The winner of the ENGEN Pitch & Polish Durban event on Saturday, September 10, Rishav Juglall from Umhlanga, will be heading to Round 2 in Johannesburg.

The event, which hosted over 500 ambitious and driven entrepreneurs, was hosted by Engen Petroleum, Nedbank, Raizcorp and SAfm as well as national partner, the Youth Chamber of Commerce and Industry and local partners, the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry, NYDA, SEDA and SmartSpace.

The event, held at the Olive Convention Centre, had a concert-like feel with a massive screen streaming the event in a larger-than-life format for all to see.

The workshop was facilitated by training specialists, Yasmeen Alli from Raizcorp and Brett Saks.

Each participant was asked to emulate an investor or bank manager, instantaneously transforming his or her mental process from a money-seeker to a money-lender. The specialists explained the difference between a business owner and an entrepreneur – the former focuses on security and their expertise or skills and the latter takes risks and seeks opportunities across multiple markets.

The workshop sections of the day provided an interactive and educational environment where all delegates learnt how to create a well-structured business pitch. “Consumers buy solutions,” emphasised Yasmeen Alli.

Mastering a polished pitch affords entrepreneurs the opportunity to present their solution anytime, anywhere to anyone. The pillars of a well-structured business pitch include establishing your credibility and experience, explaining your product or service succinctly, clearly identifying your target market and knowing how much money need, how it will be spent and explaining what is in it for the investors.

The five contestants of the day – Nkosinathi Mdunge, Sbusiso Masondo, Rishav Juglall and the Wild Card contestants chosen on the day, Dumani Majola and Ray McLellan – presented their final three-minute pitch to the judges and audience.

Judges Riaz Kajee, the sourcing and contracts manager from Engen, Melanie Reddy, regional manager for Relationship Banking from Nedbank and Alta Keyter, marketing and communication manager from the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry, asked the five entrepreneurs clarifying questions and gave them valuable feedback.

“Being prepared and passionate set the winner apart today. The audience feedback definitely played a large role in shaping and teaching,” commented Kajee.

“Pitch & Polish is a great concept as the progression and transformation of the individuals is tremendous. The programme fosters the entrepreneurial spirit and the growth shown over one day was phenomenal,” added Reddy.

Alta Keyter from Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry concluded: “The partnership between the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Pitch & Polish is a collaboration that lives beyond the day and is one we truly value. I was particularly fascinated how the audience pushed the entrepreneurs to improve and grow. Today broke many records in Durban, for a rainy day the turnout was massive, plus most of the delegates stayed until the end – which is unusual for Durbanites!”