Learning How to Pitch Like a Pro

Posted on Sunday, March 14th, 2021

Written by Eryn Navarro

Enactus Guelph Competing at the 2019 Regional Competition

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

The winter holidays are a long way away, but for me that’s not the most wonderful time of the year. I am referring to the Enactus Regional Competition! Every year in March, Enactus hosts a regional pitch competition where Enactus clubs from across the province come out and pitch their business ideas for a chance to win money to help make those ideas a reality! This year might look a little different, but the excitement, competitive energy and the drive to win are all still there!

Enactus clubs works to tackle social, economic, and environmental issues through the creation of social enterprises (an organization that is committed to improving communities while also leveraging a sustainable business model and a market need to solve a social and environmental problem issues). For this year’s regional competition Enactus Guelph will be pitching two of their projects: Flourish and Kind Hive (to read more about these projects please click here).

And when I say “pitching” I don’t mean describing our idea with an unlimited amount of time on our hands against people who have no prior pitching experience of practice. The Enactus Pitch Competition is a seriously structured and regulated competition that requires a lot of preparation and practice.  

Let me break it down for you.

Each team is given a specific timeslot to pitch their business idea to a panel of highly knowledgeable and experienced judges.  Teams are given exactly 5 minutes to pitch their idea and then 3 minutes to answer questions from the judges. As a team it’s your job to use those 5 minutes in the most effective manner possible so that a) judges feel captivated to learn about your idea b) they understand what your idea is and c) they are left wanting to hear more!

So how do we get from having an amazing idea to being able to communicate it to a panel of judges? That’s where support from our Faculty advisors at the John F. Wood Centre, Erin Doherty and Ruben Burga, comes in! They helped us through this journey by hosting an online pitch workshop for the Enactus Guelph team.

“The majority of our team are new faces who have never experienced the regional pitch competition before or who have never presented a pitch in front of a big audience, so you can imagine how nervous we are.”

- Abdullah Chanzu, Co-President of Enactus Guelph

The pitch preparation workshop was a two-day workshop that helped prepare students of Enactus Guelph to present a stellar pitch. On the first day, students were divided into two teams. The first team was to work together to prepare a pitch on the project ‘Flourish’. The second team was to work together to prepare a pitch on the project ‘Kind Hive’. Before these teams broke out into their breakout rooms, Erin and Ruben gave us some great pointers to think about when working on their pitches. Some of the pointers included:

  • Clearly communicating your ideas
  • Structuring a business model using a lean model canvas
  • Importance of communicating your business acumen
  • Importance of understanding the value provided to customers and partners

“Communicating the business plan that is associated with your idea is a fundamental element when competing in Enactus Regionals. The Judges need to be able to see how the idea has a sustainable business model that can allow it to succeed.”

- Erin Doherty, Program Manager, The John F. Wood Centre

“Enactus is a super engaged  group to work with, and their passion for creating, new innovative solutions to real world problems is commendable. The Wood Centre was thrilled to be able to support these students as they continue to develop their foundational skills that will set them apart from their competition.”

- Ruben Burga, Assistant Professor, LANG School of Business

On the final day of the workshop, both teams presented their pitches with these pointers in mind. After each pitch presentation, both teams received constructive feedback from Erin, Ruben and also other members of the Enactus team.

“Overall, the experience from this pitch preparation workshop was great and was well needed. We are thrilled to have a larger team than previous years and we are excited for what the future holds for Enactus at Guelph.”

- Jaime Rowe, Co-President of Enactus Guelph

This workshop was a great way for the Enactus team to come work together and it helped build useful skills in not only creating the perfect pitch, but also presenting in front of an audience. These are skills that will be useful in the future when pursuing other academic or career endeavors, but for right now I am thinking about one thing and one thing only…because it’s the most wonderful time of the year, time to win Enactus regionals!

To see how Enactus does at the Regional Pitch Competition follow them on Instagram @enactus.guelph.

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