Fifteen selected South African entrepreneurs pitched at the British Telecom (BT) Global Services International Trade Program (ITP) Bootcamp on Thursday, February 14, in preparation for the United Kingdom (UK) pitches in April 2013.
The startups were all given five minute opportunities to present as they introduced their business plans, revenue goals and progress, as well as motivate their UK ambitions.
The audience and appointed judges asked questions to challenge the contestants further.
InnoVartis Tech Systems, an African game software development business, Ocule IT, an online health system via cloud computing company, and Bytecode Consulting, developing mobile applications, were some of the businesses present.
Judi Sandrock, Chief Executive and Co-founder of Micro Enterprise Development Organisation (MEDO), told HumanIPO that the programme had received more than 100 applications.
The 15 businesses who presented on Thursday, as representative of 18 entrepreneurs, were selected from a group of 35 that went through a round of interviews.
Courtesy of airline Kulula, entrepreneurs were flown to Cape Town for a week’s training programme at the University of Stellenbosch Business School in Bellville, which ended with a presentation event.br />
The candidates were judged on their performance in presentations and will pitch again on February 27 in Johannesburg for a chance to continue to the next round where fifteen candidates will participate in a programme at Cambridge University and pitch to UK investors.
Successful entrepreneurs will be announced on February 28, and travel to the UK in April.
“So we come here to take part in the program, give the guys some of our advice and help us to understand how we develop the program for them in Cambridge in England in two months time,” Professor Lester Lloyd-Reason, Professor of International Enterprise Strategy Director, Centre for Enterprise Development & Research (CEDAR), explained to HumanIPO.
“The programme has been really good and very interesting. It is all working towards really partnering up by helping these guys. Partnering with what they do, understanding the entrepreneurial world, to understand the cultural difference between the entrepreneurial worlds in Cambridge, the UK and so on,” he added about the week’s experience.
He views the entrepreneurs as “young South Africans, they are young guys coming with a business idea”.
Hosted by MEDO, the programme was sponsored by BT Global Services, who joined the initiative a year ago.
“We changed our mindset and said rather than just approach it from a compliance perspective, let’s change the word to contribution,” said Keith Matthews, General Manager Sub Saharan Africa at BT Global Services.