Photo: Previous winner Antonio Cicione, founder of BiACi toothbrush, with PitchIN Stellenbosch co-founders Matt Pretorius, Justin Groep and Justus Luttig I Source: blogs.sun.ac.za
With the slogan “for the students, by the students” the initiative focuses on cultivating a culture of innovative and entrepreneurial thinking on South African university campuses.
The aim is to host monthly “dynamic” pitching events to encourage students to pitch their businesses with prize money at stake as well as valuable critical feedback, Matt Pretorius, co-founder of PitchIN, told HumanIPO.
The March event will take place in the Neelsie student centre on the Stellenbosch University Campus in the Pulp Cinema theatre in Stellenbosch at 5pm tonight, (Friday).
Maintaining an informal, relaxed atmosphere the event is “very entertaining,” Pretorius explained.
According to Pretorius, it is independent but, has however gained extensive support from Stellenbosch University in terms of funding and other essential assistance.
The event will expand to other campuses soon, starting with Rhodes University, in Grahamstown, and the University of Cape Town (UCT) in April.
Universities in the province of Gauteng like the University of Witwatersrand (WITS) are next on the list of PitchIN launches.
According to Pretorius, PitchIN will connect with similar events at the University of Western Cape (UWC) and UCT to partner with them under the same initiative.
The project was started in October 2012, by Maties (students at Stellenbosch University) Pretorius, Justus Groep, and Justin Luttig.
Speaking to HumanIPO, Pretorius said the three students felt “you learn a lot at varsity but do not have enough experience and advantage for entrepreneurial experience…you need to do something more”.
Although Pretorius agrees there are many similar events, he feels that PitchIN’s difference lies in its catering for students.
“I believe every student should have at least one to two businesses running on the sideline,” he said, emphasising every person has entrepreneurial potential.
Open for any kind of business, including tech startups, PitchIN is also opening its doors to school students and the young working zone.
In June, PitchIN will approach schools to get matric students more involved in the program.
The event focuses on providing a platform for pitching an idea rather than a business model as is required at the majority of pitching events “to grow students into entrepreneurs”.
Apart from a contribution to funding, the founders also offer winners business assistance in developing the idea further for the market at a marginal percentage of profit share once the business starts growing.
Pretorius also deems the event a good opportunity for networking purposes “to widen perspective”, as students from all faculties attend.
Negotiations with other institutions, such as government institution Small Enterprise Development Agency (SEDA) and the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) are underway to assist students further in developing business ideas as entrepreneurs.
Furthermore, plans for international sponsors and bigger events, are also in the pipeline.
The next PitchIN event will take place on April 26, where the South African Innovation network from Johannesburg will be present.