April 17, 2024

Nedbank the new title sponsor of the Pitch & Polish competition

3 min read

The 14th season of South Africa’s biggest pitching competition, Pitch & Polish, promises to be another nail-biting instalment. While the programme will follow the same winning formula as last year, where contestants engaged in a gripping battle of business pitches as they competed for the ultimate prize, there will be a notable change: a new title sponsor has come on board.

Previous co-sponsor of Pitch & Polish and a long-time supporter of small businesses, Nedbank, has stepped up its commitment to growing the entrepreneurial landscape in South Africa by becoming the title sponsor for 2024. The competition is now known as Nedbank Pitch & Polish.

“The role of entrepreneurship is critical in any country, particularly in a developing economy such as South Africa’s,” explains Alan Shannon, executive of Sales Strategy and Enablement in Retail and Business Banking at Nedbank. “Given South Africa’s high unemployment rate, diversification of the economy is key to job creation. To realise this, we need an environment that promotes and enables entrepreneurship and supports entrepreneurs to bring their ideas to life.

“At Nedbank, we strive to create opportunities for entrepreneurs to share their ideas, gain critical skills and have access to funding. In this way, we enable economic growth. Pitch & Polish is a critical role-player in the stimulation of the economy, as it provides entrepreneurs with sought-after opportunities to pitch ideas that can change lives and sustain them.”

In 2024, the Pitch & Polish competition will once again offer contestants a structured learning programme that will help them hone their investment pitching skills and boost their likelihood of receiving funding for their businesses. Each entrepreneur will be matched with an experienced business mentor from Africa’s leading incubator Raizcorp, which will work with them on strategy, finance, sales and marketing as well as their personal development so that even those contestants who don’t win one of the prizes will walk away with valuable knowledge that gives them a higher probability of growing successful, sustainable businesses.

It’s not just the contestants themselves who are impacted by Pitch & Polish. The viewers at home, too – many of them aspiring entrepreneurs – learn alongside the contestants, and it’s this secondary impact that plays a crucial role in boosting the entrepreneurial ecosystem in South Africa. With last year’s episode views exceeding 4 million (up from 3.2 million in 2022), it’s clear that there’s a growing market for the competition.

“At Raizcorp, we believe South African entrepreneurs display a level of ingenuity and resilience that deserves to be nurtured and developed – Pitch & Polish is one of the ways we do this. In its 14 years, Pitch & Polish has added value to hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs at all stages of their journey,” says Raizcorp CEO, Allon Raiz.

The 1st prize is worth an impressive R1 million, consisting of R650 000 in cash and a bursary worth R350 000 for a full two-year Raizcorp business development programme. The runner-up walks away with R100 000 in cash and the 3rd prize is R50 000 in cash. Over the past 14 years, Pitch & Polish has directly supported more than 11 000 entrepreneurs along their journey to becoming successful, thriving cogs in the economic wheel.

“At Nedbank, our purpose is to use our financial expertise to do good for businesses. Pitch & Polish provides us with an opportunity to live this purpose by stimulating the entrepreneurial spirit in young South Africans to use entrepreneurship as a vehicle to help improve our socio-economic reality. We are proud to be the main sponsor to an initiative that promotes a culture of entrepreneurship and seizes opportunities to make a real, impactful change in South Africa’s economy,” adds Shannon.

Like last year, Nedbank Pitch & Polish will be a fully online programme. Weekly pre-recorded episodes will be released on Facebook, YouTube and the Pitch & Polish website between August and November.

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