Getting a start-up business off the ground is not easy. You need to hustle hard to find the capital, attract customers and feel your way around what might be a new industry to you. With all the hard work put into establishing your business, efforts to network among peers and gain visibility may fall by the wayside.
Participating in a start-up competition can give your company the boost it needs to ‘get a foot in the door’. Your company doesn’t even need to win for it to be a fruitful undertaking – just participating can afford huge benefits.
“It is a great way to assess your competition, build relationships and gain knowledge. Ukheshe enters all the key competitions as a means to hone presentation skills, business skills and learn from others,” says Clayton Hayward, CEO of Ukheshe.
Here are five reasons why entering a start-up competition is a worthwhile endeavour:
Increase your visibility
By entering a competition, you get to tell others about your business, thereby gaining exposure and making connections. You’ll also have the chance to be featured in numerous media sites and social media posts – remember to post on your own sites, put together press releases for different media and let your customers know about it.
Assess your business
The process of entering a competition will oblige you to see your business from the outside and be more critical of your strategy and focus. It forces you to organise your ideas, update information, address any problems and question your business practices, which often sparks creativity about how to push your company’s vision to the next level.
Refine your elevator pitch
Every entrepreneur needs to have their elevator pitch at the ready – and this is your opportunity to create one or perfect your existing one. This short description of your venture, which can make the difference between winning or losing a potential investor, requires practice and getting it out there and repeating it every chance you get is a great way to gauge people’s reactions to it. Competitions provide the ideal platform for this.
Connect with expert support
Competitions attract like-minded entrepreneurs and seasoned professionals, providing a great opportunity to learn from experts in your field, interest investors and even find new customers. You will have access to numerous judges and advisors that can mentor you on your business journey. Start-ups often need guidance and insights into how their ideas will fare in the real world – so this is a chance to gain the support of seasoned experts.
Win and gain bragging rights
You just might win. And, if you do, not only will you win prize money and/or non-cash prizes that will benefit your business, you will also make headlines and put your start-up in the spotlight. Even if you don’t win, you can still publicise your story of entering.
There is a lot to be gained from all the time and effort invested in participating in competitions. According to Hayward, for Ukheshe it is always an excellent opportunity to meet like-minded tech enthusiasts, all looking to disrupt and improve their local sectors. Ukheshe has entered many competitions in the past, and its key achievements include winning the 2019 Global Fintech Hackcelerator in Southern Africa, being asked to join Africa’s top fintech companies in Luxembourg for CATAPULT: Inclusion Africa 2020 programme, being a South Africa finalist in the 2020 Ecobank Fintech Challenge and taking second place in the prestigious KPMG Global Tech Innovator in 2021.