The Engen Pitch and Polish Competition has been running for 10 years and has benefited many SMMEs with much-needed entrepreneurship training. Contestants are trained on how to pitch their business ideas and the annual competition is a partnership between Engen, Nedbank and Raizcorp. This year, the competition went digital and the winners were the owners of Gudgu, which produces sugar and sugar-free cordials that are alcohol-free. They walked away with R1-million in prizes.
Gudgu, which is an Afrikaans acronym for Goedheid Uit Die Grond Uit that translates into goodness from the Earth, is a Cape-Town based company owned by Pieter Du Plessis and Viljoen de Kock. The prize will be split into two. A total of R650,000 in cash will be paid out over two years, and R350,000 will be set aside for a full two-year incubation programme with Raizcorp. which is a business development service. Gudgu was selected from 16 participants who underwent three competition sessions that also included mentoring and learning workshops.
The runner-up, Gomolemo Motshwane of Urban Mobility walked away with R100,000 in cash, and fashion designer Ouma Tema of Plus Fab, was awarded R50,000. The number of participants was cut down to three finalists, who were given an opportunity to pitch their final business ideas in front of a panel of judges. Du Plessis described the win as is a massive achievement and milestone for the company and its founders.
“Engen Pitch & Polish has changed our lives forever,” he said. “We are grateful for the incubation opportunity and are hungry for knowledge and guidance on how to make Gudgu a very successful, fail-proof business, starting with finances.” Engen’s Transformation and Stakeholder Engagement Manager Unathi Njokweni-Magida said that supporting SMMEs was crucial to boosting the economy.
“To grow and sustain our economic recovery, we have to support small businesses because for every job created, an average of five people can escape poverty and gain access to education which is key for building an equitable and inclusive country,” she said. “Engen believes that growing and nurturing business skills for emerging entrepreneurs in South Africa will boost employment, improve education levels and help alleviate poverty.” Njokweni-Magida also said Covid-19 had devastated the economy and called on corporate South Africa to increase its support for emerging entrepreneurs.