Entries for the Firstwatch Entrepreneur’s Challenge 2021 are now open nationwide, to provide motivated local entrepreneurs, both current and aspiring with an opportunity to win R50 000 in cash plus business support. A renowned panel will hand-pick 160 people to join the Challenge’s intensive two-day skills development workshop, which encompasses robust, hands-on experiential learning with some of the country’s leading business experts. The workshop will be supported by a podcast series featuring Ambassadors from across the country sharing their stories, tips and tricks to navigate the world of entrepreneurship.
These Ambassadors are all self-made entrepreneurs, proudly representing their provinces as leaders in their fields and communities. Gauteng’s Ambassador in particular has a special place in her heart for the Firstwatch Entrepreneurial Challenge as she was the 2019 winner. Mpho Mohaswa, Co-founder of Precious & Pearl Brands has seen her product, Ghemere Ginger Beer concentrate, fly off more shelves all over the country since her win two years ago. She comments on the results her business has seen: “Our product has really taken off since we won. We capitalised on much-needed media exposure, which really helped expand our customer base and credibility. Having a big brand like Firstwatch behind you makes a difference. We have gained a lot of customers and brand visibility.
“I would advise this year’s entrepreneurs to know their businesses, be aware that they are pitching to serious investors and take advantage of the incredible networking opportunities”.
As an Ambassador, Mpho brings first-hand knowledge of the competition dynamics to the challenge, to help this year’s contenders navigate their way to the final pitch. Besides her history of winning, though, Mpho – a chemical engineer – has grown her business into a national phenomenon, which boomed during the pandemic. Mpho’s business philosophy is rooted in tradition, family and Ubuntu, which she has drawn inspiration from to grow Ghemere into a household brand.
Mpho’s involvement in the Firstwatch Entrepreneurs Challenge will see her lending her knowledge and experience to contenders from the Gauteng region via the podcast series. Much like Firstwatch, Mpho strongly believes in giving back to the community. “A lot of people have faced financial and business challenges because of COVID-19 and I am proud to be a part of giving other entrepreneurs the same opportunity that helped me grow my business. Being part of the challenge is an accolade that proves your business is going somewhere and I can’t wait to see this year’s entrepreneurs in action” states Mpho.
Mpho and her fellow Ambassadors from the Eastern Cape, the Western Cape and KwaZulu Natal will, through their podcasts and networking sessions, guide this year’s contenders and communities at large through the challenge journey, creating the perfect build-up to the workshop modules on topics that include Passion and Purpose, Marketing and Sales, Finance, Leadership and Pitching. The workshop will conclude with a chance for the entrepreneurs to pitch their business to the judges, ending in 10 lucky contenders one step closer to claiming the title.
As the countdown to the crowning of the 2021 Firstwatch Entrepreneur’s Challenge Winner continues, we wish wishing all the future business leaders competing for the title the best of luck. May every part of the journey be rewarding. Firstwatch. First for Everyday Entrepreneurs. First for Reward.