Ekasi’s Auspicious Start

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Business pitch event

The first half of most days in the TSiBA Ignition Centre(IC), Cindy Krawe’s chair is empty. To further TSiBA’s mission to “Ignite Opportunity,” Cindy goes to the Khayelitsha community each morning to teach business strategies to a class full of aspiring entrepreneurs. On the 11th of October, the other cohorts of the IC team visited Khayelitsha to hear her class pitch business plan proposals.

Cindy’s class, Ekasi Entrepreneurs, prepared fifteen minute presentations to inform and persuade their audience to invest in their respective start-ups. The smartly dressed entrepreneurs pitched ideas for ventures that were innovative and sought to fill a need in their local market. Proposals included ideas for cleaning services, party planning and hosting, fashion designs, marketing, and technology firms.

After each pitch, the presenters had five minutes to answer questions and defend their venture. With confidence and ease, many of the entrepreneurs successfully established their credibility by elaborating on their research of the industry and prospective consumers. While the pitches were a first draft for the majority of the class, the students demonstrated maturity and thoughtfulness in the development of their enterprise.

The future looks promising for the Ekasi students and the growth of the programme in Khayelitsha. TSiBA IC hopes for sequential events to increase the scale of the platform and size of the entrepreneurs’ audience, exposing the local community to creative ideas and the entrepreneurs to new stakeholders and resources. Also, the Ekasi programme provides a great opportunity for future participation of the Northeastern University/TSiBA partnership and projects in social entrepreneurship. Other areas of growth in Ekasi include the establishment of an elevator pitch incentive. This would reward and challenge entrepreneurs to quickly present venture ideas with increased clarity and more in-depth development of their business model.

Written by: Lindsey Ricker, TSiBA Ignition Centre Intern

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