By Strive Masiyiwa
__The clock is ticking… are you ready?
During the Transform Africa gathering in Kigali a few weeks ago, I took part in an event in which some really, really smart young entrepreneurs were pitching to a group of investors to take equity stakes in their businesses. The show was called Face the Gorillas. Each entrepreneur was given only about three minutes to make a “pitch” and then about 10 minutes to answer tough questions from the investors and to secure funding… right there and then!
Watching the event, I knew within one minute who would get money, and who would not. And in most cases, it had nothing to do with the quality of their venture.
I have been making “pitches” for finance for over 30 years. It is one of the core skills of an entrepreneur. You cannot delegate this, and no one can do it for you. If you’re going to do a venture, whether for profit or as a social enterprise, you must know how to make a pitch.
A few years ago, whilst traveling on business in the US, I came across a TV show called Shark Tank and became totally addicted to it. I have watched every episode that’s ever been shot, and sometimes several times!
I realized through this show that many entrepreneurs don’t know how to make a proper pitch to investors or banks, to provide them the capital they need. This is one of my inspirations for setting up the 24-hour entrepreneurial channel called Kwesé Inc.
# I told my team that they must go around the world and find content for Kwesé Inc so that entrepreneurs can see how “pitching” is done.
# We have spent millions of dollars ensuring that people across Africa can become immersed, day in and day out, in making pitches for capital.
Listen, it’s hard enough in Africa to raise capital, but opportunities will eventually come for you to get the attention of a financier (or banker) or even a venture capital investor. Increasingly, such people are taking an interest in Africa.
__When you get that opportunity to make a pitch, don’t mess it up by not knowing how to do it properly!
I’m so excited to tell you that Kwesé Inc has now recently started to show Shark Tank. It’s ONLY available on Kwesé Inc, and nowhere else in Africa for the next three years. It has already started showing.
There are other great programs which show how entrepreneurs make successful pitches for money, such as The Profit, Dragon’s Den, and so on. We’re also beginning to make shows specifically for African entrepreneurs, but how far we go depends on how much interest we get for the shows already on air.
On Kwesé Inc, we’re also developing a new concept whereby we’ll give an opportunity to entrepreneurs with an existing business or social enterprise to do a short three-minute video. We’ll then ask their peers on this platform to view them and “like” them, if they choose.
# The best will then be broadcast on Kwesé Inc, as a way to market (for free) those businesses across Africa, to millions of our viewers!
# This is also partly how we’ll choose the entrepreneurs who will come and spend time with me, as interns. We will be ready in a few months.
If you want to watch shows like Kwesé Inc, you can only do so with a Kwesé decoder, which can now be bought either online or through a dealer in your country. Go to the Kwese.com website to find out how!
Kwesé TV is now available in most English-speaking African countries, and we’re now beginning to work on French and Portuguese-speaking countries, too! We’ll keep you advised on progress.
For those of you who are entrepreneurs, I have done my bit when it comes to the subject of pitching to investors for money. You’ll find everything you need on those shows. Next year, we can discuss what you have learnt, and who knows… I might arrange for you to make a pitch to some investors.