“Pitch & Polish taught me to learn from failure”

Zamokuhle Thwala | Woowie

As the ENGEN Pitch & Polish programme celebrates its tenth anniversary, the project is looking back at some of the amazing success stories to come out of the competition. This is the story of 2016 competitor, Zamokuhle Thwala, the owner of Woowie, an app-development company. As a techpreneur, Zamokuhle, is deeply passionate about the Fourth Industrial Revolution, computer programming and education.

I heard about the ENGEN Pitch & Polish programme through a friend of mine in 2016 and decided to enter. I learned so much from taking part. If it wasn’t for what I learned during Pitch & Polish, I wouldn’t have achieved what I have today.

Before the programme, I was a technical person (I studied agricultural engineering). When I used to pitch, it was extremely technical and I didn’t know how to capture the attention of investors. The Pitch & Polish facilitator worked with me to simplify my pitch and really improve it. What’s great about the programme is that it’s not only about pitching per se. You learn about business too.

As an ENGEN Pitch & Polish contestant, I received a goodie bag and inside was Allon Raiz’ book Lose the Business Plan which turned out to be more useful than what the prize would have been. I read half the book on the same day I got it. The book is amazing; the best I’ve read on entrepreneurship. Allon’s style of writing is engaging and unique. I’ve read the book five times! It has inspired me to do better and continue with my entrepreneurial dreams.


The most important thing I learned at ENGEN Pitch & Polish is that failure is inevitable but you should learn from it. It’s true that we learn more in failure than we do in success. While I didn’t win the competition, I used what I learned there to grow from strength to strength. I may have lost the prize but I won invaluable pitching skills.

I would definitely recommend ENGEN Pitch & Polish to all aspiring entrepreneurs out there. I love competitions – especially ones to do with entrepreneurship – and this is the best I’ve ever entered! There’s such an amazing vibe and the format is so innovative. It all happens so fast. I hope that Engen and Nedbank continue to sponsor Pitch & Polish. With our current crisis in employment, this is a way to help South Africa move forward and ignite the spirit of entrepreneurship. The sponsors could have chosen to invest their funds elsewhere but they’ve chosen to help entrepreneurs. Thank you.

Visit www.pitchandpolish.com for more information or to enter to take part in the 2018 ENGEN Pitch & Polish workshops and competition.

About Raizcorp

Raizcorp is, according to The Economist, the only genuine incubator in Africa, which provides full service enterprise and supplier development programmes that guide entrepreneurs to profitability. Raizcorp has created “Prosperation™” – its own unique, world-renowned model of business incubation. Founded in 2000, Raizcorp has become Africa’s premier business incubator model. For more information, visit www.raizcorp.com.