A lot of startup applications have been coming in for the US$ 25, 000 Startup Challenge which is being run alongside BarCamp Zimbabwe 2011. Since an event of this nature has not happened in Zimbabwe before, the following practical pointers can bring applicants and prospective entrepreneurs up to speed on the elements found in a good pitch:
This is not about a PowerPoint presentation; it’s about you the startup. You have 5 minutes to take the judging panel through a summary of your concept/product. The starting point is to be presentable, audible and confident of what you’re taking about. It’s okay to feel nervous in the buildup to pitch day, everyone does. All you need to do is go over your presentation/pitch by practicing in front of a mirror or staging a demo to a colleague. This is your chance to get everything rolling, grab it!
Just like a house is built with many bricks, focus on the bigger picture but also pay attention to the following facets:
Technical – Explain how your idea works. Concentrate on the core areas of the technical solution that help you stand out. A lot of startups around the world have concerns about Intellectual Property. What you need to know is that the Startup Challenge, the judges are not out to hijack your concept but looking to reward ingenuity and practical execution. We are engaging ARIPO so they can help explain intellectual property issues and provide material on it.
Branding-You are expected to explain how or why you believe your concept/startup can stand out in the marketplace. This will involve explaining its brand identity on a local and global scale. How are you able to stay fresh in the mind of your target market and provide an engaging platform?
Finance- In any business, the bottom line matters. You need to explain how your concept/startup can sustainably generate, grow and manage cash flows. Picture the panel as a board of investors whom you have to convince to pour a fortune into your business. Investors want to know how much is required, how it’ll get things moving and where the exit plan is. Is your business going to grow on its own or attract other investors? Remember that investors put in money so they can get a Return On Investment (ROI).
Business Development –Ok you might be an individual or group of individuals right now but how do you expect to grow your concept/startup. Are you going to seek partnerships with other companies? Are you going to recruit and expand your skills base? Which direction do you see the business heading towards? A business needs to develop, how is yours going to do so?
Remember not to take it too seriously, just be prepared and give it your best shot. All the best!