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.

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 . . .

Case studies

Cava Sneakers is an ecommerce retailer that sources and sells sneakers that are not to be found in regular retail or brand-name stores. The exclusivity of their sneakers is what makes people come back. The business was launched during South Africa’s hard Covid-19 lockdown and within just six months had gained almost 40 000 followers on Facebook and Instagram.