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Enactus DUT (Durban University of Technology) recently hosted the Women Entrepreneurs Business Pitch 2020 online competition.

The online competition was open to all women business entrepreneurs of South Africa. The competition received 50 applications showcasing their innovative business ideas that aims to solve social, environmental and economic issues.

The programme was advertised on the Enactus DUT official social media platforms and participants were screened based on social, environmental and economic impact and qualifying ideas were invited to pitch to the judging panel of leading business women from various industries and companies via Microsoft Teams.

DUT’s Lana-Ann Brady, and Programme Director said the competition rationale for investing in women entrepreneurship gained support from various businesses, big and small, who came on board as panellists to adjudicate the competition as well as offer support services such as training and capacity building, skills development, market opportunities and mentorship.

Commenting further on the competition, Brady said that female entrepreneurship represents a vast untapped source of innovation, job creation and economic growth in South Africa.

“However, women entrepreneurs are more likely to cite access to finance as the barrier to developing their businesses. Enactus DUT launched the Women Entrepreneur’s Business Pitch competition with prize money of R10 000 for the winner to start her business,” she said.

She stressed that the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted gender-based violence with a disturbing spike in crimes against women and children.

“The biggest challenge facing abused women is their inability to leave the abusive relationship because they are financially dependent on the abuser. Enactus DUT saw this as an opportunity to coincide with Woman’s Day to promote entrepreneurship for women in an endeavour to create financial independence for women,” she said.

The winning pitch was presented by Welile Ndaba, a third-year student at DUT studying towards her National Diploma in Textile Technology. She presented a business that she started three months ago known as Picnic by Bliss.

It is a service business that hosts indoor and outdoor picnics using recycling materials for deco and designs. Due to the lockdown, the business gained momentum and experienced a high demand for indoor picnics since people were not allowed to move around.

Besides the winner receiving R10 000 from Enactus DUT, she will also obtain a designed website for her business which will be hosted for free for the year as well as a sponsored business mentorship programme from one of the judges.

“Winning this competition has been amazing, the best thing that has ever happened to me. Through this competition, I realised that you should never doubt yourself, if you believe in something, hold on to it until it comes alive. I would love to thank everyone that supported me since I started my business and those that have pushed me to apply. I would love to also thank Enactus DUT for affording me the opportunity to pitch my business, to Varsity Genie for the website and the mentorship support,” said Ndaba.

Brady congratulated the winner, and encouraged her to be confident in her new venture. She concluded by thanking all the sponsors for taking time out to judge the competition.

“I would like to thank each of our partners for sacrificing their public holiday to listen to the many pitches and especially for pledging their post-competition support. And to my team, I applaud you. You have made me proud once again in how you seamlessly pulled the competition off despite all the logistical challenges of the lockdown,” she said.

Pictured: Welile Ndaba is the winner of the Women Entrepreneurs Business Pitch 2020 Competition.

Waheeda Peters

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