitching slot today to stand a chance to be one of the winners!