I am privileged to be the training facilitator in the City of Cape Town’s #YouthStartCT competition. A hundred young people will gather for business training mid-week, and pitch their business idea or existing business on a Saturday. This is the eighth year of this incredible competition, which offers a condensed focus on entrepreneurship for aspiring young entrepreneurs.

The stories behind these young people and the vision they display are often presented through the art of pitching. With that in mind, I thought to reflect on a former beneficiary who has built a significant business and shown great skill in her pitching.

Buhle Lindwa, 30, comes from a loving family of five. She is a middle child and enjoys the support and encouragement she receives from her family for all endeavours she pursues.

After years of being in the digital media field, she wasn’t fulfilled and still wanted to find her purpose in life. After soul-searching and trying to figure out the meaning of life, she found her purpose in God and started investing in building her faith through Bible study.

Buhle learnt God’s principles and decided to write a book, Planted, Not Buried, narrating the blueprint God taught her to dig her abundant life from the miry clay and create her way out and into a better life.

Buhle, who was born and raised in Langa, believes there’s always a purpose to the pain in our lives. If we let God in, He can rewrite our story.

After obtaining two journalism qualifications and working her way through South Africa’s biggest media publications, she decided to launch her digital marketing agency, Lindwa Communications.

“For me, business came through a calling, more than wanting to explore something new. I’ve always wanted to serve people with my craft and knew establishing a business would facilitate this. South Africa has been in the Fourth Industrial Revolution for a while now, but seeing entrepreneurs struggling with taking advantage of digitisation prompted me to assist in this regard.”

Her company offers brand strategy, digital marketing, website development and digital skills training.

She wanted her business to have an aspect of social innovation and also offer digital upskilling for businesses and industry professionals ready to use digital media effectively. She took the plunge in 2019 and established Lindwa Communications − and they have grown to become an award-winning digital marketing agency.

The core problem Lindwa Communications solves is helping SMMEs, brands, businesses and industry professionals establish an online presence and maintain it with strategic digital marketing.

“My favourite pastime is watching my clients gain new opportunities and access to markets through the work we do for them when building their digital footprint,” she said.

Buhle went through incubation at False Bay College’s Centre for Entrepreneurship where she learnt how to add social innovation to her business.

She received mentoring and coaching, alongside capital investments for equipment as she scaled Lindwa Communications. For example, she obtained a business grant through the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) for equipment worth R50 000 and other perks as she pitched at competitions.

Lindwa Communications participated in the Allan Gray Makers pitch competition in June 2022 and won first prize in the “operating business” category.

Buhle was also elated to have Lindwa Communications receive a scholarship in the Centre for Entrepreneurship and British Council incubation programme for 12 months.

After the programme ended, her business also won first prize for growth, social innovation, and viability in a pitch competition.

I asked Buhle what three key lessons she could share with others regarding entering a pitching competition.

Practice makes perfect

Practice your pitch consistently for a few days before the pitch. The more you practise the better you get.

Time yourself

Most pitches are usually three minutes so get into the habit of timing each slide and when you need to catch a break. During the pitch, you will be overwhelmed with the judges, people and stage but remember to exhale with the 10 seconds you squeezed in.

Smile and live in the moment

Sometimes people won’t remember everything you said in three minutes but will remember your enthusiasm and energy.

And finally, I asked her for words of motivation for aspiring women entrepreneurs.

“I want to encourage all women entrepreneurs (they should know) that they are more than capable of bringing home the bacon and frying it too!

“The journey might not be linear, but every pinnacle you reach will be worth it. Remember that anything worthwhile will take time so avoid imposter syndrome when you aren’t seeing your business take off immediately.

“Commit yourself to having confidence in yourself and your business because you’ve officially become the face of your company. Whether you knew it before or not, you are your business’s brand ambassador.

“Lastly, fight every fear with your ‘why’. Create a purpose plan with your goals and remind yourself daily why you started. This will go a long way on the days you may feel off. Always remember that you’ve got this. Your time has come. Go for it!”