Three women ace the 10th Engen Pitch and Polish

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Three women with the gift of the gab from across the country were finalists at the 10th Engen Pitch and Polish. From the left are Natasha Warries (third place); Mashela Mokgabudi (first place) and Kedibone Tsiloane from the Free State (second place).

The finalists of the 10th Engen Pitch and Polish are three amazing women who have the desire to develop their business skills and make an impact on society at the same time. The competition takes place across the country and sees entrepreneurs from each workshop region pitching their business to the audience, using the skills they learn on the day.
Impressive business pitches enabled contestants to progress through a series of rounds before the top three were selected to give their final pitch last week. Kedibone Tsiloane, who was the Free State winner at the regional workshop in Bloemfontein, was awarded second place at the finals last week. This was for a pitch about PlastiBrick, an environmentally sustainable solution to plastic pollution and housing.
“As a construction company we started looking into alternative building material and discovered plastic bricks. Plastic pollution has become a real problem and we see ourselves as a solution to that problem by not only cleaning the environment but also providing a solution for housing internationally,” said Sasolburg-based Tsiloane.
The contestants delivered strong pitches and impressed judges Allon Raiz, the founder of Raizcorp, Khalid Latiff, the head of corporate strategy and communication for Engen and Alan Shannon, the executive for professional and small business banking at Nedbank. “She delivered a confident pitch and impressed the judges with her environmentally-friendly product and her knowledge of all its specifications,” said Raiz.
Mashela Mokgabudi of Polokwane, winner of the 10th Engen Pitch and Polish, was awarded R60 000 in cash as well as R20 000 advertising campaign with Caxton Local Media. Tsiloane was awarded R30 000 for second place while Natasha Warries, in third place, was awarded R15 000.
All three women delivered fantastic pitches but Mokgabudi stood out for the story behind her menstrual cup manufacturing company. “Like five million other girls in South Africa, and more than half a billion girls in Africa, I had to go through the same dilemma of starting my period without having the means to manage it,” she expressed.
“I could choose to stay away from school or resort to using anything I could get my hands on, and I chose the latter… but I told my friends that one day I am going to change this narrative,” added Mokgabudi.
Warries, who manufactures and distributes a forecourt cleaner to filling stations, impressed the judges with her storytelling ability and her passion. She expressed that the workshop is an opportunity to accomplish business as well as personal goals. “The biggest accomplishment I am proud of is standing up on the stage and getting over that fear. I have learned so much through this whole process,” said Warries. – Nomaqhawe Mtebele
nomaqhawe@mahareng.co.za