Entrepreneurship was celebrated this weekend in Buffalo City Metro at two separate events.
At the first event, a regional summit titled I Am An Entrepreneur, the focus was on small, medium and micro enterprise (SMME) owners.
The event gave budding entrepreneurs much-needed tools on how to stay ahead of their competitors, including how to present the perfect pitch to a potential investor, how to secure funding with banks and how to make social media work to their advantage.
Speakers at the East London International Convention Centre (ICC) included motivational speaker Justin Cohen, author of Pitch to Win, as well as strategic marketer Musa Kalenga, the founder of Bridge Labs.
Addressing the packed room full of business owners from across the Eastern Cape at the ICC, Cohen said although having a good product was essential, not pairing it with the perfect pitch could render it useless.
“Have you ever been convinced that you had the perfect product or service, then after delivering that pitch you waited for that e-mail then finally there in your Inbox were the beautiful words ‘we regret to inform you’. Or worse, they don’t even bother to let you know.
“I was there more times then I care to remember. I would go in, do what I thought was a great pitch only to lose it.
“After working my frustrations out in the gym I realised that clearly, it’s not only about having the best product – you’ve got to have the best pitch too.”
Kalenga advised business owners to make use of all that technology has to offer.
“There are a lot of brands that don’t even know what’s going on with their social media perspective, oblivious that people are talking about you and you don’t even know what’s being said,” he said.
The event was convened by First National Bank.
At the second event, held at the Osner Hotel, international business owner Tamiko Cuellar from the US, gave women tips on how to turn their talents into careers.
Cuellar, founder of Pursue Your Purpose and a member of the Forbes Coaching Council, is doing a national tour with her Own Your Brilliance master class.
Cuellar’s focus areas were shifting mindsets, profiting from purpose and developing multiple streams of income.
“I wanted to create a master class that was going to help with the problem of unemployment in South Africa. The statistic that I read said there was 28% unemployment and amongst the youth it is even higher at 50%, and that is unacceptable,” she said.
“One of the solutions I feel I can bring to South Africa, to East London in particular, is giving people the tools, particularly women, to start their own businesses so that they can not only create jobs for themselves but become sustainable businesses so they can employ others.”
The workshop was organised by owner and founder of Epitomely PRM, Sandiswa Mgolozeli.
Local businesswoman Yamkela Njingolo, owner of Yuanji Occasions and Developments, said the talks had helped her look at her business differently. – Additional reporting by Mbali Tanana