[8:26 AM] Kassandra Sass

Pitch Lessons

At ENGEN Pitch & Polish, we’re all about sharing the pitching knowledge so that our audience has the chance to work on polishing their own business pitches. Some of the most valuable lessons come from our contestants’ pitches and the questions that the judges ask them.

We’ve put together a series of case studies so that you can learn from the gruelling pitching process experienced by our contestants, and use these lessons to polish your own pitch to an investor or financier. We hope you find this free public resource valuable in your entrepreneurial journey.

What do the judges look for?

During each round, the ENGEN Pitch & Polish judges use a rubric to help them score each pitch based on almost 20 aspects. Some aspects are weighted higher than others, and the final score is based on both the pitch itself and the answers to the judges’ clarifying questions. The aspects considered by the judges can be roughly broken down into four categories:

        1. Presentation skills

        2. Quality of the content

        3. How will the contestant use the R650 000 prize (the investment or funding)?

        4. Will the proposed use of the R650 000 (investment or funding) scale the business?

How to use the case studies

First watch the video of the pitch which also includes the judges’ clarifying questions and the contestants’ responses. Then read through “What did we hear in the pitch?” and “Judges’ clarifying questions and responses” for more detail on what the judges were listening out for and trying to understand in order to determine whether or not the pitch was strong and believable.

Often, an entrepreneur’s strong oratory skills may mask the fact that there is a flaw in the pitch’s logical construct or a lack of true understanding about the business. This would mean that any investment in the business would likely prove ineffective in scaling it.

Discussion questions

If you are a teacher or lecturer teaching entrepreneurship or presentation skills, we have included a list of useful discussion questions which are also available as a downloadable worksheet.

Additional resources

At the end of each case study, we’ve provided additional resources for further reading, listening and learning about the concepts covered which you can use to hone your own pitch.

So, what did the contestants get right? What did they get wrong? Let’s share some of the lessons . . .

2021 Case studies

Cava Sneakers is an ecommerce retailer. We search for and retail Sneakers not found in any retail store, not under any well known brand and we sell directly off our website.  The exclusivity of our sneakers is what keeps people coming back. We launched during the South African lockdown and within 6 months, we were on just under 40k followers across FB & Insta.

Sasanti King produces the Well ‘N Well range of vegetable drinking yogurts which include flavours such as moringa, beetroot and carrot. The business is a member of Proudly South African, and has recently been approved by Diabetes South Africa.

Resthill Memory Care is a residential home, focusing on specialised care of residents with memory-impacting conditions such as, Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Our homes are designed to provide a safe, yet homely structured environment. Specialised caregiving by a well-trained team to deal with unique behaviour and anxiety is core to creating personalised routines that lower anxiety and reduce confusion. Small pets are most welcome. Resthill Memory Care is safe, tranquil country living on a 3ha property, centrally situated between Lanseria Airport, Centurion and Fourways.

DOPs is an instant gratification gamified digital rewards platform that incentivises a customer to purchase and ensures continual loyalty to a brand. Customers are incentivised based on the unique customer profile and spend behavioural patterns. DOPS mines key customer demographics (age, gender, identity of the customer) and spend behaviours (when they buy, why they buy and what they buy and how we can get them to buy more product) as well as receptiveness of a particular brand. Giving each purchase a customer identity and incentivising each customer to buy more. 

South Western Dairy is a father and son owned milk-processing business. Nkosana Mtimkulu and his father purchase raw milk from South African dairy farmers and add value by producing dairy products such as pasteurised fresh milk, maas, dairy blends, yoghurts and juices. Their products are branded, labelled and distributed to market. Bottled house-brands for retailers also form part of their offering. South Western Dairy’s purpose is to revitalise the South African dairy industry by allowing small-, emerging- and medium-sized dairy farmers to participate in the milk industry. 

Plus-Fab is a fashion line for fuller figured women. Inspired by the story of iconic South African women such as Saartjie Baartman, who were always shunned and even ostracized because their physical stature did not conform with the “norm”, Plus-Fab continue to take fashion industry by storm. Plus-Fab is geared towards the fashion savvy, modern day plus size woman who is looking for clothes that not only fits but accentuate her curves.

Sydwell owns Eco-Agro Enterprise, a mushroom production and distribution company. His innovation is the African Hut Mushroom Dome which is a structure that provides a micro-climate that enables mushroom production at a lower cost compared to the conventional commercial mushroom production structures. The project’s key objectives are to generate income, create employment for the youth, and address malnutrition, food, and protein insecurity.