And The Winner For Firstwatch Entrepreneurs Challenge Is… A start-up business owner's dreams have come true as she walks away with R50 000 support for her business.

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Firstwatch Entrepreneurs Challenge

The Firstwatch Entrepreneurs Challenge final round took place this weekend at Disoufeng Pub in Soweto. The chosen top ten candidates had five minutes to pitch their business ideas "Shark Tank Style' in front of an audience as well as a panel of influential judges.

The panel of judges included:

  • Tilldan Bungani (Brand Manager of Firstwatch Whisky)
  • Marnus Broodryk (CEO of Beancounter)
  • Lele Mehlomakhulu (Founder of mPower People Solutions)
  • Dawn Nathan Jones (CEO of Growealth)
  • Andile Khumalo (Founder of I AM AN ENTREPRENEUR).

Vision and potential

From the pitches that were delivered, a top five were chosen:

Related: 7 South African Entrepreneurs Who Went From Nothing To Global Success

  • Ntokozo Nzima, Owner of Ignite Academic Solutions came fifth
  • Gift Lubele and Matthieu De Gaudemar, Owners of Kudoti came fourth
  • Vizolet Kuwanda and Takura Chimbuya, Owners of Brothers Beard came third
  • Rebecca Kamanga and Lesego Legobane, Owners of Leebex came second
  • Mpho Mohaswa, Owner of Precious and Pearl Brands came first, walking away with R 50 000 support for her existing start-up business.

"I feel very good about winning the Firtswatch Entrepreneurs Challenge as it shows that all the hard work that I have been putting into my business is finally paying off. This indicates that I am on the right track and that the judges understand my vision and see potential in my business," says Mohaswa. "It is great to have an established brand such as Firtswatch Whisky backing my business idea. Winning for me means more growth, brand awareness and brand visibility which will result in more sales for the business."

The winning formula

Precious and Pearl Brands is a South African registered entity which manufactures and homemade ginger base non-alcoholic drinks. The company started off with the production of beverages branded as "Ghemere', a ginger based true South African traditional drink which is mostly served at weddings, funerals and parties or can simply be enjoyed at home with some scones.

Related: 5 Startup Lessons That Will Secure Your Industry Status

"The advice that I can give to other entrepreneurs is that you first need to understand your market and then work on strategies that will help you grow and reach your market," Mohaswa. "It is important to know what your market wants and needs so that you can implement it into your business."

Aiding business success

In addition to the R 50 000 support that was awarded to the winner, the 100 entrepreneurs that made it through the selection process were given a two-day business training workshop which was aimed at helping them take their businesses to the next level.

"I feel completely proud about last night's final event. To see the growth of the entrepreneurs who took part in in this program has been rewarding," says Tilldan Bungani, Brand Manager for Firstwatch Whisky.

"Our judges and facilitators have been one of our greatest assets, and we are glad that they invested their time with the entrepreneurs. We are also immensely proud of the winner, Mpho Mohaswa, Owner of Precious Pearl Brands. We can't wait to get stuck in with her and her business and also see what we can do to aid her businesses growth even further."

Related: 2 Simple Ways to Keep Your Startup Growing

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